Let There Be Cake!

Wanderin' Wherry Tavern
It is often whispered, in the crowds that converge here, that a certain Weyrleader was asked what he wanted in the remodeling of the pub that was not so long ago given a refreshing. He muttered back over the rim of his ever-present mug, "I don't care what you do with the place, just so long as there is plenty of ale." With that in mind, cask after cask of ale lines the walls of the tavern, the remodeler's idea of a jest. As they age, the casks bring a real rustic atmosphere to the pub, along with the deeply wooden flavor that seems to be the theme throughout.
The lighting is dim, as it should be in all good pubs, and the tables and chairs are plentiful. A long mahogany bar, intricately carved with runner beasts, stands vigilant duty at the head of the bar, lined with stools for those patrons that seek the bartender's company. Behind it are drinks for those not inclined toward ale, as well as a door leading to the small kitchen where snacks are made and a back room that probably holds yet more ale.

« IT'S A PARTY!!! » Comes the not at all unexpected announcement to practically all of Xanadu. It had been at least three days since Inasyth had last declared party-time for anybody with free-time. Party hats optional, but highly encouraged. Rhodelia very, very cautiously steps into the Wanderin' Wherry, looking up above as she enters. "No confetti or streamers, that's an improvement…" But still the weyrwoman seems just a wee bit cautious as she enters her former workplace as if any object might just bite. Or burst into glitter.

Zaira enters as well, just behind the older woman, but giving her space. She's been a quiet presence at the Weyr for a few sevendays, not making herself known just yet but the rumour of a party was too great for the apprentice Harper to resist. So, guitar case strapped to her back and her rotund brown firelizard perched on her left shoulder she moves to go in, hesitating slightly, but too curious to retreat. "By Faranth, is it safe in there?" she asks herself softly, but loud enough to be heard.

"Usually," Rhodelia answers in a tone that's none too comforting even as she ever so cautiously peeking around the bar and eyeing the bartender. "I have a very enthusiastic dragon that somehow keeps managing to talk people with thumbs into doing things like rigging up streamers to fall when I walk into a room. Or getting dancers to pop out when you least expect them. Hannista's holder was not as amused as Risa was that one time…" But looks like there's nothing but booze and bartender behind the bar, as it should be. And so she turns cautious eye to harper apprentice and that guitar case. "You weren't hired by my dragon, were you?"

Zaira bows, firelizard and all, and shakes her head, a friendly smile on her face. "No, came along on my own. Not long arrived from the Hall for my field apprenticeship you see. I was given Xandu or Igen and I decided I didn't want to melt into a puddle my first day there." One hand rakes through her seal-brown hair. "Oh, my manners. My name's Zaira and this is Rhapsody," and she indicates the brown on her shoulder. One longfingered, fingertips calloused lightly, hand is offered along with another smile.

Rhodelia crosses her arms as she peers at the girl, tap-tap-tapping her finger on her arm as she considers. "That does seem like a likely story… or maybe just a ruse! I'm on to you, harper! Zaria." Fingers to eyes in the age-old I'm-Watching-You gesture, but when the hand is offered, she does shake. "I'm Rhody, or Rhodelia. You've probably seen or heard Inasyth running around. She's kind of hard to miss." Xanadu's youngest gold is large and loud and very little concept of inside voices.

Zaira bows again. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Rhody…and so that's the queen that I'm always seeing everywhere. But no, nobody said anything about me performing. I just heard rumour something was happening here tonight and thought I'd take a look…the guitar is just habit. I'm really better with a piano but I can play a little if I'm wanted but I honestly haven't heard anyone ask for my services tonight." Her gold-rimmed silver eyes have a look of honesty and curiosty and so does the tone of her voice.

"Probably… could also be Leirith… or Ilyscaeth," Rhodelia knows better than most just how loud and outgoing most of Xanadu's golds can be. "They all mean well, though. Someone made the mistake of telling Ina that my turnday was last seven. And she keeps forgetting the day, but remembering the need for a party. More so than her usual desire for parties." That someone may have actually been Rhody herself but true to Rhody form she's not admitting to personal responsiblity! "I think your guitar is safe enough. Maybe. I think…" She gives a sniff in the air. "I think there might be cake instead this time."

Zaira considers and relaxed slightly. "I've never really been in a Weyr before so this is all so fascinating for me. But I've been told that a woman in a Weyr has more opprotunities and fewer restrictions upon her shoulders. She is free to do things besides settle down in one spot and bring up the children her husband sired off her. Though I'm sure there's limits on how far anyone can go. I'm still young…still learning. But I'm trying to learn fast."

Rhodelia quirks a bit the mention of restrictions. "I'm guessing you weren't at Harper Hall before this then? Or really… any of the major craft halls. Because settling well…" She gives a shake of her head. "Settling was never the expectation my family had for me. And I still dared to run away and stumble my way into becoming a dragonrider. Can you believe the nerve of that?"

Zaira smiles. "I doubt I'd have the nerve. If my father were still alive," she pauses for a moment, eyes dimming with emotion, "And my mother still with me, they probably would have let me decide where I wanted to go and do what they could. Especially my father…he was a journeyman bard, specializing in piano and guitar. I sort of take after him…though I don't know where my eyes came from. Father's were black and mother's were a sort of misty hazel.. Rhapsody lets out a soft trill and the teenager smiles. "Good, he likes you. He doesn't like just anybody and when he doesn't like you he can get a bit nippy. Have to keep an eye on him."

"Deciding what to do for yourself is terrifying, but sometimes you just gotta turn in your apprentice knot, write a note and bribe a rider to drop you off a continent away in the middle of the night, you know?" Rhodelia's example may be a bit suspiciously specific there, but she does give a wink. "You do look like an adult, you know. So if you decide you want to stay here and work well… nobody's going to be allowed to drag you away kicking and screaming." The little firelizard gets a wiggle of fingers from the goldrider. "I think my fingers are safe enough. Got my own Maitai and Ina watching out for them after all."

Zaira laughs. "Your fingers are quite safe then. Rhapsody doesn't bother older firelizards…sticks pretty close to me. He's something of a loner…someday I hope to get him a companion. He was a chance find but a nice surprise. Almost hatched in my hands…thought his egg was a pretty-colored rock until it moved." She pauses for a beat and her face grows more serious. "I've decided to stay here," she says decisively. "I like it here and I love the piano. It's in perfect tune and it doesn't mind me working it for a few hours every now and then when I get the chance. I may start trying some public performances soon…but not tonight. I'm not quite ready yet."

"Might have luck combing the beaches when it gets a bit warmer in summer," Rhodelia adds. "I think that's where my green ends up hiding her eggs. I've never been able to usually find her clutches except the one time she laid them in my helmet. And there's plenty of firelizards around." If one were to look, there'd probably even be a few just loitering around the Wherry hoping for eventual table scraps. As the teen makes her decision, the smile on Rhody's face grows a bit. "Welcome to Xanadu, for real I guess. Should we get a drink to celebrate? And the piano should be in tune. Risali plays, you know. When she gets the time." As she's sharing that tidbit about the senior, Rhody turns around and gets a view of the empty bar. "There was a bartender there just a few minutes ago, right?"

Zaira smiles again. "A drink would be nice," she agrees. "And yeah there was a bartender there just a few minutes back…where'd he go? Back room to restock?" she guesses. "Or is something going on that you and I know nothing about? Rhapsody…if anything strange starts going on, you know what to do. Go home and stay there 'til I get back." She strokes the brown's flank, to reassure the firelizard…and herself.

Oh, something is definitely brewing but they don't have to wait long before Inasyth's champagne bubbles boom into everybody's auditory sensors. « HAPPY TURNDAY TO YOU! CHA-CHA-CHA!!! HAPPY TURNDAY TO YOU! CHA-CHA-CHA!!! HAPPY TURNDAY DEAR RHOOOOOOO-DDDDDDDY!!! » There's a thumping in the ground that might even correspond to the massive dragon tromping around in the meadow in her own attempt at dancing, right as the bartender remerges carrying a cake, with candles and mouthing an 'I'm Sorry' to Rhodelia. "We were warned it was a party after all. It can't really be a party without cake, right?" The goldrider might have a bit of an exasperated sigh, but it's not the worst surprise she's had to deal with by far. "Is that strawberry?"

Zaira winces at Inasyth's mental assault, Rhapsody almost howling. But it doesn't take the apprentice Harper too long before she recovers and gets her firelizard under control. "You can't say Inasyth doesn't love you," she comments, rubbing her right temple a little. "I hope it is strawberry, haven't had that in far too long. Fresh-gathered ripe strawberries."

« NOBODY HAS EVER SAID THAT! I LOVE RHODY! AND I LOVE YOU! AND YOU! AND YOU! And You…. » And thankfully the boisterous gold's voice trails off as she seems to get distracted by chasing down those others that she loved, but one of those was champagne bubbles of love was definitely directed at the young harper and her little firelizard too! "She's nearly fourty five meters of pure love," Rhody stage whispers to Zaria before taking the cake from the bartender and claiming the nearest table to blow out the candles. Luckily, plates and forks were also brought out with the cake too. It's definitely strawberry and cream based cake. "This time of turn, probably greenhouse grown, but good enough!"

Zaira relaxes under Inasyth's soothing with a return touch of thanks and Rhapsody croons softly. He's feeling better as well. "Always good enough for me, they get so big and juicy even in the greenhouses compared with the wild ones. And not as tart as the wild ones either." The apprentice Harper obviously considers this a plus. She steps back a bit, taking her place in the line of those who will get cake. Maybe not a large piece but it's CAKE for crying out loud.

"Believe it or not, that might have been a bit quiet and understated for her. Guess it happens after the forth turnday party planned in a seven," Rhodelia rolls her eyes even as she starts carving up the cake. The cake definitely is not a lie. "And yep, mixed with a little bit of sugar and cream and yum." The good thing about being the turnday girl (and bar regular… and possible weyrwoman as well), Rhodelia also gets a drink brought to her as well. Some sort of fruity cocktail to match the berry cake.

Zaira smiles at the Weyrwoman. "Yum definately. And a whole sevenday of partying…sounds like some of the celebrations my father was hired on for because he was one of the few with the stamina and the reportoire to last a sevenday without giving out or running out of songs. I doubt I could do it myself…not at this stage anyway. Maybe someday I'll be able to but it certainly would be a challenge." She does not go for a drink, not yet…that will come in its place and anyway she was a relatively light drinker..for a Harper that is.

Rhodelia laughs in between bites of her own cake. "It sounds exhausting. I mean, if it weren't something I was dodging half the time anyways. Anything can be an excuse for a party in Inasyth's eyes. But usually they're smaller. And just friends and food. But never know when there might be need for costumes! Or music. Or dancing. Or other surprises. And keep training and in a few turns you'll probably be in your prime for playing week long parties." The energy of youth!

Zaira chuckles, eating her cake slowly and enjoying the flavor. "They make good cake here," she compliments. "I'll definately keep training…you don't get anywhere by sitting still. And if I am needed for a party I can certainly try to play…another time. I've been taught a lot of dance tunes and there's some I like that I've picked up in the Archives…I also compose some, but usually only for my own hearing. I'm focusing on instruments now, singing and composition can come later."

"You might want to be careful about where you make the offer of being available if needed," Rhodelia lowers her voice a bit for the warning. "Because otherwise, you'll end up with more work than you can handle! Besides, if you're always playing or studying you're not out having those other life experiences that can go on to inspire later compositions."

Zaira nods, eyes serious. "I understand. I'm a little young for boys but there is so much else to inspire. I find getting out in nature invigorating…and visting the observatory by night to see the stars. I kind of haunt that place sometimes I admit. And my time for boys will come. My father told me long ago that I'd have to be careful when I got to be around this age…boys would be attractive to me. He used to say that either a dragon would snatch me off the Sands or I'd end up a Lord Holder's wife." The white ears suffuse with crimson. "I think he exaggerated. A bit."

"It doesn't have to be boys…" Rhodelia gives a bit of a wink. "And it's fine to wait on finding boys as well. Just make friends. Good friends. You'll never know what sort of trouble and fun they can help bring. Really liven things up a bit." There's a snort for her father's words of 'wisdom'. "What do fathers know? Mine swore I'd be a vintner. I nearly poisoned my journeyman. Twice. On accident." The last tacked on just in case it wasn't clear.

Zaira nods. "I guess it's do what you do best, leave the rest to chance and be open towards other people, those older than yourself and the same age as well. I'm still young but old enough to realise that I still need guidance and I'm not ready to go wandering out on my own. I just have to be choosy in taking my friends. My father always said elders have much wisdom to share and I think he got that one right. They've lived longer, gotten more experience out of life, maybe learned things the hard way."

"Not too old," Rhodelia wrinkles her nose a bit. "At least… not for that way. Like sure, if you're gonna listen to some stories or whatever, old folks are great for that. But for the mates to get into the good sort of trouble with, probably best around your same age. And at your age, probably won't be long before you get your journeyman's knot and then a bit of journeying is expected. It's in the name!"

Zaira laughs. "My father used to tell stories of what happened to him when he was a new journeyman and hadn't really picked a place where he wanted to serve. There was always something interesting. Like the one he used to tell about his time at Nerat…he never gave details but apparently a beach, a huge spiderclaw and a delicate part of his anatomy were involved. He would just turn red and trail off saying it was too embarassing to continue, especially with my mother around."

Rhodelia's eyes widen appropriately in amusement as she snickers at the story of Zaria's poor unfortunate father. "That… esh. Reminder to always wear your bathing suit on the beach. Even if you think it's deserted never know when wildlife might try a sneak attack! I mean, a couple sevens ago, Monaco's hatching had spiderclaws everywhere. Inasyth tried to talk me into taking a few of the bigger ones home to try and keep as pets." Tried being the key word there.

Zaira blinks. "Yeah, you never know. And spiderclaws at a Hatching? The poor Candidates…isn't Hatching dangerous enough dodging the young dragons without having to worry about getting pinched on the butt at the same time? I don't think you could dodge both dragons and spiderclaws. That would be some fancy dancework to try!"

"The dragons are quite a bit bigger than the spiderclaws," Rhodelia points out, helpfully holding her hands out in a rough estimate of the size of a newly hatched blue. "It's not like dragons are trying to maul anybody. They just have to find their feet and find their lifemate at the same time, and that can be hard and accidents sometimes happen. But it's pretty rare these days, especially considering there's rarely more than a dozen eggs in a clutch."

Zaira nods her eye, eyes widening. "I can imagine learning to walk while looking for your life partner while being ravenously hungry would be overwhleming. It's good there are so few accidents now. I've heard long ago Hatchings were very dangerous…that you could die on the Sands. But I'm sure it rarely went that far. The historians love to exaggerate at times."

Rhodelia gives a bit of a roll of her eyes. "That sounds like nonsense holders would try to tell their kids to scare them out of Standing if Searchriders were coming around… especially during an Interval when there wasn't the threat of Thread to do the scaring as well. You could die by tripping into your bath. Or choking on your cake. There's danger in anything." She waves dismissively with her cake fork.

Zaira dips her head decisively. "Very true. Anyhing that's any fun worth doing anyway. Can't let fear paralyze you, you have to push through and find the courage…like I did to break away from my aunt and uncle who I don't like and they didn't like me…at that Gather and sneak up to that vacant piano and play a little concert on it. One of the Harpers there liked what he heard and since I was 12 anyway…end of the story is I ended up getting set up as an apprentice Harper. I just got so carried away with the music that there wasn't room for fear and I didn't notice I'd attacted a small audience."

"I mean… we could try to wrap you up in a giant wad of cotton so you can't bump into anything that could hurt you but then you might have to worry about heat stroke come winter. Or drowning if you get caught in the rain…" Rhodelia grins at the suggestion. As for the story, she lets out a little impressed whistle. "Playing good enough to get the attention of Harper and earn an apprenticeship without any previous lessons… sounds like you might have been one of the students all the other kids hate, out of jealousy. My sister was always like that. Anything musical comes natural to her."

Zaira nods her head. "The other students were rather jealous about how fast I picked things up. My father taught me a bit, when I was old enough to sit at a piano and he taught me to read notehand. The guitar? I've had to learn that almost brand new. My hands were too small to play it so I could only watch what he did and try to imitate what I saw."

"The masters and journeymen expected me to be one of those students," but from the frown on Rhodelia's face, seems like expectations did not meet reality. "But while I learned to like drinking wine and a mixing spirits, the whole actually making them process never really was my cup of tea. My father had a real big shadow I never could fill in."

Zaira nods. "My aunt and uncle wanted me to do something practical like join the minecraft or the smithcraft, but music is in my blood. I tried the smithcraft, shadowing not actally doing anything, and I knew it wasn't a job for me. So when I had the chance to get out, I took it."

Rhodelia gives a snort and sips her cocktail. "Harpers aren't just all singing and playing. Without harpers who would teach kids to read and count? Or keep our records? The harpers do also try and keep an eye out in the smaller holds for kids that might have knack or desire to try crafts they might not be able to at home, but that's a delicate dance sometimes. Parents or aunts and uncles can be… difficult."

Zaira inclines her head. "Harpers do a lot and many of them specialize where their talents and inclinations are. I've known plenty that want to be historians and teachers. My father was a part time teacher in addition to his playing. He had a circuit through the minor cotholds he'd ride several times a year, teaching the littles as was needed. He loved performing but he knew that the teaching needed to be done as well." The apprentice Harper tenses suddenly. "I think I had better go," she says as she finishes her cake. "Before someone sees the guitar or your dragon does decide to hire me on the fly."

Rhodelia looks a bit above Zaira's head for a moment before looking abck down at the apprentice. "Might want to dodge through the forest path instead of the shortcut through the clearing if you're trying to get back to the craft quarters. If you're trying to avoid dragons with an eye for guitars. And good luck!" She gives a wave and shamelessly grabs a second piece of cake. It's her turnday after all… at least according to Inasyth.

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