Booze Heist II: The Running

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow


A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of buildings, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.

Stables and a smithy are settled on their own plots, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a fence can be seen to the north.

It's a cold, snowy morning at Xanadu Weyr, and the meadow has a new dusting of white coating the already icy ground. One lone figure, huddled against the cold and wearing a too-large jacket likely dredged up from the depths of the storage cavern, is making her way back from the garden. It's a very bundled up Cenlia, looking cheerful, despite the nippy weather and reddened nose. The girl is followed by her flock of firelizards, their chirps carrying across the meadow as they swoop around Cen. Despite the oversized coat, which reaches well below her knees, the bright blue of a gather skirt is clearly visible. At least the girl has on sensible boots, as she trudges across the meadow, glancing around as if waiting for someone. She's heading for B'miel's weyr, although the asence of green Verzth seems to suggest that the party-going greenrider is not home.

X'hil is wearing his jacket today, though he still looks awfully cold. "Sharding /winter/. Cold and snow and /ugh/." he mutters, arms folded across his chest, hugging close for warmth. The chirping of firelizards is his first warning of the approaching gardener, and he looks up, and actually smiles briefly, before trudging over to intercept Cenlia. "Hey. What're you doing out in this dreadful weather?" he asks, as he approaches. "Catch your death of cold, if you're not careful."

Cenlia is eyeing B'miel's unoccupied weyr as she walks, mumbling to herself, "He couldn't have drunk /that/ much at Ierne last night," as she rubs ungloved hands together. X'hil's words have her blinking and turning to grin at the man when she spots him, waving a, "Hey," and then tilting her head at the empty weyr, "Waiting for B'miel to get his butt outta bed and back here like he promised," she mutters, and then grins at the bronzer, "There's a summer festival in South Boll, just in time for m' turnday." Which happens to be today. "B'miel said he'd help sneak me into the orchards so's we could snitchsome booze." Well, seems she didn't believe X'hil after all, about South Boll. That, or maybe B'miel is just easier to convince.

X'hil tilts his head curiously at Cenlia. "Hey. Didn't I say I'd take you?" Does he sound hurt? Maybe just a little. But he hasn't exactly been living up to his promises, has he? "Mm. A summer festival? Sounds /lovely/." Brr, so coooold. Kinseth lumbers out of the barn now, with his straps draped over his neck. Seems like he tried to bring them himself. /Someone's/ eager to get to warmer pastures. "Um." He glances to B'miel's dragonless weyr. "Looks like B'miel's not …home. And, Kinseth is here?" Is that an offer? "Got a free day today." He may be avoiding the office slightly, but odds are he actually does have the day off.

"You also said you'd teach me to swim," Cenlia mutters with a crooked grin. She's not the most observant berry in the bush, but she does bite her lip and glance back at B'miel's weyr a moment, before saying more honestly, "Yeah, but you might get in trouble…" There's a slight reluctance in her tone as she trails off. However, any reluctance vanishes the moment she spots Kinseth with the straps draped over his neck, the gardener girl quirking an eyebrow and waving a greeting to the bronze, "Hello, Sir Kinseth." She starts to grin more cheerfully at X'hil, "You ever tried SouthBoll bubblies? Really good, 'specially since the fruit's right off the trees this time of year." Mmm, summer fruit.

X'hil grimaces a little, and looks around at the snow. Yeah, the swimming thing is /so/ not happening at this time of year. "I… I did. And I /will/." he nods, firmly. There's a glance at Kinseth then, and the man snickers, then hastily suppresses it with a snort. "Alright, alright, /you/ want to get out of here too. It was the word 'summer', wasn't it?" he asks the bronze, really more amused than anything. Kinseth lumbers over, and comes to a stop beside X'hil. "South Boll bubblies? No, can't say that I have. Sounds like a plan!" Mmm, foood. "And hey, I didn't get in trouble the /last/ time, remember?" Well, he got himself a fancy knot and a hangover, but, beyond that.

Cenlia grins broadly at X'hil, "Yeah, though it's gonna be harder finding Evi's stash this time. But nobody'll be in the orchards, at least." Her grin widens, if possible, the gardener girl adding, "And can always sneak into the Gather. Sell all sorts of stuff. Should try the bubblies. Ten different are just from the orchards 'round Boll." Then she hesitates, her suggestion likely being booze-related. Instead she says, she smirks slightly, reminding the weyrsecond, "You got the senior weyrwoman /drunk/ the last time." Though Cen certainly doesn't seem too bothered by that. However, shedoes give X'hil an odd look, frowning for justamoment before shaking her head.

X'hil groans and shakes his head, busying himself with putting Kinseth's straps on properly. "Hey, you helped!" With getting the weyrwoman drunk. Arguably he would not have even /been/ there if not for Cenlia, though, actually, if he traces it back far enough, it becomes Thea's fault, for disappearing mid-lesson, and he has to abandon the train of thought for getting too far-fetched. "Mmhmm… Well, you'll find it, I'm sure." His tone is dry, but his expression is slightly more amused. "No-one's got quite a nose for booze, not like yours." Well, he's apparently willing to take part in the heist, that's something? Who knows, he might even have a drink. Wouldn't be his first in recent days. "Gather sounds good, too. Bubblies… Ten different kinds, you say?" he asks, looking up from the straps at last, and peering over at Cenlia. He's practically salivating at the thought.

Cenlia has to giggle, admitting nothing in regards to getting the weyrwoman drunk. She does try to give X'hil her best innocent look, but it falls short as she starts snickering, "Takes moren' a good nose t' find Evi's stash. Shards, was this one time, he hid it in the chicken coop, under some straw. Shards, thought I was gonna get pecked to death! Sharding hens." She makes quite the face, remembering that particular incident, the expression dissolving back into a grin as she practically beams, noddingto the bronzer, "Ten kinds, and that's just from local bakers." Despite the cold, she stops rubbing her hands together and counts off on her fingers, "There's peaches, an' redfruit, an' eight kinds of berries." As if on cue, the girl's stomach makes a very loud rumbling sound, causing one of her nearby flits to chirp and peer at her. Cenlia looks a bit sheepish. Seems someone was so excited to get to South Boll, she might have forgotten to have breakfast. Cen looks a bit sheepish, stuffing her hands in oversized coat pockets and hunching down as a cold breeze tugs at her skirts.

X'hil raises an eyebrow at the chicken coop story, then turns back to Kinseth's straps. He's not trying to hide a smirk, really! Not that he's one to talk, what with /ovines/. "Shards, he /really/ doesn't want you to find that booze, huh?" he says, in a tone that he thinks is more sympathetic than trying-not-to-snicker. Change the subject, quick! "Wow. Ten kinds." He tugs on the straps now, just testing to make sure everything's secure. "Shall we go?" His own stomach may be eager to get there as well, though not rumbling as such, not yet. There's a momentary pause, and he frowns up at Kinseth. The bronze is very striking in appearance, and if he was spotted the last time… but he shakes his head. Best not to dwell on it. "Need a hand up?" he offers, apparently ready to go.

"Cousin Evi's got more tuber ale than he knows what to do with. Knows I can out-drink him, too," is all the explanation Cenlia gives about the hidden booze. The girl nods to X'hil, stepping toward the dragon, but then pausing to eye those skirts with a frown. "Might need a hand up, yeah," she admits, gathering the skirts out of the way as best she can. "Shoulda worn pants underneath," she grumbles, but even with skirtly hinderance, she's a decent climber anyway. The girl follows the bronzer, giving the straps a speculative look.

X'hil is dressed for the weather and for riding, but then, he really only wears pants. There's no way he's /ever/ wearing a skirt or a dress, not again, not /sober/. "Looks nice though, on you I mean." That would almost be sweet if it wasn't so awkwardly delivered. "Ready?" he asks, kneeling by Kinseth's side, and lacing his hands together, palms upwards. "I'll give you a boost." he offers, nodding to his hands, indicating that she should step up. Once she can reach the straps, it'd be an easy matter of climbing the rest of the way. He does note, idly, "Who /can't/ you out-drink?" with a curious tilt of the head. It's an intriguing question.

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"Would look better without the coat an' boots," she mutters, apparently not noticing the awkwardness. Or perhaps she's too busy remembering a certain /other/ outfit, as she grins lopsidedly and says, "Shoulda seen the dress I wore to the dance," but there's a grimace that follows, perhaps rememebering the rest of the evening. Cen steps up, and manages to climb the rest of the way. She snorts and smirks, saying in answer to his last question, "My Uncle Cern. He can drunk a whole keg an' still run the wall with his hands tied." As she arranges the skirts, she adds, "Ain't found anybody here that could - yet. Weyrwoman Ysa maybe…" and she frowns slightly, chewing theinside of her lip and falling silent.

X'hil chuckles softly. "Shards, Izzy'd give you a run for your money, I reckon. Or I… never mind." he trails off, expression turning a little more serious for a moment, then shakes his head. "Doesn't matter." he mutters, as he climbs up onto Kinseth's neck, settling himself in front of Cenlia. "Summer up there, won't need the coat after between." He points out, helpfully. Won't need the boots either, if you don't mind going bare-foot. "You know, I don't think I've ever actually seen you in a proper gather dress." Well, hardly proper attire for /gardening/, is it?

There's a chuckle from Cenlia, the girl grinning easily and saying, "Should have a right proper drinkin' contest, I should. Me an' Izzy." At least /someone/ she knows at Xanadu isn't going sober! "Already got Satoris and Ro- er, well one of these days, will have one." At the 'never mind' there's a furrowed brow at the bronzer, the girl not voicing her doubts on /that/, wisely enough perhaps. She's learning. It also helps that the recent shock of waking up next to- well, she's not quite so eager to get everyone else boozed right now, anyway, /especially/ not X'hil. She's quiet for a while, though the girl does chuckle and say at that last part about seeing her in a proper gather dress, "Well, ya will. Woulda worn the sandals, too, if it weren't too sharding cold." And she shivers. Brrr.

X'hil pulls his jacket around a little tighter in a feeble attempt to block out the cold, and gives Kinseth the signal to rise. "Izzy'd like that, I think. She'd probably offer her own still as a supply!" he says, apparently a little more relaxed about alcohol now. "Going to get warmer in a minute, have to go through between." Ha ha, funny. "But seriously, we'll be out in summer before you know it!" he calls back, as Kinseth takes off. "Hold on tight now."

Cenlia holds on to the straps, the girl not even attempting to keep ahold of her skirts. No point, really, as she's sitting behind X'hil, though anyone in the meadow might get a fine, if brief, view of pink undies. "Sharding cold," Cenlia grumbles underher breath, hunching down and perhaps being more than a bit glad for that big coat she's wearing.

Southern Boll

X'hil shivers in the cold Xanadu air for a moment, before Kinseth disappears between. Beat. Beat. Beat. And then with a whoosh of warm air, almost startling after Xanadu and between, they're above Southern Boll. Kinseth circles idly, scouting out a place to land. He's not exactly come in the front way before. A landing field is spotted, and he glides in for a landing, X'hil swinging out of the straps almost before Kinseth touches the ground. "Summer in South Boll, isn't it wonderful?" he says, tugging his jacket off only moments after reaching the ground.

Cenlia almost prefers the cold of Xanadu, when the dragon goes *between*, the girl's knuckle's whitening where she grips the straps. But then they're suddenly over Southern Boll, and the girl lets out her breath, a trickle of laughter escaping as she peers down while Kinseth is circling. "Shards," Cen murmurs, "No wonder…" but the thought goes unfinished, likely swept off bythe wind when the dragon lands. Cen is slower to get down, andless graceful in those skirts. But as soon as her feet are onsolid ground, she's shrugging off that jacket and kicking off the boots. It isn't just a bright blue skirt she's wearing. It's just the bottom of the skirt that's blue. The top,at the hips, is a vivid red that fades into violet, and there's a white sash around her waist. She's got on a red halter top, and the difference between what she's wearing now and her usual loose gardener clothing is practically night and day. And girly-curves. Of course. Cen seems oblivious, though, grabbing her boots and peering around, taking a moment to breathe in the summer air as she says, "Think the orchard's that way."

X'hil blinks a little at Cenlia, momentarily stunned. "Looking good." In contrast, he's just wearing ordinary trousers, a faded shirt, and a beat up old jacket. He feels rather under-dressed now, actually. "Looking … good." Yep. It's when she mentions the orchard that he refocuses, and frowns. "Orchard first, or pies first?" Pies? Ten different kinds! He may be hoping that the gather is the first stop, but he seems to be willing to let Cenlia lead, she knows the area much better than he does, after all.

Cenlia blinks at the repeated 'looking good' comment, and checks her clothing, as if suspecting she got some embarrassing stain somewhere. But finding none, the girl just heads off into the trees, picking her way easily despite the skirts, and grinning as little avians flitter past overhead. Her four firelizards aren't as obvious, though they seem to have tagged along too, playing in the branches and occassonally snagging something crawly to eat. Cenlia seems to ponder as she goes, saying, "Should snatch the booze first, before heading to the Gather…" the girl chews her bottom lip, "Dun wanna run into anybody I know." Then she turns to grin at X'hil, "Gotta sneak into the Gather too." There's undoubtedly mischief in her eyes as Cen hurries on through the trees.

X'hil raises an eyebrow at the sneaking into the /gather/ bit, but shakes his head, and hurries after Cenlia. He doesn't really make any further comment on her clothes, though, as a weaver, he's probably got a bit of professional curiousity percolating back there. Not that he's actually practicing his craft at the moment, he's a weyrsecond now. But he might, some day. "Booze first, okay… Sure you won't get caught with the booze at the gather? I'm not bailing you out." He warns, though it's a total lie, he'd definitely bail her out. /If/ she got caught.

Cenlia does indeed know where she's going, having explored much of the area around Southern Boll as a child. This place is wooded, but is is hardly jungle, the trees far apart and fairly young. She lifts the skirts as she pads, barefooted, around roots and fallen branches. She's careful enough not to snag it on anything. Having a weaver fostering her sister certainly has its perks, though, as the dress likely would cost a pretty mark otherwise. Cenlia snorts about the booze, "So long as nobody I know catches sight of me, nobody'll know the booze was snatched. 'S not like Evi's supposed to have it anyways." Though the not bailing her out comment gets a frown from the girl, Cen either taking it seriously, or perhaps just annoyed that he's implying she might /need/ bailing out. Though who knows with Cen, lately. Them frowny faces, disappearing almost as soon as they appear. As the trees thin out, it the footing becomes more even, and patches of moss carpet the spaces between the trees. Finally, a wall of enormous apple trees comes into view, along with a meadow, that perhaps might be familier. And beyond that, Sunny Orchard, with peach trees full of fruit. Cenlia stops and grins, saying, "Shards, I miss this place." She points over on the direction of the shed from the previous booze heist, saying, "Dunno if we should bother checking there…" but after a moment she seems to decide, heading into the apple trees, going more cautiously and peering around.

X'hil snorts, and seems to be picking his way a little more carefully than Cenlia. Unfamiliar ground and all that. Though the view does become a little more familiar as they progress. "Probably wouldn't be in the same place twice… Or maybe that's what Evi /wants/ you to think?" he suggests, frowning a little at Cenlia's own frowny face. "I hope you know what you're doing…" He's really not as doubtful as he sounds, /really/. They got out fine last time, after all. Every now and then he glances back towards the clearing Kinseth landed in, but he's actually not /that/ anxious to go home. It's actually almost fun, sneaking around. Not that he'd /admit/ as such. "You know, it'd be easy to visit, if you wanted. Kinseth'd be glad to, and there's a whole wing of transport riders."

Cenlia hmms, stopping to lean against one of the enormous apple trees and survey the orchard, "Probably right. Wouldn't be in the same place, 'specially after we snatched it the last time." After a moment of thought, she's heading through the wall of apple trees and into the peach orchard, saying, "Bet it's by the chicken coop." Chickens. Oh. Yay. Cen's expression certainly doesn't look as enthusiastic, especially at X'hil's doubt. But she shrugs, muttering, "What's the worst could happen? I get shipped off to Fort, marry some apple-picker, Eled gets the booze." Sarcasm? Tucking the hem of the skirt into her sash, so that doesn't hangdown below the knees, Cenlia crouches a bit as she ducks under low branches andmoves through the orchard. Far in the distance, the music ofthe Gather actually carries, though it's likely too garbled at this range to make out the specific song. Even so, Cen tilts her head to listen as she goes. The orchard /seems/ empty, but Cenlia is being careful nonetheless. She doesn't answer immediately about visiting. Now it's Cenlia's turn to snort, "Yeah, I know," at the mention oftransport riders, but she makes a face, "Ain't the reason I don't visit." Of course, she doesn't give the reason. That'd be too easy. As the orchard continues, there's almost an eerie quiet in the immediate vicinity, and even Cenlia's four flits linger backby the apple trees, seeming too lazy in the warm air to make too much noise.

X'hil snorts, just softly. The stillness of the orchard, and the fact that they're trying to be sneaky here and not get caught, have rendered him fairly quiet now, speaking only in hushed tones, if at all. "Chicken coop? Want me to get it for you?" he suggests, apparently not having any specific problem with chickens himself. Though he may /afterwards/. At the shipping off to Fort and married to some apple-picker, he snorts. "Wouldn't let that happen, if I had to come get you myself. You could hide away in my old barn, no-one'd find you." That's kind of sweet, in a way. He frowns a little at Cenlia then. Not the reason? Then, what is? "Is it because they want to pack you off to Fort?" he guesses, absently cursing his winter-approriate clothes. He took off the jacket, but he's still got the thick pants and heavy boots on, and it's rather warm now.

There's a small farm tucked away at the corner of the orchard, where the cliff wall of the Hold rises up toward the Hold proper. In ancient times, this land would have been flamed down to ashes, but with the end of Thread there's no need to 'flame the grasses' and as such, the green grass waves gently beyond the trees, forming an unkempt lawn that surrounds a set of small whitewashed buuldings, complete with white picket fence and a chicken coop. And roaming around are lots of fat little hens, clucking away as they scrounge in the dirt. Cenlia slows as the place comes within view. It's quaint, almost picturesque. Except, perhaps, for the impressive pile of kegs on the porch. Peering about, Cenlia seems reluctant to approach, her eyes on the chickens. At X'hil's offer, she almost grins, saying, "If you wanna check the coop, I can sneak 'round back and check the shed." She indicates the chicken coop, huddled up against the side of the main building, "There's a space under the floor, right inthe back corner." At the rest ofwhat he says, Cen actually turns to regard the bronzer with surprise, blinking and looking rather touched, "Thanks, X'hil." She means it, though Cen doesn't do mushy, and s turns away quickly to eye the chickens suspiciously. She does nod about the possibility that they might pack her off to Fort, but says nothing as she edges closer to the house, keeping her distance from the rather uninterested chickens.

X'hil nods slightly as Cenlia points out the coop, frowning at it idly. "Right, back corner… Under the floor." he nods, looking about warily. Don't want to be /caught/, after all. "You sure everyone'd be at the gather?" he asks of the gardener, a little uncertainly. It's fun on some level, the suspense and the sneaking and the promise of forbidden booze, but it's hot, and he's sweating now, and the thought just occurred to him that he has a lot more to lose now than he did the last time he was in this position. "Hey, I mean it, I won't let them ship you off anywhere you don't want to go." Or marry anyone she doesn't want to marry. But now is not the time for mushy, really. There's a mission at stake, a mission for /booze/.

Cen scoots around the side of the the house, glancing over her shoulder briefly with a, "Should be," before she ducks out of sight, the sound of chickens and the occasional buzzing thingy the only real noise. Cluck. Cluck cluck. Cluck… Yep, chickens alright. The henhouse itself is large, far larger than is likely needed for the dozen or so hens roaming around. One or two eye X'hil warily, but otherwise, they seem pretty docile.

X'hil sneaks into the chicken coop, still a little skeptical that everything will run smoothly, but it's too late to back out now. Plus, he can almost taste the booze. Mmm, forbidden! If it's not at Xanadu, he won't get caught? That's /his/ theory, anyway. "Niiice chickens. Caaalm chickens. Thaaat's the way." he's murmuring as he tiptoes through the coop, wincing when he steps on a creaky board near the rear corner, and taking a step backwards. This must be the place. He pauses a moment, waiting to hear if there are any non-chicken noises before proceeding.

There's nothing but silence out there. Silence, and the constant cluck, cluck, cluck noises from the hens. Talking to the animals seems to elicit no more of a response than anything else, the closest ones scooting away with an odd rolling waddle-walk. Cluckcluck cluck. THere are some eggs in the nests on the far wall ofthe coop, and one or two sleepy hens, which eye X'hil with all the intelligence of a walnut, but otherwise remain where they are. In the distance, there is a -clank- noise, metallic and muffled, followed by Cenlia swearing. Seems the girl's not being too cautious anymore. Still, there's quiet after a moment.

X'hil kneels very carefully, just short of the creaking board, and then starts to pry loose boards free, wincing at the quiet creaking, though he's making much less noise than Cenlia. There's a glint of something, and he picks up the pace, pulling out a bottle with a triumphant "Aha!" before clapping a hand over his mouth, and sitting perfectly still for a minute or two. Eventually, he seems to think it's safe again, and he tip-toes back to the doorway of the coop, peering around for Cenlia.

The farm is still rather quiet, although there is thesoft sound of scrabbling claws on the roof of the henhouse. As the bronzer exits, there is a chirp from above. Perched on the roof of the henhouse is a little brown firelizard. It's not Cenlia's brown, Trouble. Trouble is booze-colored. This firelizard is a dark, shadowy brown, like klah that's been steeped too long in the pot. But The little critter isn't looking at X'hil. It's looking at the corner of the building, where Cenlia is walking backwards, veeery slowly. As Cen reappears, there is a rather more harried-sounding clucking from the hends. Cen turns, walking carefully around the corner of the building and throwing the odd glance or two over her shoulder. She's being followed by a big round hen, which is making loud clucking noises. The girl speeds up. The chicken waddles faster. Cenlia tries to duck behind X'hil whenshe spots him, but too late, as the hen suddenly dashes forward, scurrying on little chickenlegs with a 'bok bokBOK!' and flapping wildly at Cenlia. Cenlia eeks and backpedals.

X'hil blinks a little at the chickens as they start making noises, and runs from the coop, checking just briefly that Cenlia is okay, and hoping that she'll follow, as he tears off back towards the trees, bottle firmly in hand. /Run/. Just run. Get /out/ of there. No second thoughts, no dawdling, just /run/. It helps a little that he's taken up jogging, though that's offset by his overly warm clothes. He doesn't notice the firelizard, having been unable to see it from inside the coop, and then having been too busy /running/ to notice much.

The overly-aggressive hen seems to elicit a response more often reserved for tunnelsnakes, Cenlia's eyes going wide as she actually /squeals/ and starts to run, the chicken hot on her heels. The commotion, however slight, gets the rest of the birds to squawking and flapping, and soon there are flying feathers as the ones inside the henhouse suddenly want out, and the ones outside just generally panic and run in circles, though Cen nearly tripping over them can't be helping. So much for being quiet. But at least Cenlia's running after X'hil - oh, and she's got a wrapped bundle in her arms. "Sharding /poultry/!" Cenlia swears, as the hen practically chases her halfway across the orchard, the girl squawking ever time the thing manages to land a peck on her legs. But eventually, the bird gives up, and since Cen's generally in shape anyway, andespecially with candidacy recently, she certainly has notrouble keeping up with X'hil. It's only when they reachthe apple trees does she start to slow, and only because her laughing - yes laughing - is getting in the way of breathing.

X'hil stops once they reach the cover of the trees, leaning against one and panting just a little, bottle still firmly in hand. "Hey. Heh. You okay?" he asks, now that they seem to have gotten away. He frowns a little at Cenlia. Laughing? Erm. Okay. "I, er, I found something." He holds up the bottle, peering idly at the bundle in Cenlia's arms. "Uh, shall we go to the, er, gather?" Or go home? Scaaary loud chicken things. Okay, more startling than scary, but anyway. He keeps glancing back in the direction of the house, as if expecting someone to come running out to see what the commotion was about. Someone is a little on edge, it seems.

"M' fine," Cenlia laughs, shaking her head and uttering a, "/Shards/," as she, too, catches her breath. "Shardin' /hate/ those things," she …chuckles? The girl is rubbing at scratched legs before untucking the hem of her skirt from the sash and letting down. Cen has only a few scratches, and the places she got pecked likely won't be any worse than some sore bruises. Cenlia makes a face anyway, muttering, "Sharding chickens." But the bottle in the bronzer's hand gets a grin from her, the girl holding up her own wrapped package and pulling back the cloth to reveal several peaches. "Spotted a few ripe ones," she explains, "Won't be missed." Was she actually climbing trees in that outfit? Possibly. Cenlia takes a moment to eye the peach trees in the orchard, saying, "Looks like a good crop this year." She looks up into the branches of the apple trees and grins, "Gonna get a right good crop," though the apples are still green in the branches. "These apple trees, they were planted one year after Lastfall, my Uncle says - been makin' fruit for that long," Cenlia muses as she re-wraps the peaches. Cen grins at X'hil, "Yeah, we better hurry before the bubblies sell out." The girl looks around and pads off through the trees, apparently unfazed by the previous encounter. Or perhaps she's just not that worried. She has a weyrsecond as backup, after all, right?

X'hil chuckles softly, basically still stuck in stealth mode, trying not to be too loud. But Cenlia's laughter is contagious, and he is highly relieved to have gotten out of there safely. "Mm, nice. Good haul. Taking them back to Xanadu?" He doesn't ask what purpose they'll be put to, but he is curious. "Oh!" The bubblies! The ten kinds of bubblies! His stomach starts rumbling now, and he looks a little sheepish, then tucks the bottle under his arm and follows after Cenlia, undoing just the top button of his shirt absently. Summer, yay. For the moment, he doesn't even notice that he doesn't have his precious jacket. But then, it could be anywhere. Could be that he put it down back in the coop, or it could just be tucked away neatly into some compartment of Kinseth's straps.

Cenlia giggles at X'hil's growling stomach, her own adding its own rumbles. The girl eyes the peaches, probably considering chomping one, but then nods to X'hil, "Yeah, can do some interesting things with these." The gather isn't far from the orchard, but close enough to to be in view of the main hold. It's just a small orchard gather, by hold standards. Even so, there are easily a few hundred people wandering about. Booths have been set up around the edge of a wide grassy area, with a makeshift stage in the middle, and a number of smaller dance areas around it. Currently, a group of harpers are playing a cheerful dancing tune. Several booths have bubbles, and it's to these Cenlia heads, looking around cautiously before she moves out of from the cover of the trees.

X'hil is quick to pull his marks pouch out, and he has it in his hand long before they reach the bubbly pie booths. He does seem a little self-conscious about carrying the bottle so openly, but it really can't be helped. "Mm, so, which pie first?" Does he really intend to try all ten varieties? /Really/? He makes a beeline for the closest stall though, figuring near enough is good enough. He glances idly to the bundled up peaches, with a curious frown. "Interesting things?"

Cenlia grins at X'hil, mischief evident in her face as she nods again about the peaches, "You'll see." The bubblies on display are many and varied, ranging from a variety of local orchard-fruit pies and berry-pies to more exotic types. Cen immediately points out the ones containing peaches, and looks around before spotting bubblies filled with a mixture of berries, "Those're good," the girl says, grinning and then looking absolutely gleeful over some fruit-filled sweetrolls, "These're /really/ good." Yep, Cenlia has a sweet tooth, but at least its picky, the girl warning X'hil, "Those kinds'll make ya sick, got more crust than filling." The girl may not be a cook, but she sure knows her pastries. Or at least, these pastries. No one really seems to be giving that bottle of booze a second look, though X'hil's knot might be getting a few curious stares. After all, what would the weyrsecond of /Xanadu/ be doing in Southern Boll. Cenlia, on the other hand, blends in fairly well, the style of her clothing similar to what most of the women are wearing here.

X'hil really had no idea he would be attending a summer gather when he got dressed this wintry morning, so, it's not just the knot rendering him a little out of place. The second button of his shirt is tugged loose then, and he frowns at the odd looks he's getting. "Um, Cenlia, is everyone usually so … suspicious?" Paranoid much? He does take her pastry recommendations to heart apparently, passing over a very fine bubbly in order to try one of the fruit-filled sweetrolls, buying two with his ample marks, and offering the other to Cenlia. "Mmm. Lots of good sweet things, by the looks of things." Savoury has a place too, he actually prefers savoury foods usually, but gathers are a place for sweets, apparently.

"Could get a some bubblies wrapped up in parchment," Cenlia suggests even as she accepts the pastry he offers her, the girl perhaps having noticed the curious stares, "Could take 'em back to Xanadu." Because no matter how ambitious they may be, there's just too much food to try. That, and Cenlia keeps glancing around with some slightly paranoid eyedarting of her own. But she seems more worried about being recognized than anything, the gardener girl muttering, "Hope nobody I know sees me." But she accepts the pastry, raising an eyebrow and looking around again. "Dunno, ya prolly look suspicious or something," but she's joking, giving the bronzer a grin, "Betcha after everybody gets drunk enough, we'll all be singin' tavern songs." But the good cheer falters as she spots someone inthe crowd, the girl promptly ducking bahind X'hil with what might have been an eep.

X'hil frowns a little, and glances around at the crowd. "Miiight be an idea. Get some pies to go." he muses, turning back to the booth just as Cenlia apparently spots someone familiar, and ducks behind him. "Um. So. Pies to go?" he suggests, with a frown, and a glance around. /He/ doesn't recognise anyone, but he doesn't know anyone here. "Anything, er, else?" he asks, raising a hand as if pondering undoing the /third/ button on his shirt, but ultimately deciding not to. If he keeps going like that, eventually he won't be /wearing/ a shirt. Why is it so /warm/ here?

Cenlia nods at X'hil, mumbling a, "Sounds good," while she casually attempts to hide behind the bronzer while trying not to look like she's hiding behind the bronzer. Yeah, not so successful there. However, it's a voice from the /opposite/ side that calls out a surprised, and rather curious, "Cenlia?" The man whose approaching can't be much older than X'hil, really, but he's wearing the knot of a vinter and has similar facial features to Cenlia. Cen's eyes go wide, and the girl bolts in the direction of Kinseth. Without a word.

X'hil sighs mournfully, and glances to the pastry stalls, then follows Cenlia's lead. He's not sure who this person is, but it's obvious Cenlia recognised him and thought it best to bolt, so he does the same, clutching the still disappointingly full marks pouch in one hand, and the bottle in the other. "Oy, wait for me!" he calls after Cenlia, completely ignoring this new vintner person, and just /running/ after the gardener.

It's a very confused cousin that's left standing there, scratching his head, and possibly eyeing the fleeing X'hil questioningly. It's bad enough the Cen took off, but as the bronzer flees too, the poor vinter can only look baffled. Cenlia doesn't stop running until she reaches the clearing they arrived at this morning, the girl finally slowing and panting, and glancing over her shoulder worriedly.

X'hil is looking just about as baffled, panting. "Uh, huh, who was that?" he asks, once he finally catches up to Cenlia, leaning against the waiting Kinseth as he regains his breath. "Another brother?" he guesses. Then there's a pause, and a frown at the bottle in his hand. "/Evi/?" is his second guess, asked with a concerned frown, and a glance back in that direction. The vintner doesn't seem to have followed, but X'hil moves around to hide on the far side of Kinseth anyway, just in case.

"Shardit all," Cenlia groans, sinking back against a tree, "Knew going to the gather was a bad idea." She eyes the pastry she's still holding though, and doesn't look like she means it. At X'hil's question, she's shaking her head, "Cousin," and then another shake of the head, "Not Evi," though there's another groan, as if she wishes it had been. At least cousin Evi wouldn't be likely to tell her uncle she'd been spotted. Cen follows X'hil in hiding behind the dragon. Yep. Luckily, there's nobody following, though Cen's four firelizards do eventually pop out of *between* after a moment, likely having been napping in the sun somewhere. They chitter at Cenlia, Charmer and Rogue landing on her shoulders, the latter promptly attempting to steal the pastry. Cenlia eats it before he can.

X'hil grimaces, and nods up at Kinseth. "Shall we go, then? Get out of here, before someone comes running?" It's going to be interesting when they figure out just what knot was on that bronzerider's shoulder… He /really/ doesn't want to be here when that happens. "Some turnday, eh?" he murmurs, sort of apologetically, though he's done nothing to apologise /for/. He even snagged the booze, which he still has, by the way.

Cenlia nods in agreement with X'hil, saying, "Got the best getaway dragon on Pern," and grins at Kinseth. Cen certainly believes it, anyway. She laughs when he mentions her turnday, "Whaddya wanna bet B'miel's back at Xanadu with brandycake?" And she grins at the bronzer, adding, "Shards, haven't had this much fun since since before I got searched!" The girl grimaces slightly, adding, "Though maybe gettin' drunk ain't such a good idea." She's eyeing the booze, though her mindmight be elsewhere. Wait, did Cenlia just say getting drunk was a /bad/ idea? Can;t be because a certain big bronze somebody is right there, can it? Though it's probably a safe bet the recent incidents in the tavern have given her some caution - at least temporarily. With another look toward the trees, Cen says, "Let's go before someody tells m' Uncle."

X'hil chuckles just a little, and nods to Kinseth. "Need a hand up?" he offers. Getaway dragon at the ready. "Was a bit fun, wasn't it?" he says, with a feeble attempt at a straight face, which soon crumbles into a flat out grin. "And the /running/." Whoo! Though Cenlia declining booze is a sobering moment, and he frowns. "You're not just saying that because I d— because of me, are you?" There's a pause. An almost /guilty/ pause. "Because… I /can/ drink. In, er, moderation." Aw, but where's the fun in that?

Cen nods at the hand up, tucking the hem of her skirt in the sash, and putting on her boots and jacket again. The mention of running has her grinning too,the girl muttering, "Y' sure are good at /that/," but she doesn't look at him when he mentions drinking. Well, she can honestly say it wasn't /him/ anyway, the girl shaking her head, and then chewing her lip absently. But at the mention that he /can/ drink, Cenlia looks almost worried, instead saying quickly, "Last time I was drinkin' with a bronzer, he ended up in the same bed the next mornin'." But there's just a sliiight smirk there. After all, the last bronzer was pretty cute, even if he was rather older than appropriate. The weyr's corrupting the girl, alright. She doesn't mention that nothing /happened/, instead shaking her head and saying, "Last thing I need is-" and then she just shakes her head some more, "C'mon, let's get back to Xanadu." Because it's likely she hadn't meant toblurt out the part about the bed. Though Cen being evasive simply falls flat on its face, the girl ending up looking embarrassed and guilty at the same time.

X'hil blinks. And then blinks again. "You… /what/? Who? When?" Uh oh. "Last thing you need is /what/?" he asks, nay, /demands/ to know. He makes no move to help her up, apparently he's /very/ curious, and would rather be caught than not hear the rest of it. Kinseth rumbles, and levels a /look/ at X'hil, and the man relents just slightly, Kinseth's logical mind getting through to him at least. He holds out a hand to Cenlia, to help her up onto Kinseth's back, albeit reluctantly. "We'll talk about /this/ later." he threatens, voice actually stern. Aw. He's just concerned, is all. And doubly so now that he's seen Cenlia all dressed up, it's like he didn't have as much to worry about when she was in her garden, working. But drinking and wearing pretty dresses? That's different. Also, waking up next to a bronzerider is a worry on its own — /he's/ a bronzerider, he knows how they act, how they think, though he tries to buck the trends himself.

If anything, Cenlia looks even /more/ embarrassed and guilty, steadfastly /not/ looking at X'hil while her face does a decent impression of a redfruit. There might ba a gibbered attempt to answer some of the questioning - though it might just be a stifled groan. His threat to talk about it later actually has her eyeing the nearby woodland, as if debating whether running off might be preferable, though she accepts the hand up wordlessly. It would sure help if she rememebered more than just the boozing, too, but oh well. The fact that she actually looks guilty at the sternness in his voice can't be helping much.

X'hil almost looks guilty at the sternness himself, but he helps Cenlia up, without a word, then climbs up himself, still /very/ silent. Kinseth rumbles, clearly not pleased with /this/ turn of events, but he takes off as soon as they're both aboard and buckled in. It takes X'hil a moment to clear his mind enough to give Kinseth an image of Xanadu Weyr, so the bronze just circles above the orchard a few times while he waits. And then, without warning, the bronze slips between, appearing above Xanadu shortly afterwards.

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow


A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of buildings, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.

Stables and a smithy are settled on their own plots, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a fence can be seen to the north.

Cenlia doesn't say another word, clamping her mouth shut and probably kicking herself mentally for ruining a perfectly good booze run. It doesn't help that she doesn;t have the booze, either. Kinseth's rumbling has Cen looking nervous now, too, the girl likely wondering if the /dragon/ could possibly be mad at her somehow. The nervous lookonher face gets worse as the dragon circles instead of going *between* immediately, Cenlia alternately eyeing the ground and X'hil with an equally worried frown. But just as she opens her mouth, they're off to Xanadu, and once out of *between* Cen groans and mutters, "Sharding /cold/."

"Between, or Xanadu?" X'hil asks. Both are pretty cold. Especially without a jacket. Wait, what? "Oh, /shards/. Left my sharding jacket, um, somewhere in South Boll." And it has his knot on it, Xanadu Weyr weyrsecond. That's a pretty specific knot, there's only one of those. "Because I was /distracted/." Not that he's blaming anyone or anything. But now is a /terrible/ time to go back, they're probably looking out for a certain bronzerider and gardener now, so he just swings off of Kinseth's neck. He actually doesn't look that angry, more kind of upset. The bottle is handed straight to Cenlia as soon as possible, and the man frowns at his nearby barn. Might be another jacket in there? Not the /same/, but warm, at least?

Cenlia doesn't answer about the cold, just hunching her shoulders and frowning. She does blink and look puzzled, and then looks more than a little worried, "Where'd ya leave it?" In the orchard would be bad enough, really. When her feet are on solid ground again, she sort of stands there, though she looks surprised when he hands her the booze. Um, yay? Well, it couod be worse. She eyes the booze a moment before she makes a face, almost a scowl, and uncorks it right there and takes a swig. So much for not drinking. "I need a drink," she mutters, hesitates a moment, takes another swig.

X'hil frowns, and tries to retrace his steps in his mind. "Um. I had it between, took it off after dismounting, um," he looks at Kinseth, then frowns. "Took it with me through the orchard… Didn't have it at the gather, I don't think… The… coop?" With the chickens? "Or maybe I dropped it at some point when we were running…" There was an awful lot of running. Exhilarating at the time, but a concern now. His jacket could be /anywhere/.

Cenlia seems a lot happier with two shots' worth of tuber ale inside of her, though the second swig has her coughing a little and gasping out a, "Shards." Clearing her throat some more, the girl eyes the bottle and grumbles, "Think Evi might be losin' his skill with the stuff." Her feet are already turning toward the tavern, and if she's lucky, she miiight just be able to escape unnoticed. Or at least she that seems to be what she's trying to do. But as she listens to X'hils explanation of where the jacket could be, Cen groans and takes a third sig of the booze, muttering, "Well, if it's got yer knot on it, you'll probably get is back." She is silent a moment, possibly considering that this might not be a /good/ thing.

X'hil just pales, and reaches for the bottle himself. If Cenlia gives it up, he'll take a swig. He really … needs a drink. "Sharding shard-blasted /shards/." he rants, apparently one of his favourite curses. "I'm a sharding /dead/ man." If it gets back that it was his jacket, and his bronze was seen the /first/ time, and he was spotted with Cenlia /today/… It can only end badly. Without another word, he turns, and stalks off to his barn - still holding the bottle, if he managed to grab it in the first place.

Cenlia just blinks at X'hil as he grabs the bottle back, though she doesn't stop him. She hunches her shoulders some more against the cold, perhaps looking a tad guilty, with a nervous glance at Kinseth as X'hil stalks off to his weyr. With the booze bottle. "Um," Cen opens her mouth to protest the 'dead man' bit, saying, "But we didn't /do/ nothin'! Not really…" She pauses, adding lamely, "Nothin' wrong at least." It isn't as if Evi's going to murder anyone over one bottle of homebrew, after all. Cen has her own reasons for not wanting to go back, though clearly she can't see why X'hil is so upset, it's just a jacket after all, right? Cenlia bites her lip. It's one thing to get herself in trouble, quite another to get /X'hil/ in trouble. Guiiillt.

X'hil hesitates at the door to his barn, and takes another swig, before glancing back at Cenlia. "It's, it's probably nothing, you're right…" If word gets back to, say, his foster mother, that he's been sneaking out and stealing booze… Well, /then/ he'll be in for it. "Just… that jacket…" he hesitates. He's never told anyone this before. "…'s all I have of my father… don't even know who it belonged to, really…"

Cenlia furrows her brow, frowning at the snow. At what X'hil says about the jacket, well, now she /really/ looks guilty. Cen'd probably prefer him yelling at her, almost. She bites down on her bottom lip, and might be mumbling a, "'M sorry," before she's suddenly looking determined and darts off toward the craft complex with only a suddenly blurted, "Eledri!" She'll get that jacket back! Somehow!

X'hil winces as he catches Cenlia's guilty look, and looks just as guilty himself. "I-it was an old thing, needed replacing anyway… Ought to let go…" he mutters, taking another swig after Cenlia darts off, and turning back to his weyr, heading in, muttering to himself.

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