Pot to Kettle

Xanadu Weyr - 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.

Springtime! A time of warmth and sunshine. The afternoon would be perfect for tanning were it not for the humidity cloaking Xanadu today. It tends to make beads of moisture on the skin that act as multiple magnifying lenses that fry instead of creating the golden peach glow Darsce prefers. So she's in here rather than on the beach - not that she hadn't given tanning a try - sitting at the bar sipping something icy and fruity. She's wearing a loose, gauzy beach-wrap, tunic-capri ensamble, her bikini seen dimly through that while she bends over a sketchpad, intent on her drawing. It looks like a garment of some sort, with measurements and equations done off to the edges of the page, lines connecting them where they belong.

Time away from Xanadu was well spent (for the most part), and although the what should've been momentary trip lasted the entire day and night, Ka'el has no (few) complaints. It's been a few days since then, and Kanekith is back to his usual bronzy self. Everyone is probably oh so pleased! Ka'el apparently had worried for no reason. Things happen, and apparently he took the right steps when Stuff did go down. Water under the bridge and lesson learned. Today's back to the routine of weyrlinghood. Fewer lessons. More real life practice. Graduation prep. Graduation worries. An hour spent with his lifemate on the star stones has momentarily cleared his head, and now back on earth, he enters the tavern for a drink. Or a snack. Whatever. "Water, please," said upon leaning on the bartop, apparently not here for the usual type of drink patrons that frequent a tavern come here for. "And do you have fried tubers today? Yeah?" He brightens and orders those too! His back is turned to the bar and elbows leaned upon it as he waits for his order to arrive, idly scanning the place in the meantime.

Beldar puffs with pride as Ka'el gives him the chance to demonstrate his skill.
Knives fly and bowls clatter as Beldar charges through the kitchen, preparing Ka'el's fried tuber wedges. Finally, he returns, and gives it to him, saying "There you go. I make it especial for you."

The refractive properties of liquid are fascinating. Most of the humidity is relatively pure water, though the various impurities have their effects on both the refractive indices of the droplets and their size - which also has an effect. Most of those here are, however, more interested in assessing the impurities of liquid from a different perspective. Usually, they're interested in the biological effects of imbibing the waste products of unicellular organisms… as opposed to doing so with (relatively) pure water. Jethaniel does not arrive from the main door, but instead from the one leading to the back storeroom where those kegs not yet on tap are stored. It's also where the records tend to be located. A reasonable enough thing for the Steward to investigate, and as he emerges now, it's with a faint and considering frown.

Amoeba are woefully unaware of swimming in impure seas and Darsce blissfully oblivious to their existence, thank Faranth! She'd so totally freak if she were told that microscopic critters live on her skin (please don't enlighten her!) The arrival of Ka'el at the bar is noticed (how could it not be - the place is nearly deserted and she's seated near the center) but reaction is minimal - just a tiny lift of one corner of her mouth in a cool semi-smile and a bored-toned, "Ka'el," to greet him while her eyes remain on her work and her pencil continues to make marks, swift and sure. The sound of the back room door doesn't usually register with her as she tends to tune the comings and goings of the staff out. Today, however, she glances that way and iceblue eyes light up, her smile changing instantly to a real one. "Hi Jeth," she greets brightly, genuinely and pleasantly surprised. If she'd known he was back there, she'd have left designing for another time.

Water comes first because … really, it's water. And so it's a icy mug that is clunked down near Ka'el's elbow, causing the weyrling to turn and grin a thanks to the 'tender. And it's with this turn that his eyes glimpse the steward. Heh. Not often the tech guy is found here, though Ka'el doesn't make it a habit of knowing the habits of others that aren't close to him, and so his look is passing and he turns back around with his mug in his hand. Fried tubers. Fried tubers. A grab and go sort of snack. Eyes begin to unfocus (a word that I'm using anyway), but before they completely do so his attention is brought back to the here and now by the sound of his name. A blink to Darsce. "Hey," he offers, very little following that. If he's remembering that he promised Mur'dah an apology, he's doing a poor job at showing it. Or offering that apology at that, which apparently has been forgotten with time. Or a true lack of desire or intent to do so. Fried tubers. Fried tubers. The mug is brought to his lips and he takes a few swallows of that water.

There are, perhaps, some circumstances in which a lack of knowledge may be considered superior to having that knowledge. Indeed, some forms of knowledge may be troubling; they may give rise to a need for consideration. As they have for Jethaniel, now. His thoughts, were they given form, might be murky - enough so to obscure the scene from his gaze - but they clear as the sound of his name draws his attention. Further, as his gaze settles on Darsce, it draws a smile. He approaches, leaving his thoughts back where they were. "Hello, Darsce," he says with a smile, and settles himself onto the barstool beside her. His gaze moves past to notice Ka'el, who does not get a smile; simply a nod. "Weyrling Ka'el," Jethaniel says, and then his eyes slip away, tracing the bar back toward Darsce. They'll soon encounter her sketchpad.

Darsce knows better than to get between a growing boy and his food. So she has nothing to say while he goes for those fries. If she's wanting an apology, she doesn't demand it either. While her normal friendliness might be absent, there's no anger either, in fact Ka'el might be a stranger, except that the lack of emotion on her face would be then considered quite rude. And Darsce is a master at saving that for those who deserve it. Ohwait… "Hello," she responds in a purr to Jethaniel, "Can you take a break?" Her drawing is simple - a feminine figure wearing some form-hugging trous and a jacket. One could almost call it a schematic, if they were not electrically inclined, for there are numerous symbols, dotted lines and arrows marking the drawing.

"Steward Jethaniel." Or whatever it is his official title is. Steward of Xanadu, Jethaniel? Steward to the Weyrwoman of the Weyr, Jethaniel? This is probably one of those many titles they learned like, months upon months ago. Ka'el's more concerned with his food, especially since he's pretty sure he's close enough to correct to be left alone, which apparently is his goal considering the amount of attention that's not being paid to either the Steward or Darsce. And … ah ha! He turns around in time to see his fries coming, and he reaches into a pocket to count out the correct amount of coins to pay for his on the go meal, sliding them across the countertop when done. "Thanks." He collects the fries, basket and all, and pushes away from the bar. No, Kanekith. These aren't for you. Didn't you already have enough food excursions to last at least a month? Or lifetime, preferably? His fuzzy look is blinked away as he heads on out. Back to the grind! Or at least, to chomp on fries outside rather than in.

If the desiderata was to be as verbose as possible, Jethaniel might have gone with, 'Senior Weyrling Ka'el, rider of bronze Kanekith of Pulsar Wing'. There is, however, a certain merit to conciseness, and so the title Ka'el grants him appears to suffice. Or perhaps he's simply distracted by Darsce's drawing? He certainly gives it some attention. The presence of symbols and dotted lines implies a system under which the diagram is constructed. That much is clear to Jethaniel. The details of that system are, however, uncertain. He blinks, lifting his gaze from Darsce's work to her once again. "I can." He smiles, then glances past at the motion from Ka'el. He lifts one hand, a gesture to Darsce of the 'just one moment' variety, and raises his voice to reach the departing weyrling. "I do still require that report."

Darsce has heard nothing about why Ka'el's been away. His comments - presumably to his dragon - are taken in stride. She's grown up hearing the sort of out-loud commentary. Even if she were curious, she wouldn't ask. Not after the other night. Instead, as he pushes away, leaving. Darsce might guess why, but she says nothing. "Goodie!" she says to Jethaniel with soft little clapping of manicured hands, then one flutters a wave to the bartender. She's assuming Jethaniel will want to order something since she's got something, of which she takes a sip of while her iceblue eyes flick to the departing Ka'el. Tempted to… nope! She's being good. Don't do it Darsce! Don't…! "Chicken!" she taunts with a silky tease, just shy of derision. Welp, so much for resolutions.

It's too bad Ka'el can't pretend Jethaniel's words are meant for someone else, considering the lack of anyone else here. Report? There's a roll of his eyes as his steps slow though don't actually stop, and he then turns to glance over his shoulder. "You didn't get them? They were sent. I'll write them again, I suppose. Deliver them myself this time." And by 'again' he means 'for the first time because did you really expect me to remember to do that and I'm graduating in like a week and your report has fallen to the wayside of forgotten things in my incredibly busy and overstuffed brilliant mind'. Still walking. Away. With his fries in his hand. "Thank you, Steward." 'For reminding him' is implied, and he turns again to continue to lea- Chicken! He pauses then, a corner of his mouth ticking down towards the beginnings of a frown that isn't lasting and is gone by the time he turns. Eyes settle upon Darsce. Lots of things to say, none of which likely are very nice. But what he does settle with is simple. "Grow up."

"They are not urgent," Jethaniel replies to Ka'el, his tone even. Nor important, by any reasonable assessment, and yet evidently enough so that Jethaniel thinks the reminder worthwhile. Even if he will, perhaps, wait until after that graduation to actually receive them… or after another reminder or three. For the moment, he leaves that matter behind, instead turning his attention to other actions appropriate to the venue, such as ordering a drink. If Jethaniel is on break - as, it seems, he has placed himself - then it is entirely reasonable for him to do so. Therefore, when the bartender arrives, Jethaniel turns his attention that way to translate between chemical properties and beverage names. Does the mechanical process of muddling the leaves really have that much impact on the flavor? It's arguable. He's distracted by it, and thus when he returns his attention to the exchange between Darsce and Ka'el, it takes a moment for his thoughts to catch up. "Ah…" His expression is an uncertain one.

One of Darsce's shapely brows lifts. Oh really? She nearly laughs. Instead she drawls, with the sweet syrup of sarcasm flavoring the words, "Well aren't you just the pot calling the kettle black today?" She could likely say plenty of not-nice things as well, but she doesn't. Instead she gives him a too-bright smile and shrugs, "Now that you're a bronzerider you can afford to throw away your friends." Fine, she doesn't care either, waves him away with a haughty flick of fingers. Go, you're dismissed, chicken! She turns her back, rotating her stool so it faces the bar once more, her posture one of complete disregard as to whether he stays or goes, but her face is another matter. She's forgotten there's a mirror back there, for her lashes have dropped, eyes on her drink while a single tear rolls down one cheek. "I'm sorry, Jeth," she murmurs. Some break, eh?

Ka'el blinks once, head rearing back a fraction of an inch. "Me? Ha! I've grown up, Darsce." In…ways, and in other ways not so much. But! That's definitely not his point. Moving on! "One've a many differences between you and me is I'm not the same kid you met on a beach four turns ago. I'm not the one stealin' knots and playing pretend at things I've no business playing at." Wait, there was supposed to be an apology! Not…this. Within him, there's a nudge. A presence that curls around his subconscious (and conscious) mind protectively. Something is not right, and Kanekith is here to right it. Ka'el bites back words laced with the venom of a short temper, icy eyes set upon the blonde, shifting briefly to Jethaniel before returning to her solely. "I don't know when you thought we became friends." She turns, so does he, gripping that poor basket of fries a little tighter than is necessary as he reclaims his stride out.

"Perhaps," Jethaniel begins, though his words lack the confidence that they might have in a technical or administrative situation, "It would be wise to…" Ah, but wisdom does not seem to be a compelling influence on either side of this discussion. As Darsce turns away, he reaches out, covering her hand with his own in a protective gesture as his eyes lift to Ka'el. He frowns at the weyrling bronzerider's claims (and accusations), but his words are chosen as carefully as he can manage. "That matter is presently under discussion. Should the results concern you, I am certain you will be informed." His gaze remains on Ka'el until the weyrling has entirely departed, though his hand remains against Darsce's.

Darsce doesn't turn around, nor does her stiff-backed posture relax. If anything, her chin lifts a touch though her eyes remain on her drink. It's safe there. "I had my reasons." Which she does not bother sharing, since he doesn't seem to care. She will set him straight on one thing: "It wasn't play. And it wasn't pretend either!" She'll shrug at his comment about friends, not debating him. What's the point? She'll even agree with him, her eyes lifting to meet his in that mirror, wide and hurt, "Yes, you've grown and changed. You've grown mean. You used to be a nice kid. I liked you." Past tense. An invisible shutter seals that emotion away and she turns her head away from both the mirror and Ka'el. She has nothing further to say to him. Ever. Under Jethaniel's hand hers is ice-cold, glossed lips held in check not to tremble by firm control.

Ka'el doesn't have to have the last word in this, nor does he seek it. Or want it, for that matter. In fact, all he wants is to get out of here and continue living his life as it has been: with minimal Darsce interaction. It's been miraculous how few times their paths have crossed these past few turns, and he can only hope that trend continues, especially if crossed paths continue to be train wrecks such as this. What happened to those carefree summer days on the beach together when all he had to worry about was not drooling too hard in her presence? They do say time changes people. Mean. Is that what he has become? … The door swings shut with a laugh. Mean? Oh, Darsce. Outdoors, he gives a dismissive mock salute as he moves through the clearing. "Yes sir, Steward sir." As some sort of answer was likely expected, even if it goes unseen. A fried tuber is popped in his mouth, and the day rolls on.

Jethaniel's frown remains in place as he watches Ka'el depart. His hand remains in place as well. Once more his expression is considering, though the reasons have somewhat changed from the ones that made it so when he arrived. The door swings shut behind Ka'el, and does not appear to encounter any part of him in the process. Jethaniel turns his head slowly, and consideration yields to concern as his gaze settles on Darsce. A different sort of frown, and he tilts his head to lower his gaze from her. It's at this moment that the drink arrives; muddled mint and sweet liqueur and mostly bubbly water. The bartender slides it into place by Jethaniel, who simply nods his head and does not otherwise acknowledge it.

Darsce just sits there as the door slams. She won't, can't watch Ka’el leave and she has nothing to say to smooth the awkwardness away for Jethaniel either. The fingers of her other hand are white from gripping the stem of her glass, the frozen concoction forgotten until it snaps, the glass imbedding itself into her skin. The rest of the drink is, of course, spilled on the counter as the cup goes awry and still she sits numbly staring at the blood that wells up, beading the counter when it falls. She's dry eyed until hot moisture spills and she says in a bitter whisper, "I hate what impressing dragons does to people." If there's an upside to dragonbonding, she has yet to see it.

It's not Darsce that should have the words. It's Jethaniel, but he has none. Perhaps what he's experiencing is akin to what Thea does when faced with technology; the feeling of being in over his head, confused despite a desire to act. As the glass shatters, he makes a soft noise, a wordless objection. It's almost an 'Ah', if that syllable was far closer to a sound of pain. His hand lifts from Darsce's, reaching for her other one. Broken glass in hands is at least something he can comprehend. He's seen it with shattered test tubes. He can act… in one small regard. "I … do not understand it." His words are very quiet, and his head stays lowered, gaze on her hand as he tries to fix what he can.

The 'tender is attuned to the sounds of shattering glass and though the snap probably made little noise, the remainder of the cup rolls right off the bartop and hits the floor, flying into a million pieces. That brings the man from the back, poking his head in with a sharp look 'round to see who's brawling. Just two patrons sitting quietly, one holding the hand of the other, has him relaxing though when he steps in, though the base of Darsce's glass sits there without its upper half has him eyeing the floor behind the bar. He approaches… Darsce is oblivious to him. She's oblivious, mostly, to her cut - but not the deft way Jethaniel is taking care of it. She's staring at him in dazed wonderment, lips part to say, "Jethaniel I-" The tender speaks, his voice halfway between requiring an explanation and wanting to serve her another drink for the one she's lost, "Miss?"

The blood continues to drip for a few moments, since Jethaniel's first priority is in removing glass from the cuts. At least… his first priority within the sub-situation of tending Darsce's physical injury. Once that's taken care of - fortunately, none of the glass shards appear to have been excessively small or forceful - the next step is to stop the bleeding, a task which… does not require much attention. Certainly not sufficient to justify keeping his eyes down there, so he slowly lifts his gaze to Darsce once again. "Yes?" he says to her. The bartender's word would provide an excuse to look away again, but for that, he doesn't. He does, however, move one hand to reach for a suitably-sized mark for his own drink and a broken glass, which he places on the bar between them without looking.

"I…" Darsce can't say it. She chokes, in some way so much like her father yet so different. Because she of all people, would be laughed out of Xanadu for claiming to even know what the word means. "I've never met anyone like you." It's a neutral enough statement that could be taken either way, except for one thing: the sophisticated veneer that usually guards her iceblue eyes has melted leaving in its wake simple adoration, making the words the highest of compliments. So instead of saying what she wants to say, she leans forward and - if he doesn't avoid it - touches her lips to his reverently. Bartender? Who? Where?

Now that he's lifted his gaze, Jethaniel finds himself incapable of looking away. His grey eyes are earnest, meeting iceblues… but then, they've never been icy to him. He sits, waiting for her words, and as they come, he nods slightly. An acknowledgment; an acceptance of what she says. She is, doubtless, correct. He watches her - he could watch her for hours - and yet none of his varied expertises aid him in understanding her intent before it happens. Avoid it? Never. Her lips touch his, and the moment of surprise is a scant one before his lips press back in soft but unquestionable answer.

The 'tender speaks the language of marks and this one says a loud and clear: get lost! And so he does, but not before sweeping the markpiece - and the base of the broken glass - into his hand. He may or may not speak the other language they're using but he damn well can understand it. There's a little grin on his lips, a thumbs up to Jethaniel given at the threshold of the back room door just before he steps out. He'll give them a few, at least until he hears the front door open. Someday, Darsce may tell Jethaniel just what that statement means to her. Right now though, she can't. She lingers, then draws away gently only to give him a totally shaken, distraught look. No words, so perhaps he'll note the disparity. Again contradicting both her confused mien and the kiss she'd just bestowed upon him, a humbly whispered, "Thank you." And then she rises, fingers brushing his cheek in a featherlight gesture before she bolts from the tavern.

Jethaniel is oblivious to the bartender, his focus drawn close on the subject of his attentions. He is intent on Darsce, and the kiss. It's clearly no expertise of his, though he's eager for her touch to linger as long as she wills it. When she draws back, his breath is slightly quickened, and he smiles to her - until he sees her expression. His eyes widen, and his hand draws away from her, newly hesitant… then stops. Jethaniel's gaze rises with Darsce, tracking her. He hears her words, and he doesn't understand, but he does tilt his head slightly toward her fingers in the brief moment before they're gone. His hand lifts again, reaching toward the space where Darsce once was, then lowers. She's gone. Jethaniel draws in a deep breath, closing his eyes for a single moment… then lets it out again, and rises to follow her out the door. He doesn't expect to find her, but he's still disappointed when he doesn't. He does, however, return to his office and his duties; Jethaniel's break is over.

Darsce hasn't gone far. She's fled to the archives where she's picked the lock to the service access door to go perch up by the tower where no one will stumble upon her while she thinks about the impetuous deed she'd done that has left her gutted by a formerly gentle-seeming, amicable and fun-loving boy. Even if she didn't know him well and wasn't close to him, he was nice… before. It's led to such grief and soul-searching and her only conclusion? He's right. She's a selfish, immature bitch and should just… go away. So she pens a note on purloined paper and pen taken from the archive table that reads:

Dear Jethaniel,

I love you.

I think I finally know what the word means. It means giving up what matters most for the other person. And I am not good for you, so I'm giving you up. I cause too much trouble. I don't mean to. Something just seems fun or right - and I do it before I think. Except with the Weyrlings. That wasn't fun. But they needed a break. Only Ka'el ruined it. He is mean. But he's right. I need to grow up. I just… don't think I can. So I'm going to go away before I cause you any more trouble. There's a smudge where the paper is warped and something re-written:

I'll never, ever forget you.


And then she'll slip back down to slide the note under his office door before going to her room to pack.

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