Instant Regret, Just Add Snow

Xanadu Weyr - Rustic Treetop Cafe
Perched on the cliff overlooking Xanadu's beach is a gnarled and massive skybroom tree. The bark and outer layers are sturdy enough to support the thriving, brushy top, but the interior, which is hollow, contains a spiral staircase that leads to a cafe built on a high platform amongst the branches. With a panoramic view of lake, sky, Weyr and the mountains beyond, the treetop eatery offers both sheltered seating just inside the trunk and tables on the wide deck that encircles the old tree.
The cafe's decor is comfortable and rustic, but closer inspection shows the smallest embellishments to be artfully combined into one detailed masterpiece. The wood of the doors, floor and walls of the trunk have been stained a dark mahogany that lends the space a sense of intimacy. Tables in various sizes have been carved to mimic driftwood, the chairs and benches padded with oiled sailcloth cushions to provide weather-proof comfort. Each table has an aged brass lantern filled with shells and agates gathered from Xanadu's shores, the sparkling natural mosaics holding tapered candles upright in their embrace. Lamps hang from the ceiling on silver poles, the thick frosted glass carved into intricate pastel shells or swirling white-capped waves. At night the colored glass softens the glowlight to enhance the ambience.
During the day, the retractable doors allow leaf-spattered sunlight to fill both the outer deck and the smaller interior with green and gold light, as well as allowing pleasant breezes to cool the interior. On clear nights, farviewers perch on the elaborately carved railing are free for use to enhance the gorgeous view of the stars over the Caspian Lake, the Sea of Azov beyond and the rock formations of the Weyr.

Winter has finally sunk its claws into Xanadu, and a certain junior weyrwoman is not happy about it. With its windows battened, and heating units cranked up, the goldrider has taken refuge from the blustering snow outside, buried deep in a cup of klah at one of the Rustic Tree Cafe's emptier tables. Both hands wrapped around her cup, Esiae has at least shed her coat, though she still wears a heavy sweater and at least two scarves around her neck. Every time the door opens, brown eyes glare daggers at the person daring to let the heat out, encouraging anyone who's gonna come in to do it, and do it quickly!

Kiena might be a recipient of one of those glares. No lover of the winter either, she's quick to enter but that only means she brings IN some of the snow. Which she promptly sheds by the door as she shakes out her hair and brushes off the worst of it from her shoulders and jacket. Ugh. Normally she'd hunt down a hot drink right then but that feeling of being watched will have her spy out Esiae if the goldrider is, indeed, still glaring at this point. "What…?" She do this time? Kiena's the epitome of innocence (this time)!

It's a thoroughly bundled Azchel that plods along after a hale young Xanadian rider who is, in turn, letting the cold in after Kiena — the woman flags somebody down and orders, voice inaudible above the low hum of voices. The woman might be keeping a close eye on Chel, but Azchel is…not paying much attention to her, or whatever might be being ordered for her. In fact, the kid's pulling her coat closer, fuzzy bright purple wool scarf covering the better part of her face as she throws herself into the chair next to Esiae without so much as an invitation. "It's *cold*." Is all she has to say, really, pulling her feet up into the chair and shoving her coat down over most of her body. Tiny ball of rage and cold with a little red nose and brown eyes staring out of the top. Out from under her matching hat, Azchel eyes Kiena too. "S'*cold*." The kid whines, voice muffled. Which may or may not be Esi's problem too, but, yanno.

Esiae relaxes by fractions when she recognizes two out of three of the people letting the cold in, but she doesn't quite free Kiena from that glare. Instead, she slowly raises one eyebrow at the bluerider, eyelids squinting even closer together. 'You know what you did,' that playful look says, but alas, though she tries, she just can't keep up the charade. With the door closed again, mug of klah drawn in close to herself, the woman cracks a crooked smirk shakes her head. "If I glare at people, they shut the damn door faster," she explains. "Otherwise, they stand there with the door gaping open, like as if there isn't three feet of snow outside just waitin' to blow in." Her chin dips towards her table, as though inviting Kiena to join her if she so chose, before Esiae eyeballs tiny little Azchel as the girl wanders over and makes herself at home. "S'an understatement," Esi shoots back, adopting the girl's Istan accent readily. "Regretting comin' here now, ain't'cha." Esi sure as shells is.

Kiena smirks for that playful look and then snorts as Esiae explains herself. "Some folks just don't have a lick of common sense." she grumbles while walking forwards, silently accepting the invitation to join. "I've been here for Turns now and I still can't get used to the cold. Or enjoy it." Nope, never going to happen. After shedding her jacket and hanging it somewhere to dry, Kiena will ungracefully flop into a vacant chair and it's then that her eyes flick to Azchel. She makes an amused sound, grinning crookedly. "That it is and you're going to broil alive eventually wearing all that in here!" The accent has the bluerider curious and glancing back to Esiae, she makes an assumption. "She yours?"

"I'mma take their *knees* if they leave it open." It might be a little hard to hear her over the thick scarf, but those young smiths who just came in look a little alarmed all the same when they spot the source of the loud commentary. Istans. What can you do? "Weren't my idea in th'first place." Poor Azchel is a little more accented than usual, or maybe it really is that scarf. "When d'ya get used to it?" Yeah, she looks hopeful, but it's a child's hope! Wistful. Sigh. Kiena gets less of a suspicious squint, anyhow, when she speaks up; Chel softens, nodding ruefully from the fuzzy cocoon. "You sure?" The kid whines, as to not getting used to it — there's the vague sensation that she'll keep asking until the answer satisfies her — but also there's stubbornness. "Ain't. It's *cold* even in here." And as for Esiae's, the girl snorts a giggle into her cocoon, face falling into it fully and staying. Yeah, she'll just…be in here. And no help, either.

"You don't have to tell me," Esiae drawls, eyes rolling ceilingwards dramatically. "One would think it'd be obvious, considering they had to walk through it to get here, but then, if I understood why people were stupid and could fix it, I'd probably be out a job, so." Brown eyes sparkle with mirth, shrugging over at the Smiths coming through the door as though to say 'get hopping or it's your kneecaps, boys.' She won't stop the Chelnado. "I feel ya there, though, Kiena. Stayed a winter in 'Reaches, and I still can't stand the stuff. I dunno how they make it through, turn in and turn out of snow up to their dragons' eyeballs," she adds with a shudder and a headshake towards Azchel. "You don't. You just accept your fate and buy more scarves." She seems content to let the girl and rider chat about the girl's cocoon, the junior moving to take a sip of her klah, but then— SPOOF. Luckily, she mostly splutters into her cup. "What? No, ain't mine!" Granted, she has strong suspicions as to who the girl does belong to, but it's definitely not her. "We just hail from the same place, roughly," she clarifies, in case that panicked answer was a bit too rough. "Her name's Azchel. She's fostering here awhile. Heard a rumor she was causing trouble at Ista," is added in an amused tone, one brow raising again in a very 'isn't that right' fashion. "So she's come to stay with us." Lucky Xanadu.

Kiena chuckles dryly, "Nah. Don't bother trying to fix the stupid. You'd be out of a job, as you said and I'd be out of sources of entertainment." She'll laugh gruffly for Azchel's threat and as those Smiths are likely fellows she knows (and works with), she'll make sure to tease them mercilessly about it later. "Why in Faranth's name would you stay in 'Reaches? For any reason?" she asks, shivering out of the mere thought. To the girl, the bluerider nods. "I'm sure. 'N how do you know it's cold in here? Do I look cold?" Is she going to regret saying that? There's a brief moment of sheepishness when Esiae's reaction and Azchel's giggling proves that her question was far off the mark. Uh, oops? Kiena just coughs and rubs at the back of her neck. Well then! "Sorry. Just figured…" Won't happen again (it so will). "Well met, Azchel. Ista, huh? No wonder neither of you like the cold. I spent some time in Ista during the Weyr Games." Trouble? Again, her eyes dart to Azchel, as if to size the girl up or try to see how such a bundled creature could be so dangerous. "Bit young to be a rebel, aren't you?" she teases.

Azchel is young and more direct than trying to boss people around — she's got a creepy half-of-one-eye glare for those smiths even as the giggles subside, like she's actually gonna go for their knees if they come too close. Kiena'll have a pretty good reason to ribe them later, bless. Even if Chel looks a little rabid. "*Reaches*. Madder than I thouht." That's all the girl has to say for that, sharing the bluerider's alarm. The girl even raises her head up again to eye Esi, wary like she might have some sort of snow-cooties. You never know. And as for more scarves, Azchel looks sincerely depressed, for the moment between that and the spluttering. Then she's back to giggling, eyes crinkling around the edges. "Ain't causin' any trouble. M'a well-behaved child who needs a challenge." She says that like it's verbatim, eyes flicking to Esiae for some sort of support there like the rider actually really knows her, and ignoring the subject of her confusing parentage in favor of trying to gloss over the delinquent status. "An' I don't know you ain't crazy, ma'am, so don't you tell me it ain't cold out there." Alright, it's a little sassy, but Chel's not taking any chances. "Ista's way better than this. Well met." That's an afterthought, but there's the crinkle around her eyes again, so at least she might be smiling.

Esiae has to laugh for that, eyes crinkling with mirth. "Shells, true. I'd hate to deprive you of your entertainment," she drawls, passing up giving those Smiths another glare in favor of shrugging about High Reaches. "Learning advanced search and rescue and facilitating controlled avalanches. Alas, there's literally no better place for that than 'Reaches," she mutters darkly as though, had she the choice, she would rather have learned that anywhere else. "That'n their menfolk are delicious, once you get 'em out of their layers. They build 'em big, up north," is added blithely with a wide grin, letting Kiena take that however she'd like. Hopefully the implication would sail right over Azchel's head. As for the girl… "Nah, don't be sorry. Wasn't a terrible guess. She's…" A beat. "Well, I'll fill you in later." Esi's gaze is sheepish, but only for a moment - then, Chel is trying to argue her innocence, and damn if Esiae doesn't recognize that argument. "I'll give you a challenge," the goldrider mutters in a very not-goldrider-y fashion, miming a punch of one fist into her palm, but the woman likewise giggles to show she doesn't mean it. Kiena shouldn't be deceived though. Danger comes in small packages. "No such thing as being too young to be a rebel," is said sagely, as though she has experience in the matter.

Kiena can't help but wrinkle her nose a bit, "Sounds… interesting?" Yeah, no. There's another shiver but perhaps more to the thought of having to train in enough snow to have avalanche conditions. Blinking, it takes her a moment to realize what Esiae alluded too and promptly begins to laugh, only to stifle it to snickering. "Eh-heh! Is that so? Can't say I'd know Reachian. Tried Fortian… not bad. Shame I'm a taken woman or…" She just spreads her hands out in a cryptic manner and Azchel gains her attention again. There's a quirked brow for that recited line of 'needing a challenge' but Kiena doesn't question it. That sass though! She scoffs, "You wanna try me? What'd I gain by lyin' to you, kid?" she drawls, her faint accent more Half Moon than Xanadian. There's a nod given to Esiae for later explanations but Kiena's too busy trying not to burst out laughing again OR grin too much when the goldrider mimes that punch. "Mhm, I should know. Given I was a right pain in the ar—- backside to many." Cough. Speaking of "rebels", Kiena's head tilts and her eyes unfocus as she 'listens' in. It's brief but there's a weariness to her sigh. She didn't even get a chance for a warm drink! "Speaking of trouble… looks like my girls just started some. Excuse me. I've some heads to knock together…" NOT literally, one would hope! Standing, she'll hastily slip on her jacket while tipping her fingers in a mock sort of half wave, half salute to both Esiae and Azchel. "Clear skies and try not to freeze solid, eh?" And off she goes! Back out that door to face the winter as she goes to hunt down her wayward spawn.

Azchel makes a noise like she's choking on her scarf, but really, it's just her display of displeasure. "Whatcha gonna need that for 'ere?" The girl sighs, because obviously adults don't make any sense at all. And predictably, she gags, although the implication definitely sailed right over her head. "*Ugh*." Boys and eating shouldn't be anywhere near the same sentence. She's even too busy to argue on the 'later', though she does roll her eyes as she tugs her arms further up in the cocoon and sighs. "Friends don't punch friends, Esiae." The kid reminds the rider sassily, tucking her nose back into the scarf to hide the grin. "You gain gettin' me good and cold and *laughing* at me, s'what." Chel huffs, but then Kiena is off, and the girl watches her go with wry amusement. "'bye! Good try!" She calls after, and then goes back to hiding in her coat. Esiae might still be there, but it's possible that the kid is hibernating now.

"It was interesting, and good to know in case there's ever a snow emergency here," Esiae says frankly. "I actually enjoy that sort of thing - wish there was more opportunity for the Nova wing to cooperate with Galaxy. I just… could'a done without the snow and the cold," she adds, mirroring that shiver before cracking a wide smile for Kiena's laugh. "If they're built like a mountain, they're probably 'Reachian," Esiae drawls, eyes twinkling with mirth as she ignores Chel's 'ugh.' "Fortian, hmm?" Brows waggle. "Ah well. There's something to be said for being taken, too." And she means that, voice earnest before she switches her gaze over to Azchel. "Some friends do," Esi sasses right back, "I done my fair share of friendly punchin' in my day." But, she seems to be saying it just for argument's sake, as she clearly doesn't intend to go around punching nine-turn-olds anytime soon. Not really. "See? Even Kiena's gonna knock some heads," the junior says, chuckling. There's a nod for the bluerider, though, and an equally flippant wave-salute in return. "Same t'you! Show 'em who's boss." Though Esi seems content to stay, she doesn't mind Chel's descent back into her cocoon at all. If anything, it'll give her a chance to flag down and quietly chat with the rider that brought her in, content to while away the blustery day.

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