A Rumor

Please note: This is OOC knowledge -ONLY-. No mention has been made ICly of what the conversation concerned, and the Weyr residents would know only that Lord Toban left in a hurry


Xanadu Weyr - Store Room

This large storeroom is lit with a series of electric lights, illuminating the smooth cut walls. Rows of shelving contain all sorts of items, while large trunks contain all sorts of clothing, and a mix-matched variety of furniture is stacked up in one corner.

Late evening has fallen over Xanadu Weyr - and while the sun sets early in the winter, dusk has long since turned to night. While groups of riders and residents alike are gathered around games of cards and chance, enjoying their ale in the tavern, or otherwise relaxing, one resident left a note to meet her at a particular time and place, before setting out for the destination herself. And thus, that is why Nicca is hanging around in the otherwise deserted Store Room at such an hour, picking her way through various crates and shelves to kill time.

O'ric has never been one to respond well to notes, even ones he thinks he recognises the writing of. In most cases he would ignore them, go about his business and never give it a second thought, but this note had nagged at him until he decided to at least go and check if it was real and not some practical joke at his expense. His entry into the store room is quiet, slow, trying to look casual as he glances around. When his gaze finally lands on Nicca he smiles slightly, though it fades quickly as his mind starts working on the problem of 'why was he summoned'. His "Hey." is followed quickly with, "You okay?"

Nicca jumps just a little, absorbed as she was into her investigation of exactly -what- was contained in a rough-fabric sack, but relaxes a little as she realizes its only O'ric, setting the bag back down and moving to plop down on a sheet-covered couch. "Yeah.. I.. just remembered what you said about infront of the dragon." She says with a little smirk, before ducking her head. "And, well.. I figured Mother doesn't want everyone to know, yet." -What- precisely it to be known is still up for debate.

O'ric blinks, utterly confused. "Everyone to know /yet/? Know what? That you're working on the Newes? I figure most people know about that by now, Nic." Even though she's on the couch he keeps standing, ready to run at any time.

Nicca blinks up at O'ric a few shakes, shaking her head a little bit, with a soft sigh. "I was -getting- to that O'ric." She says with a little roll of her eyes, still watching him. "Lord Toban shipped that wife of his off to her family in the north. Apparently he asked Mother to help bring a new… girl in for him. Said he needs a son.." She says in a soft voice, even as she leans to look past him towards the door.

A little warning light flickers in the back of O'ric's mind, but he ignore it instead starting to look rather excited at the prospect of a good story. "She told you that? When did it happen? Do they have anyone in mind? Who's got daughters of teh right age, he's going to be looking for someone that comes with power."

Nicca pats the seat next to her, gaze flickering back to O'ric then with a little smile. "I overheard them arguing in her office… Mother did not sound happy at all." She murmurs, before shaking her head. "I.. don't know how long she's been gone. He came storming out, and I had to hide." Blushing a little, she taps fingers together lightly. "It was.. Lemos or.. Or Telgar or.. One of those up there. Mother came out, muttering about him wanting to marry a girl young enough to be his daughter, and then some, though."

"Excellent!" O'ric looks almost fit to explode with happiness as he finally sits down. A story, and a huge one at that. "I don't know how we're going to get her to allow us to use it, but we really need to do some digging about this. How would you feel about a quick trip to Lemos? To Telgar? Or wherever?" He apuses for a moment, thinking, "Daughter and then some. How old do you think he is?" He doesn't give time to answer, simply adds on, "I knew you'd be good at this once you got started."

Nicca looks a little more confident at his praise, shifting to sit up a little straighter, smiling at him. And then, as he joins her, she's scooting a little bit, trying to lean against him nonchalantly. "I think we deserve a bit of summer.." She answers with a little smirk, and then shrugs. "Older than Mother, I would think."

O'ric nods, not really registering her leaning too much, his mind is elsewhere. "Your mother's… what… late fifties?" A slight frown appears as he makes calculations, "Could be we're looking at a daughter that's anything from thirty down, that's not going to be so easy to figure out. Though I suppose if your mother's so upset we might be looking at twenty or below."

There's a gasp at O'ric guess of Niva's age, shaking her head hurriedly, even as she moves to shake his arm a little. "Don't -ever- say that around her. -Ever-." She reiterates firmly. "She's almost two turns out from fifty yet." She still looks a little panicked, as if someone might have overheard the brownrider's guess, before she's nodding. "I.. I might think my age, maybe?"

O'ric has the decency to look slightly embarassed by that reaction, a quiet "Oh. Right." his only comment on that matter. "Least he's not looking to marry you, that would be weird. Your mother would probably skin him, too."

Now -that- elicits another, more undignified gasp, Nicca shaking her head hurriedly and scrambling back to the other end of the sofa. Rubbing her arms a minute she shakes her head, eyes closing. "He'd get nothing out of it." She says firmly, as much to reassure herself as anything. "And I will -not- marry some Holder." A sharp nod of her head, and her eyes open to blink down the couch at O'ric again.

"Hey!" First it's shock, then guilt that appears on O'ric's face. "Sorry, sorry. Didn't mean he would. That's the good thing about a weyr, right? You don't have to marry anyone you don't want to. Anyway sounds more like he's looking for a live in rather than another wife, he's technically still got the old one."

Nicca bites her lip a little, giving him a long look before she sighs and slips back down the couch, poking at his arm, this time a bit more clear about her expectations as she sits next to him. "But if its just a live-in, he wouldn't be able to get an heir.." She counters a little. "I.. I don't know what.. What else he did with Lady Johanna."

O'ric lifts his arm, laying it along the back of the couch — which is still technically around her. "Sure he would. Assuming Lady Johanna's still alive, he could say she went off to deal with the pregnancy, not like anyone would dare to contradict him. Baby arrives, legitimate heir."

"But.. If they know she's in Keroon.. How would he.." And Nicca shakes her head a little bit, giving up on trying to figure out the specifics, stealing a sideways glance at him. "I'm sure those other Lord Holders would allow him to petition for a divorce. They're all the same. Old and greedy." She wrinkles up her nose a little, leaning back into the couch. "Il..Ilt-something. I think. That's the Lord Holder."

"He could easily. You going to say otherwise to him?" O'ric asks quietly, then grins, "Mind you if it happened to leak out somehow that he was looking for a replacement and she was gone, well then it wouldn't be anyone's fault really. Then he'd be forced to divorce." His brain quietly adds 'or kill her' and it shows in his expression for a second. "Need to think about this some more."

"-I'm- not. But someone might." She shakes her head a little bit, one hand reaching behind her to try and pull his arm down off teh back of the sofa. "I liked Lady Johanna. She was… always entertaining when she visited." Nicca choses her words carefully, tilting her head a little. "I wonder if all those daughters will stay or go."

O'ric shakes his head, "Doubt it, most people have more sense than to question a Lord Holder." His arms slips down easily enough and though there's a moment of silence he leaves it where it lands. A shrug is his response ot her question, "Not sure, depends on how much they can be used I guess. Political matches."

Nicca curls her fingers around his arm for a moment, and once it seems obvious to her that its going to stay, she's dropping her hand back to her lap, resting her head lightly on his shoulder. "Some of the heirs are getting to be of age… I wonder if he'd be able to make any strong matches.." She thinks softly. "Mother has a book, somewhere, that she keeps with the heirs. She says its just in case.. to know what might happen."

O'ric leans back before he can catch himself, and stays that way long enough for it to not seem too insulting when he moves away again. "This book… you know where to find it? Think you could 'borrow' it?" By borrow he clearly means steal.

"Once Kilaueth clutches, maybe?" She idly taps her fingers to each other. "Should be any day, now. Mother spends the majority of her time in the Galleries, then." Nicca thinks for a moment, before stealing a look up at O'ric. "You might need to distract R'owan though." She lets his half of the task linger, waiting for him to accept, sitting up enough to turn and look at him.

O'ric nods slowly, "I can do that. We'd need to move on this sooner rather than later though, make sure we can get the information out there first. Hate to be beaten to a good story by idle gossip." He glances down, smiles, then qdds, "Just don't go getting yourself Searched or anything, that would really put a downer on our plans."

"I'll try and get it sooner, if I can. But, I can't promise it." She grins a little bit, shaking her head. "It would put a downer on my plans too." She offers with a wink, and as a blush starts to cross her face, visible even in the dim store room, she's quickly moving to settle back against him, looking away. "Is there.. anything we can do while we're waiting?"

O'ric laughs a little at the wink, sensibly not making the comments that rise up in his mind, "I guess we could head to Telgar and things, sniff around a bit, see if anyone's seen him around. That would help us narrow things down a little at least. Might be worth risking a trip to see if Lady Johanna is actually where she's supposed to be."

"I -have- been looking for a new runner… And they say that Keroon has some of the best…" She smirks a little bit, cautiously stealing a glance up at him. "You'd help me pick out a runner and bringing it home, right? And its only right for the Weyrwoman to send the Lady Johanna regards with her daughter.." Nicca plots slowly, peeking at him to judge his reaction.

O'ric laugh this time is bright, "Sneaky. I knew there was a reason we got on." It's a tease, mostly. "You'd definitely need an escort if you were going over to pick one out, though I doubt Leth could bring one back. Best to get it shipped properly. Still you might need to go a couple of times before you can really decide. Shells, that reminds me I need to put a reward notice in the next Newes. Someone stole the Lord of Ressac Beach's favourite racing runner."

Nicca's smirk turns into a full blown smile, starting to say something on the matter, before he's talking more about runners, and mentioning the stolen one. "Too bad.. That was a nice looking animal." She murmurs, thoughtfully, her hand idly reaching up to play with his fingers, folding hers through them if he lets her. "About Oceleth.." She begins slowly, idly, after a moment of quiet.

O'ric had been starting to relax, nodding as she mentions that the runner was nice - something that had been confirmed by several other sources already. The mention of Oceleth makes him stiffen slightly though, immediately on the defensive. "What about him?"

Nicca squeezes his hand a little as he stiffens, shaking her head. "I was just going to ask if he was paying attention.." She murmurs softly, turning a little to look up at him. "Don't want to cause a fuss, or anything, if he is." She explains, biting her lip, before she looks back around the room, unsure of what to settle her gaze on.

"Oh." Relief is instant, O'ric relaxing quickly and then shaking his head, "He was going for a swim when I came over, he'll be chasing shipfish as usual. Keeps him out of mischief for a couple of hours usually. He won't tell people what we're planning."

Nicca turns her attention back to him, and she blinks at him a few times as he relaxes. "What.. did you think I was going to ask?" She starts slowly, a slightly confused look on her face. "I mean.. He's adorable.." Eyes hold his this time, as she waits for an answer. "I'm.. glad he's distracted though. Just to be safe.."

"About his…." O'ric flaps his free arm a little, then shrugs and falls silent for a time. "He's overexcitable." is his counter to her adoreable, but really he'd take either description, it's better than some the brown's had. "It's definitely safe."

Nicca oohs softly, shaking her head hurriedly, smiling at him. "You're both my.. friends. I don't care.." And she tsks at his counter, but smirks more at his reassurance. "Then you owe me a kiss, since there's no d.r.a.g.o.n." She teases him a little, trying to look some sort of innocent as she sits there. "If nothing else as a thank you for giving you the story of the turn. Be thankful my fee isn't higher."

O'ric snorts something approximating a laugh, smile a little lopsided but definitely there as he leans in to press a kiss to her temple. "You really need…" Stop offering that? It obviously crosses his mind, but in the end changes it to, "choose your friends better. Besides can't get paid til the rumour is coroborated."

"I happen to -like- my friends, thank you. I feel like I could do a lot worse. And Mother seems to agree, so stop your fussing." She says with a little huff, all serious business as she tries to stop that. A little poke, and she leans back against him. "I wonder if I could get that book tonight.." She contemplates. And then she's squeezing his hand and patting his leg. "I'm going to go see if Mother is there… Maybe we can get started as early as tomorrow."

O'ric can't hide the smile at that comment, though the fact her mother approves is something of a shock to him. "Don't need to rush that much, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get away tomorrow." He gaze drops to her hand on his leg, temperature in the room appearing to have suddenly spiked, or at least something makes him shift a little.

"That's true.. if I wait a little bit, she'll definitely be gone.." She slowly settles back into the couch, her hand still resting on his leg with a smile, leaning a little more. "Just… let me know, I guess. Usually I can just.. rearrange what I'm suppose to do, if I have just a little warning."

O'ric's eyes stay fixed on her hand for now, though he nods, "They don't make me do too much proper wing stuff, something I can be thankful for you mother organising. Problem is I don't know until that day if I can get away or not, though I guess I could tell them I'm chasing a story for your mother. So long as they don't check that would work okay."

Nicca squeezes his thigh gently as he talks, nodding slowly. "I mean… It -is- sort of for her. I'm sure she.. She wouldn't be upset to find out a bit more of what's going on. And from the look on her face, and his.. abrupt departure, I think Lord Toban is no longer on her friendly list." She tries to justify the use of that excuse. "Otherwise, maybe I can.. I don't know. Maybe I'll tell R'owan that I need to borrow a diplomacy rider.. and since I know you.."

O'ric shakes his head, though the little embarassed cough that follows is possibly not related to the conversation, "I'd rather find out a bit more before we speak to her, don't want her getting mad at you for overhearing in the first place, never mind the fact we want to tell the world. Let's get something to prove it's going on, that we could have got from anywhere, and then we can go to her for permission to run it."

Nicca tilts her head to peek up at him, wrinkling her nose a little. "But, I mean.. if you say that we have to do something for her.. even if they -did- think to ask Mother.. I doubt that she'd be upset. She'd just think you were doing what she expect you to do, and for me to keep an eye on." Nicca, O'ric-sitter. "But, that probably is a good idea…"

O'ric chuckles, absently reaching across to stroke a stray hair back into place, "She still doesn't entierly trust me, Nic. Don't want to rush things and have her kick me out or something because she didn't approve. or even did approve but couldn't be seen to approve."

Nicca smiles a little, tilting her head at him. "Now.. are you talking about Lord Toban and the story, or about us sitting here?" She asks softly, shaking her head a little bit. "She's not going to kick you out. She likes her daughters happy." She offers softly, as her reasoning behind such a statement.

"The story." O'ric is quick to clarify, "Never actually asked her if I needed permission to sit with someone, will have to remember to do that the next time I see her." On the subject of kicking out he just shrugs with a 'we'll see' expression on his face.

Nicca giggles a little bit at his response, shaking her head. "If she was going to kick you out, she would have. And, honestly.. if that one bronzerider is not only still here, but a -Wingleader-, I think you have nothing to worry about." Fingers squeeze again, before gently tapping out some idle rhythm.

O'ric chuckles slightly, though it's clear he's uncomfortable about something, "Someone told me that once before, it didn't happen that way in the end." No more clarification because instead he reaches for her hand, aiming to still her fingers, "Nicca, seriously, need to stop that."

Nicca shakes her head a little. "But, its -Mother-. I've known her all my life.. I know that you haven't but… You really don't have to worry.." She counters back, and as his hand touches hers, her fingers stop, and she furrows her brow. "Stop what? I'm just tapping.." She murmurs softly, though it's ceased.

"Nicca." O'ric's voice is quiet, and he shifts again on the couch, trying to settle in a way that is vaguely comfortable, "It's not just tapping, is it?" There's a little doubt creeps into his mind but he continues, "I like you, okay. You don't need to…." He raises his eyebrows, clearly hoping his expression finishes the sentence for him.

Nicca lifts her hand a bit, scooting to give him some space to move around and get comfortable. "I.. I just tap when I think." She says with a few blinks. "I.. don't have a table." She bites her lip, and then she giggles a little bit as he trails off, and she tsks a little. "I can tap the top of your head, instead.." She offers lightly. "I.. I just like sitting with you. Its… comfortable."

O'ric's eyes close for a second, mostly to mask them rolling skywards in a silent plea for strength. "Tap your own leg, definitely not my head." He smiles, trying to come across as amused as he moves again, then thinks better of this new position and shifts slightly, "You can lean though, properly."

"Fine.. No tapping O'ric. Deal." She says aloud with a little smirk, even as she waits for him to shift and settle, and only then is she moving to settle back against his side. "What's 'properly'?" She asks with a little bit, even as she tries to make herself comfortable, lifting her gaze up to him.

"Lean. You know." O'ric moves a little, gently trying to turn her round so that her back is to his side so that she can… well… lean. Th eprocess does mean that his arms would end up somewhere around her neck, from one shoulder to the other.

Nicca is shifted as he turns her, oohing softly, and giggling a little. "Sorry.." She murmurs, even as she settles in against him, head pillowed on his chest, shifting his arm a little bit as she gets comfortable. "I… You don't.. mind me being around, do you?" She asks softly, lifting her hand to rest it on his forearm lightly.

O'ric shakes his head, then realises that she can't actually see him now, "Only when you tap." He pauses a moment, looking down at her safely now and smiling, "Just got to hope nobody comes in and gets the wrong impression, would hate to explain this to your mother. I doubt she'd accept the 'just friends' thing."

"I still don't understand -that- but.." She shrugs a little, and then has to rearrange his arm once more as she settles back down. "Who's really going to come into the storeroom at this hour.. beside.. We're just sitting here.." Though from the slight hint of disappointment that sneaks into her voice, one might guess at Nicca's true feelings. "Everyone needs someone to sit with. And I don't have a dragon, so."

"Everyone definitely needs someone to lean on." O'ric agrees, adding with a chuckle, "Some people are far more comfortable to lean on than others too." Idly his hand trails up and down her arm a little, "So what's the plan for getting the book then?" He aims for distraction, for both of them.

"You are comfortable too.." She offers, confirming that statement, eyes closing for a minute as she sits there. She thinks for a moment, before shaking her head a bit where its settled. "I think.. I think if no one is there, I'll just.. take it. Its in the back row, on the shelf.. I think we'd have a few days before she would notice.. More if I had something else to put there."

O'ric nods, hand still gently stroking her arm, "That works. We can copy out the good bits and then put it back right away. Don't copy it in her room though, take it somewhere quiet. Private. Not my place, though, in case the d.r.a.g.o.n is around."

Nicca hms a little bit, nodding just enough to show she was listening. "I'll find somewhere.." She murmurs, a little bit distracted as she tries to think of options. "It.. would be quicker if we were both copying, fronts and backs.." She suggests slowly, tilting her head back to peer up, even if most of what she sees is his chin.

"Not sure how well that would work." O'ric replies quietly, "You have a bad habit of distracting me from things I think I should be doing. And I have a bad habit of reading things and forgetting to copy. I can stand guard though."

Nicca smirks a little bit, still staring up at him awkwardly, trying to judge his expression as he offers to stand guard. "Is it a bad thing?" She asks softly, of the distracting. "Mm, alright. I'll copy, you'll watch.. but you'll have to help me figure out what to copy.." And she shifts to resettle her head normally against him, with a little content sigh.

"Probably." O'ric replies, though there's a faint chuckle that's probably felt as much as heard, "Just as well I'm not a miner or something, distraction then could be painful." He falls silent for a time, resting his chin on her head and just enjoying the moment, breaking it eventually to comment, "I guess we won't know what to copy til we get it. Could be there's nothing useable."

"I guess I'll keep workng on distracting you until its not a bad thing anymore." She comments lightly, giggling a little as well. Snuggling up a little more as he rests his chin on her head, she curls fingers around his forearm lightly. "We'll see… I'll just hope its not a complete waste of the evening.."

O'ric's eyes close again and once more silence reigns. His hand continues idly stroking her arm and he rubs his cheek against her hair before taking a deep breath and trying to extracate his arm from her hand. "We should probably get out of here before we fall asleep or something."

Nicca curls up contently against him, hands resting idly as to make no attempt to impede the movement of his own hand, another happy little sigh escaping into the silence. But then he's moving and she's protesting softly, sulking a little. "But.." She starts to counter, shaking her head. "I.. I don't wanna go." Pout.

"I know." O'ric replies quietly, making no effort to do anything other than remove his arm, "But the longer we sit here like this the more… well the more chance we have of being caught. Reputation and all that, don't want to get a name for yourself running off with strange brownriders." Even to him it sounds like a cover story, and a bad one at that.

Nicca slowly lets go of his arm, even though she continues to lean against him, making it awkward for him to try and move. "Do.. Do you -care- if we get caught, sitting here?" She asks a little surprised, looking up at him as he finishes his reasoning. "You're hardly strange.. And.. If people weren't already talking about us coming back so late from Fort, this would hardly set them to it.." She counters, looking a little hurt as she peeks up at him.

There's definitely something in O'ric's expression as he looks down at Nicca, hand lifting to brush a thumb gently over her cheek, "You're better than a quickie in the stores, don't want people to think that about you. And they would think it, you know that."

Nicca tilts her head gently into his hand, eyes closing for a moment, before she smiles up at him shyly. "I could just tell them that we were looking for something.." A pause and she drops her gaze a little, blushing, before she lifts her hand to his. "I just don't want to be alone, yet." She whispers, and then shifts a little, averting her gaze, raising her voice just a bit. "Sorry.. I.."

"Don't apologise." O'ric replies gently, "Believe me if it were anyone else here there's a chance you'd have been getting that payment with interest, but that's not me. I don't… I can't give you what you want, Nic. I don't do the whole love and relationships thing, I've seen how it destroys lives. Friends I can do."

Nicca shifts a little, scooting and wiggling to sit up, turning so she can wrap her arms around his neck for a long hug, pulling away enough to meet his gaze, tilting her head a little. "I.. I don't understand, O'ric, -why- you say that but.." She drops her gaze, shaking her head. "I.. I'll take friends, its better than nothing.." And unsaid 'for now' lingers for a moment. "And even with friends.. you're not alone."

O'ric's hand goes back to her cheek, and it's the gentlest of kisses that he gives to her forehead, "Just call it experience and we'll leave it at that. Some people are made for a quick one in a cupboard, some want the whole thing. Friends care without the pressure." He pauses, grins, "And steal from their mother to help plan mischief."

"Maybe.. Maybe you just need new experiences.." She dares wager, looking sheepish before she settles back into a long hug. "Its not mishief. Its research." And she smirks a little, looking over her shoulder. "I should… see if the office is empty.. If it is, I'll take it back to my room? But.. don't bring the d.r.a.g.o.n." And reluctantly she's beginning to shift and move away.

O'ric grins and nods, "He wouldn't fit." He doesn't comment on the rest, though there is a little reluctance to let her go. "Have you got a firelizard? I could send Cadwallon with you, only don't let him try to boss you around. Send him back once you get it?"

Nicca tilts her head up to give him a quick kiss to the cheek, slowly moving. "I'll send Destiny.. Will.. you be at your weyr?" She asks a little awkwardly, lingering for another minute. "She'll be good.. Is that okay?" Her hand reaches for his to squeeze lightly.

O'ric nods, "Might go for a walk on the beach first, make sure Leth hasn't done somethign stupid. Give me an hour or so?" He takes her hand easily enough, returning the squeeze almost immediately.

"An hour.. right.." She offers, and then with another squeeze she's stepping away, watching him over her shoulder as she makes for the door, looking back once more. "See you soon, O'ric.." She calls softly, before she's off to see what 'mischief' she can get into.

O'ric waits until she's safely gone before dropping his head into his hands with a slight groan. "Sometimes, willpower is overrated." He gets to his feet slowly, checking that the coast is clear before he leaves. Once out it's not to the beach he goes, but home. When Destiny finally arrives he'll be much more relaxed, but first he needs to deal with a rather pressing need.

This scene continues in A Discovery

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License