Reasons to Celebrate

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.

It's a fair winter afternoon, just before evening. The dinner crowd is beginning to make their way into the Caverns, a few patrons at a time. Ka'el has been busy most of the day, with only one break inbetween. But finally, the last of his round of taxi-goers have been dropped off in their locations, and Kanekith has been unstrapped, wiped down, oiled, and massaged. Now, it's time to focus on himself! Ka'el entered the Caverns a while ago. It was empty then, and he made his way to the hot springs to wash off the dirt and grime of travel and an impromptu workout session. Gotta stay on top of those. V'dim checks schedules oh so thoroughly! And now he exits the baths with damp hair and a sort of .. floral scent clinging to him. Flowers? Well, it's better than sweat! He gives himself a tentative sniff, and then after a shrug, heads to an unoccupied table to plop into a seat. sit down! It's the little joys of life he appreciates. He doesn't head to the food yet, opting to sit and…well, sit.

Strolling in from the infirmary, Kera clutches a medium sized parcel wrapped in some floral print fabric. She's finished with her duties for the day so joins the line for food. In only a couple of minutes, she manages to get herself a small plate, that she balances on her package and a glass of juice. Scanning the tables, she quickly spots a familar face sitting at a roomy table, so she heads that way with a little grin. "G'evening Ka'el, mind if I join you?"

Ka'el is gone. Mentally anyway. His eyes have gone distant. That same look that most weyrlings get when they're communicating with their lifemates, and his is accompanied by a subtle smirk. Not quite a smile. He's brought out of his thoughts, or conversation, by the sound of his own name, and he blinks his eyes back into focus to look up at Kera. He grins. "Oh, hey! Sure, have a seat," he offers, gesturing to any of the empty chairs at his table. "Plenty've room. And if I know this place, which I do, there's not going to be many places left to sit here in a while." His arm lowers to the tabletop and he leans against an elbow, glancing her package with a note of curiosity. "Not sendin' anymore preemptive apology gifts, are you?" he asks, only half teasingly.

Kera smiles when Ka'el says she can sit, and settles her things across the table a space over from the weyrling. Flashing a curious gaze back to him briefly, she ahhs softly and shakes her head with a grin. "No, not currently." Considering the table a moment she takes a sip of her juice then continues "I don't think I've done anything else recently to send peace-offerings for." She flicks her fingers towards the boxy shape "This is from my parents." Kera takes a few bites from her plate before she start fidgeting with the fancy looking knot in the fabric.

"You didn't do anything to begin with to send peace offerings for," Ka'el points out with an amiable grin. "But at least you have yourself covered. If you ever do somethin' spiteful towards me, you've already said you're sorry for it." He leans back in his chair a little, pushing off a bit so that it balances on the back two legs. He "ohs" at the information that the gift is from parents, and the chair goes back on all fours with a *clunk*. "You don't want to guess what it is before you open it?" he asks, brows faintly lifted. "I always did. I guessed five in a row before I was wrong." He glances left and right then whispers, "It was always underwear!" playfully. "You'd think they figured this place didn't have any."

Kera can't help but chuckle at Ka'el little admission and gives her head a hint of a shake as she starts loosening the knot. "How embarrassing! Parents do love to humiliate their children when they can." She starts unwrapping the fabric as she fumbles with turning the clunky object. It seems that it will never end before the last bit finally comes free, revealing a pretty carved box. Eyeng the long swathe of floral print thoughtfully, "Thankfully, my mom isn't that bad." After a few seconds, she seems to figure it out and after a couple of twist, she works the material into a hairband and nods. "I would be willing to wager…" She leans forward and gives the box a sniff near the latch. "..that there be cookies inside. Smells like it."

Ka'el watches with interest as the gift is unwrapped. Sort of. Eventually! He smirks a bit and nods his assent. "I think my ma thought I was still 8 turns old at the time," he says with an expression that begins to shift closer to troubled than amused. But, it's a passing thing, and the flowery scented teen's grin soon returned as he eyes the box. Brows lift as she sniffs it. Cookies? "The best sort of gift. The edible kind!" he says with a nod. "Can you tell the kind just by your nose? Cinnamon, maybe? Sugar? Oh! Maybe they've made the kind they make here sometimes. A sort've cranberry and nut cookie. They're my favorite." He peers at the box expectantly now…and secretly hopes that the kitchens have those cranberry cookies tonight.

Kera grins over to the weyrling and shrugs "Not really, just smells sweet." After a second or two she snickers "Plus, I gave it a gentle shake and it sounds like cookies shifting around." Working the latch, she flips the lid open, then the flap of thin linen to produce….cookies! Kera leans forward and grins widely "Mmm, mom's klah-mint cookies." She's quick to snatch one up and take a huge chomp before nudging the box towards Ka'el. "Falf vun." Okie, she should not talk with a mouth full of cookie.

And the cookies are…not anything that Ka'el guessed! He grins as he peers at them, brows lifting at the name. "Klah-mint?" From the way the words awkwardly leave his mouth, it's evident that he hasn't had them before! Luckily, Ka'el speaks fluent cookie, and her mouth-stuffed-with-cookie words are deciphered pretty easily. "Don't mind if I do. Thanks!" He plucks one of the cookies out and gives it a tentative sniff. Smells good. He takes a bite. Chew chew chew, swallow. mm! "Say…" he grins at the bitten treat, "these are good. Sori'd love them." The klah-addict would! He takes another bite, chewing appreciatively. "Did y'have fun at the party? M'glad you came."

Kera manages to get the cookie bite down and sips some juice. "Oh, I'll be sure to save her a couple of them. Want one more before I put them away." Her gaze flickers around towards the cavern and the people starting to fill it up. "If that one scruffy looking rider shows up, I won't have a cookie left." The apprentice gives and amused smirk and gives Ka'el a chance to get one if he wants before flipping the lid closed. "Three presents in one, that has to be some kind of record." Kera grins and admires the carving along the box's surface. At the reminder of the party, she grins "It was nice to get out of the dorms for an evening. And you had an interesting looking holding.. oh I mean weyr. Even if I did sorta show up uninvited. And glad that your fireworks didn't set things on fire."

Does he want one more? Well … if she's offering…He takes another! "Thanks," Ka'el says, setting his second cookie on the table so that he can finish his first. "Y'mean Ers'lan? Heh, yeah you're probably right. If you see him coming, hide the cookies." In fact, it's probably a good thing that she closed the cookies now, else Ka'el just may keep on eating! Guys do have bottomless pits for stomachs, don't you know? He's no exception. "Hey," he says after a bit, brows faintly dipping. "You were invited. I invited you …. didn't I?" He pauses to think back. "Huh. I didn't. I meant to the day you were here with Yala, but you left before I could." He smirks, shrugging. "S'alright. Everyone was invited. Shards, half the people that showed up weren't even my friends. Didn't matter though. There was plenty for everyone, thanks to Soriana."

Kera nods "Yea, Ers'lan, that's his name." Her gaze darts around as if said rider will pop out of this air before she grins and takes a few more bites from her plate, giving the appropriate nods or headshake when needed. That is until she tilts her head with a curious frown "Yala? No, I don't think I know anyone named Yala." A moment is given while she thinks then finally shakes her head "Unless you mean that huntress Bowyn?"

"Bowyn? … Bowyn?" Ka'el says incredulously. "That's her name?" He wrinkles his nose, saying it beneath his breath a few more times before giving his head a definitive shake. "Nope. Don't like it. Yala fits far better, so Yala it is for me." And it's a good thing Bowyn knows about this random nickname, else things would surely be confusing! He grins, taking a bite of his second cookie. "So, Kera … that is your real name, isn't it?" A smirk. "How's Xanadu workin' out for you? Everything ok with your apprenticeship?"

Kera just nods at Ka'el before answering "That's what she told me it was. Who knows if that's her real name. She's an odd egg that one." Kera sips her juice and grins at the weyrling's antics, she arches a brow at him and dips her head agreeably. "As far as I know, Kera is what my mom insisted I be named fifteen turns ago yesterday." Leaning her elbow on the table, she slips around in her seat til she's worked her leg under her in the chair. "It's taking some getting used to. Things are so much busier here than I was used to at the Hall. Louder too." The apprentice grins around the cavern before turning her attention back to the weyrling. "I think other than a few bumpy run-ins, I'm managing to keep my head above the water. So far. And I made a couple of new people at your party, so that was nice." Eyeing her mostly empty glass before draining it and looking around for a pitcher "Are you planning on more parties?"

It may Kera a little while to get used to Ka'el. Eventually, those odd looks from her will cease when she realizes how much that comes out of his mouth is a joke, playful, or utterly ridiculous (most of it)! But he does take some getting used to, and he's far used to it by now for him to be put off by the hesitance of others. He'll grow on her! Hopefully. He listens to her, but at a bit…he pauses and gawks. "Wait.. Fifteen turns ago yesterday?" Pause. Pause. "It was your turnday? Your fifteenth? That's why you got these cookies?" he says, gesturing to the gift. "Ah! You should've said something to someone! That's an important turnday. At least, it is to my family. It's when the world sees you as a man for the first time…and, I guess, a woman if one's a girl." He exhales a breath, head tilting. "Since my first party went so well, yes, there will be some in the future. Sooner now that I know your turnday's come and gone with little celebration."

Kera pauses in reaching for the juice pitcher when she notices Ka'el gawking at her. "What?" Then he puts it together, the pieces seem to slip into place for the weyrling. Nodding agreeably "Yea, yesterday was." She gives a self-concious shrug. "I was busy with lessons and duties, so it was pretty much same as any other day." Giving her head a shake "Don't go be doing all that. Your party was recent enough to be a little turnday celibration. I had fun. So did everyone else by my recalling of it." She pauses and a hint of a frown slips across her face "Well, there was that one moment when you made that Weyrling hug me. That was a bit…awkward." She decided weird was just not quite the right word to cover it.

Ka'el nods. It was fun .. but it wasn't a turnday celebration either. There wasn't even a cake! But he doesn't pursue it thought. Kera herself doesn't seem too broken up about it, and he knows very well what it means to have a turnday be 'just another day' when one is a busy apprentice! Up to his fifteenth, he hardly celebrated any while stationed here. His eyes roam from her momentarily, glancing at the tavern as it begins to fill up with hungry patrons looking for dinner. He scans the crowd, though if he's looking for someone, it seems as if they're not here, for it isn't long before his attention is back on her. A brow quirks. "That Weyrling has a name," he reminds, looking more humored than annoyed though. "Mur'dah? I didn't make him hug you. It was a dare. He could've said no. He would've paid a price for not takin' the dare, but he still could've. Besiiiides," he grins, quirking a brow. "Don't y'think it's about time you guys stopped bein'…weird?"

Kera sighs and even rolls her eyes a little, just cause she's fifteen now doesn't mean she's any more mature. "Yea, I know. I tried appologizing to him. And I thought we were having a nice chat when I was studying. Ole Master's sk… An Old master's research." She refills her glass and sets the pitcher back in the middle of the table. "He seems to take things I say the wrong way. But I guess the same could be said for myself at times too."

"Ol' Master…what were you gonna say?" Ka'el says, sounding both amused and curious. He sits back in his seat again, fingertips drumming briskly against the tabletop for a tick. "Eh. He does that," he says with a dismissive shrug. "But uh … between you an' me? I wouldn't give up on him. The guy could use a …friend." He nods sagely. "Yup. See, he has his sister, but…well, she's a sister. The rest've us are all old. Older than him anyway. Somebody like you? You'd be a perfect friend for'm! Keep trying," he suggests, smiling encouragingly.

Kera considers Ka'el across the table and gives her head a shake. "I've been told that I shouldn't discuss some of my lessons, and I think that is one that falls under that warning. It didn't seem to go over well the last time." She gives a little shrug and sips her juice as she listens the weyrling. Blinking at him in surprise as his intentions start to become clear. "Ka'el? Are you trying to fix me you with your friend?"

Ka'el's eyes go wide before they narrow. "Fix you up? Who me?" He laughs heartily. "Uh, I'm lucky I've a girlfriend myself.” A shardin’, amazing…er, focus Ka’el! “Who'm I to go about fixing anyone up with anyone?" He snickers, shaking his head. "No. I'm just saying, the guy could use someone else around his age who isn't the sister he's had his entire life to hang out with from time to time. Especially someone who isn't a weyrling," he points out. "We hardly have time for one another. It was a miracle that party even happened. I know an apprentice's schedule is busy too, but at least it's not the exact same schedule as ours." He grins easily. "That's all."

Kera eyes the young man through narrowed eyes for a few seconds "Uh huh." taking a few more bites of her meal, she listens "I've nothing against being friendly, as long as he doesn't start in about how I smell again." She nods finally "You're right though, I do have a more relaxed schedule than you do." Snapping her fingers suddenly "The apprentices have been gossiping about you lot graduating soon. Do you know when yet?"

Ka'el grins brightly. "Well then good! I've a feeling he's over it already," he says with a nod. "The smell's been gone for a while now, and it isn't as if the two of you haven't had other, more important things to think of since then." Another smile before his blue eyes drift again. There are more people here. He should probably get some food eventually. His eyes drift to the klah pots and the few people who pour themselves a cup, lingering there for a moment til graduation brings him back. "Eh…another month, month and a half I think," he says, exhaling a breath. "It's seemed long since we Impressed, but then it hasn't. It's going to be strange…all of us going our separate ways, into separate wings. The ones from other places'll probably go home.." He trails off, looking thoughtful. But he brightens again soon enough. "Y'know what that means, right? Graduation party. Someone is bound to throw one. You'll have to come to that, too."

Kera chuckles at the mention of another party. "You'll use any excuse to party won't you?" Still chuckling as she gathers up her dishes and presents. "If I'm off duty I will try to attend." Not knowing her duty schedule that far ahead, she can't really promise much more than that. Rising to her feet, she smiles "I need to go put this stuff away and get myself a bath before it gets too late. Thank you for the chat Ka'el. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening." The apprentice wiggles her fingers to the weyrling before heading off to put her dishes away then slips out of the cavern.

"Guilty," admits Ka'el, lifting up a hand. "But can you blame me? I've never had a chance to have parties before. Dormitories are … restrictive like that, as y'well know." So obviously he has to make up for lost party time! He grins, watching her as she rises and nodding in reply. "Oh! Before I forget. Someone switched the labels on the bath soaps. The one marked 'men’s' actually smells like flowers," he warns, giving her a knowing look before he nods to her in departure. He rises then and gives the place one last once over, and with an exhale, heads to the food. Chow time.

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