Planning to Sing

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. 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.

The spring evening is chilly, but inside the tavern the atmosphere is festive and warm. The setting of the sun marks the end of a workday for most, and those who seek a more adult crowd have headed to the taverns as opposed to the caverns to unwind. Food and drink are ordered and tossed back by an array of faces, some a little more flushed than others. The likelihood of the Wanderin' Wherry going out of business are pretty low considering the scene now! How could one not make a profit? But all that business, or rather liquor, has to come from somewhere…else there'd be no business! Cue the evening's delivery of wines and spirits from two Comet riders who've been busily gathering up stock from various Weyrs or Holds to bring home. There's a cheer that goes up when the door swings open and fresh barrels of ale are carted in, one pushed by Ka'el himself who flew with Comet today and opted to take the liquor route. And thus, here he is with quite a load of alcoholic beverages! Too bad they're only his until he carts them off to the bar! "Make way!"

This is - obviously - because it's important that booze is handled professionally. Ka'el is setting a good example! …and he actually is, because he's delivering it safe and sound and un-taste-tested. This is what a wingrider (or Weyrleader) should be doing. A Weyrwoman? Well, she should - among other things - be checking the mood of the Weyr and making sure people are enjoying themselves. Where better to test that than the tavern? This is a great place for enjoyment! …or tavern brawls, depending, but tonight seems an enjoying sort of night. There's even a harper set up in the corner to provide some live music, which… he'll be doing as soon as Soriana's done talking to him. "…many you think we'd need?" the Senior asks, and the harper makes an equivocating gesture. "Depends how big a space… and how long, got to figure in breaks…" and then there's a loud stir of way being made, and Soriana looks up to peer through the crowd. Hmm? Oh, just delivery time. Back to the harper!

Kiena has arrived to the tavern too but not for the delivery. She's had her share of duties today and now freed of them, is seeking a familiar way to unwind. Slipping inside, she chafes her hands together to bring some warmth back to her fingers from the chilly evening and seeing all the activity about the bar, her curiosity will have her drawn in to see what all the fuss is about. A brow quirks up when she spots Ka'el among those helping and with a faintly crooked smile, she'll tip her fingers off in a half-wave, half salute. "Evenin'. Anything good this haul?" Of course, she probably has a copy of those reports somewhere but it never hurts to ask, right? Chuckling, she'll drift away, figuring the Weyrleader has things handled and unless she's called back, she goes to find a seat to plunk down into. Only, she finds Soriana instead! Another half-wave, half-salute and smile in greeting, but she holds her tongue to keep from interrupting the Harper but she will take a nearby seat. A very close one! Eavesdropping? Nah.

Very important deliveries are being delivered! What's a tavern without ale and wine and all sorts of spirits? If it wasn't for Ka'el and the Comet rider, well…..well, uh. Someone else would've made the delivery. But that isn't the point! The point is that their task has ended in a successful way with no lost merchandise. Ka'el catches sight of Kiena as she speaks to him, and he smirks as he slaps the palm of his hand against one of the crates. "From Monaco Bay and Half Moon," he reports before rolling forward again, and for a moment he's busy unloading the cart, replacing empty barrels with full ones, and storing the excess in a back room. Phew! Who said being Weyrleader was just a cushy job? For all his efforts though, he does get a cold mug of ale out of it, plus he's holding the neck of a bottle of wine! He searches through the crowd now, searching for the Weyrsecond and getting a double prize of spying Soriana too! Grinning, he makes his way towards them, brows lifting a little. "Is the Wanderin' Wherry up for a treat tonight? Will our Weyrwoman be singing for us?" he says in an announcement sort of volume. Yes everybody, look this way.

Someone is waving! Not only that, they're waving to Soriana. She peers through the distraction to see… oh, it's Kiena. The wave is returned (it's down to about a quarter of a salute) and then she goes back to the harper. "…right. So, size and space," she says. The harper corrects, "Time." Soriana half-frowns. "Right. Time and space." The harper nods. "So that means…" Soriana considers. She considers so very hard, only it's rather hard to consider when she's in a loud and crowded tavern. "…how about," Soriana says, "I come talk to you sometime?" The harper nods. Soriana starts to turn away, then pauses. Wait. If she puts it on her schedule, it will never get done. So she turns back to the harper. "Or you can…" be… interrupted by the Weyrleader. Soriana turns back again, this time to Ka'el. Her brows arch. Really? Reaaally? But, while she may be dubious, there are people looking this way. So trusting! The more fools, they. …and now that traitorous harper is starting to play a tune, just to make it seem all the more plausible.

Kiena tilts her head a bit to peer back towards the bar. Monaco Bay and Half Moon, huh? The Weyrsecond is intrigued and may sample a little of each there is to offer — later, that is. For now, she is settling herself comfortably (maybe too comfortably, from the way she slouches) in her chair and pretends to "not" listen in on what is discussed between Soriana and that Harper. That amused smirk of hers is clearly for another reason! Or not, as Ka'el's announcement has her actually grinning crookedly. "I'm not against a 'treat' or what-have-you! And what better than impromptu, hmm?" she muses.

Dubious? But why is Ka'el getting such a dubious look? He gives her an innocent one back, setting both the wine and his mug down on Kiena's nearby table. And look! There are people who are looking, waiting for a Weyrwoman tune! *cackle!* Maybe he should've kept hold of his mug! At least that way he'd have something to hide the smirk that threatens to curve his lips. He looks to Kiena and heartily nods in agreement. "See? We're all waiting on bated breath for a song! A solo performance! We all know your voice is one fit for a Harper, Weyrwoman. And listen!" He cups a hand to his ear and leans slightly in the direction of the (one and only) harper here as he plays music for her to sing to. Good job, man! He flashes him a grin before turning earnest eyes to Soriana. "You know this one, don't you? And if you don't, Kiena's got it right. Impromptu! What do they call it?.. Improv? Or is that only for the stage?" He waves a hand dismissively. "Doesn't matter. Grace us with your heavenly voice! We beg of you!" .. He is… going to be in so much trouble. Yup.

They're all against her, by which we mean expectantly waiting for her to sing. Soriana eyes the Weyrsecond. She eyes - no, glares at! - the Weyrleader. She eyes the harper. None of them are helping her! Not in the least. And people are looking at her. So… she takes a deep breath, and… she sings! The harper's at least been somewhat helpful, in that he's playing a song she knows. Okay, really, he's playing a song pretty much everyone knows, because it's one of those songs that get learned as kids because they're educational (but not one of the ones that are done by really little kids). Not one Skyler would be learning in the next couple of years. Not for another ten turns or so. He will! And Soriana has. And so when the harper comes around to the start of it… she starts to sing! She's definitely not a harper, but she does know the song, and she does have a decent voice. She practiced in the classroom and hanging around with Ka'el, and so her alto - if a bit rough - is at least on key.

Kiena just spreads her hands out in a helpless gesture when Soriana eyes her. What? This wasn't her doing! Granted, the Weyrsecond didn't try to dissuade Ka'el or dampen the mood and try to detract from the possibility of singing! She'll apologize later, maybe, if needed? She will, at least, be an attentive audience. "Improv, impromptu, on the fly… all the same! Go with the flow, live a little… Could go on and on, really." she drawls with a dry chuckle and then silences when that Harper begins to play. And Soriana sings! Kiena will quietly hum the tune, the melody familiar enough to her (and most in that tavern!) but she listens and with a broad, genuine smile.

She's singing? Hey, she's actually singing! Ka'el can't wholly hide the surprise from his face when Soriana does in fact begin to belt out the song. What was he expecting to happen? Oh, a bit of napkin throwing maybe. A declaration to the masses that their Weyrleader is a fraud who'll promise singing acts but not deliver them! He wasn't expecting .. compliance. Way to go peer pressure! Everyone gets a metaphorical high-five! Ka'el shoots a grin to Kiena as he reclaims his mug and hangs back to listen to the song. Some people chuckle in good-natured amusement. "Sure wunnit the type o' song I was expectin' to hear tonight!" guffaws an older man. Some, like Kiena are humming … because who /doesn't/ know this song? .. "This is a good one! C'mon everyone!" encourages Ka'el who has given Soriana a good solid minute of her solo career. But now, it's time for a Tavern singalong! He starts in too, waving a hand as if to collect more voices to join in. And yes, that means you Kiena! He's got his eyes on you.

Soriana might prefer an inattentive audience. The sort of audience where people are talking and nobody notices her singing. The sort where she wouldn't have to actually sing, because they wouldn't be staring expectantly. Maybe the sort that's drunken enough that she could get away with being unprofessional and throwing things at Ka'el. But no! There's people actually listening, the Weyrsecond among them. And the rest of them aren't being so loud as to drown things out, so… they all get to hear that their Weyrwoman is not and will never be a harper. That she's… well, she's been singing more lately, but only because Skyler likes hearing that. He's not exactly the most critical of audience, though. He still thinks 'Itty Bitty Spinner' is a deep and meaningful piece… on the twentieth rendition of the day. But Soriana can sing, she does sing, and as Ka'el starts encouraging the rest to join in and help her with the singing, the look she tosses him is a grateful one. Yes. She can carry a tune, but please - join in and drown her out! She makes some encouraging hand-gestures of her own, looking out to the audience. Go on. Sing! If she has to, so do you.

No way is there an "inattentive" audience when it's the Weyrwoman singing! With the Weyrleader announcing that she will. Kiena just smirks at Ka'el when he encourages everyone to sing along and if he insists? Well, she'll add her voice but not sing too loudly. She can sing too, but she's of Soriana's preference and not exactly keen on doing so in front of so many people! At least once the song ends, she won't do anything too embarrassing like cheer? The Weyrsecond keeps it to just an amused grin and dip of her head. See? Not so bad, right!

More voices join in because, why not? It's one of those spur of the moment fun things that people tend to partake in every once in a while, especially when it's a low-pressure sort of situation. And so the song continues with Soriana's voice gradually becoming merely one of many that sings the same words of an age-old tune. That harper may want to invite the Weyrleadership to all of his gigs if this is the kind of reaction they can conjure up! EVentually the song ends with some voices holding out that last note a weeeee bit longer than others. Laughter and applause! "Bravo, bravo!" cheers Ka'el, tossing Soriana a wink before bowing in her direction. "Our Weyrwoman and harper at heart, ladies and gentlemen!" said once he straightens, gesturing an arm her way. Grinning broadly, he lifts up that bottle of wine and lightly wiggles it in offer to her. Coooome to the wiiiine. "We all deserve a drink after such a performance. What are you drinking?" he asks of Kiena. "I'll buy you another."

Soriana's inclined to blame the Weyrleader for this one… and she will! Later. For now, she's singing, and soon… so are other people. Not everyone, of course. Some people don't like singing for an audience, and some of those haven't been prodded into it by the Weyrleader… but enough people are singing to - if not drown out Soriana - at least muffle her in the mix. Some of them are louder than others. Some of them are also drunker than others, which might be linked. And many of them are even on key! It's okay. Soriana's not a harper. She doesn't know to pick out the wrong ones! And the actual harper, well, if he objected to people being off tune, he should have avoided bar duty in the first place. So… he plays! They (Soriana included!) sing! And soon enough, it's over, and Soriana's grin is in no small part one of relief as she takes her performer's bow. "Thank you! And… the rest of the evening's entertainment will be from journeyman Lorian!" Aka Not Her. She indicates the harper as she announces him, and then… she flees, by which we mean gracefully steps aside to Ka'el and his wine. "Roses are traditional," she informs him, and immediately continues, "I'll take the wine."

"Why not roses and wine?" Kiena drawls with a low chuckle as she grins up at Soriana, reclined in a relaxed way in her chair. Ka'el is given that same grin and then a thoughtful look. Hmm, what to drink? "Hadn't started with a drink yet, but wouldn't mind an ale if you're offering. Though I'm perfectly capable of buying my first round…" So the Weyrsecond is planning to have at least two drinks then! She must not be returning to her weyr on the coastal road then. At least, that was her plan. Kiena's expression shifts, adopting the tell-tale sign of a rider conversing with their dragon. It's a brief one, but her brows knit at the end. Not good news? Who knows, as she's hiding behind a neutral-like smirk. "Looks like it'll have to be for another time. Sorry, you two. Good singing, though!" At least there was some fun this evening for her! Pushing to her feet, she'll nod her head in a brisk farewell. "Enjoy the rest of the evening you two. Maybe we'll catch up another evening." Another quick smile and then she's hurrying away before any questions may be voiced.

"Uh huh. Figured you'd want the wine," retorts Ka'el with a smug look to Soriana. "Flowers aren't the key to your heart." Unless they're made of metal. "Booze is." He grins wickedly and goes about uncorking the bottle. "I should pour you a double glass as the only song I was expecting to come out've your mouth was a song dedicated to me with plenty've words that shouldn't be said in such pleasant company." Yup. The pleasant company of drunks and merrymakers! They'd definitely take offense to foul language, wouldn't they? He pours a rosy colored wine into a glass for her, then sniffs at the opening of the bottle. "Smells sweet. Picked this up on my way back. The vinter couldn't stop raving about the special flavor and a high-class palate or .. something." He grins and turns to Kiena to pour her some as well, but…she's leaving! His brows slightly arch up in a 'everything okay?' sort of look, but the question never gets asked and it's unlikely it would've been answered anyway. He nods to her. "Another day," he agrees with a nod, watching her go. He looks back to Soriana now, setting the bottle on the table. "You should take your act on the road. Become a traveler. You'll have crowds cheering your name in every cothold you come across."

Soriana smirks. "Flowers are all well and good in fields." There's some around their weyr! She's even got a vase or three that occasionally hold things, but if Marel were dependent on her (and Ka'el buying them to give to her) then the boutique would go out of business. Fortunately, she's not. Also fortunately, Ka'el has wine to ply her with… if somewhat belatedly. Aren't bribes and drunkenness supposed to come before the public performance? "I'd singe your ears." …actually she's been swearing less, lately. Or at least… trying to. She really should break that habit before Skyler starts picking up words and repeating them, right? Fortunately he's still just on syllables, and 'fufufufu!' … well, they can pretend he's saying something is funny. Or… fuzzy! Or any of a number of other things that won't make the nannies in the nursery tsk about his home life. Not that he's here now, but… habits. Which is why she also looks briefly concerned when Kiena heads out, before assuring herself it's nothing Weyr-breaking and returning her attention to Ka'el and… the wine! The refined and delicate wine. "…looks pretty good," she says, swirling it about in the glass. It's… red, yep. Also sweet-smelling, and Soriana lifts it to take a sip. Hmmm… ha! The look of contemplation turns to a snort as she looks back to Ka'el. "Only if I learn to juggle. Or maybe train the tunnelcats to sing along."

"I've faith in Joy," says Ka'el contemplatively. "With a bit of practice and treats, I'd bet you could get her to walk backwards on her front paws while juggling with her back. Dusty on the other hand…good luck with that. He an' Nugget can put on a show all their own together. The 'Here Comes Unimaginable Trouble' roadshow. Come at your own risk." He snorts into his mug before taking another gulp of ale. Ale, then wine? It'll be a relaxing night for Ka'el when he goes home! He's already feeling rather good. A singalong can do that to a person! Running in to Soriana here has been an added bonus. His eyes drift to the harper as that thought comes to him, lifting a brow. "…Yeah. Whe are you here tonight? You haven't become a secret drunk in the evenings, have you?" he says, giving her a suspicious look. "Did the harper need you for something? You were speaking with him before you made your tavern debut."

Joy the juggling tunnelcat! Soriana considers on this, then smirks as Ka'el brings up the other tunnelcat. The one who… "Ha!" she says. "Like Nugget would travel." A pause - and sip of wine. "Well, unless there was food involved." So really… "They'd sneak around the hold while Joy and Toral-" who's apparently part of this show now "-were entertaining, and steal all the food." All of it! Gone into the endless belly of one fat firelizard with the help of a tunnelcat who's a master-class thief. It's a good thing those two are safe at home (…or at least, so she hopes…) or things around here would be getting messy. But, they're not, and the tavern's settling in to a normal sort of night. Which doesn't generally include the Weyrwoman… or does it? She laughs. "That's me, here day and night." Oh wait, no, that's the former Weyrwoman's weyrmate. Soriana… has another sip of wine, but then she answers, "I was asking about a dance." The glass is half-lifted again, then she glares at Ka'el preemptively. "Not the sort to be done on a bar." Just in case he was going to suggest something of the sort. "More of the… around bonfires sort." Summer is coming! They have to be ready.

"Uh-huh, you've got it. Nugget will travel far and wide if there's any sort of food involved. The sweeter the prize, the harder he'll work for it." He gives her a pointed look. "Must I remind you of the Great Jam Incident of 2701?" Oh, is that what they're calling it now? Apparently so! Ka'el can't help but smirk at this imagined traveling…circus of animal performers and thieves. "Sounds about right…" he says with a nod, and then, after another moment's thought, he laughs. "We have to have the most interesting weyr in all of Xanadu, I swear. We should charge residents admission just to come and sit for a candlemark." It'd be nothing but entertainment! No wonder Skyler likes the place so much. Talk of a dance has his brows raising, but he makes a dramatically loud sound of disappointment as she dashes his dreams before they can even blossom! "Not even brief ones on the tabletops?" he can't help but to say, grinning all the while. But, serious notes now. Bonfires! (They're totally serious things). "Planning an early summer bonfire?" he asks. "If you need any help, Alloy's a grand fire-starter. He prides himself in it, actually and does a good job getting things lit evenly." Because you see, lighting bonfires is an art form.

The Jam Incident. "…how could I forget," Soriana says with a long-suffering sigh (and a grin sneaking in after it). "At least they'd have that going for them." This motley crew of performing beasts. "Unforgettable!" …no matter how hard you try. Soriana shakes her head slowly. "How is it that they're all ours?" Why should four firelizards and two tunnelcats (and a baby) make for that much chaos? "There are other people with menageries!" Uh, well… maybe not. They may have firelizards, or even tunnelcats. Menageries? Those take a… special… sort of place. "If they pay us extra, I'll even let them clean." Let. Ha! She should be paying them, but maybe they'll be tricked into it if she calls it a special privilege. Soriana sips more of that wine, grinning now, and shakes her head. "Not even those." Not unless people get drunk enough, anyway. Which… they could also do around bonfires, and that she nods to. "Yeah, once we're not freezing anymore. People like a chance to party." Or stare into a fire, so they might as well make sure it's done in safety. "Maybe around when the weyrlings are learning to flame." She grins. "Alloy can demonstrate."

"I'd like you to name one other person with a menagerie," challenges Ka'el. "Go on, I dare you. One person, and that person can't be me, you cheater… I know how you work.." He gives her a squinty-eyed glare of distrust. He's on to you! His grin eventually beats out the look of suspicion though, and he brings his mug to his lips for another swallow. "I'm lucky I haven't been banned from the Caverns. They likely could do that, you know. With approval from the Headwoman and you. Starve me out because of what happened. You know he actually ate through a jar and a half in the stores before he got stuck in the third?" Blue eyes roll exaggeratedly. "I owe Cook one shell of an apology gift. Maybe imported jams from somewhere exotic? Do you think she'd take offense if I brought in food from somewhere else?" If there's one person he has to keep on his side, it's the person who feeds him! … Well, the person other than Soriana who feeds him! "You know I'm always up for organizing a party, and Alloy loves havin' a job to do." The firelizard of responsibility! "I'll help where I can." A pause, then a thought comes to mind that has his brows faintly lifting. "Marel had her baby. She told me she spoke to you about not wanting to take much time off and working from home for a time, but she may be changing her mind on that .. and she was worried about breaking her word to you. I told her not to worry of it."

Soriana's mouth opens. … Soriana's mouth closes. "There's surely some… uh…" Hurm. Someone, and yet she can't quite figure out who. Maybe Idrissa? But no, her beasts are kept in neat beastcrafter-ly ways. They're not a menagerie. A miniature farm, maybe. But… "Anyway, they're at least half well-behaved." She nods quite seriously about Ka'el's potential ban from the caverns, then laughs. "I'd think you don't feed that beast if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes!" Her head shakes. "His stomach goes directly to between." She has another sip of wine, then hmms at the thought of exotic foods. "I don't think she'd mind. Now, if you tried to give her recipes, she might object." Cook knows what she's doing! "But ingredients… so long as there's enough she can do it for the whole caverns instead of it looking like you're demanding something special, that ought to be okay." She hopes, but then, she's not the skilled one of the people who feed Ka'el. She just provides edible (mostly), not gourmet! And she certainly doesn't provide enough for large feasts at parties, though she nods to Ka'el about his willingness to plan one. Another sip of wine, and then her expression drifts more serious (though still smiling) as she listens. "They're doing well?" she asks, because that's the first thought she has. It's followed by a laugh. "It'd be sharding ungrateful of us to not give her all the time she needs." After all, Marel's mother… but Soriana doesn't say that part, even if it does tug wryly at her lips. "I want her back at work when she's ready, not before."

Ka'el stores away Soriana's advice for future use. The sooner the kitchens are back in his favor, the better! He depends on them for snacks during his days, and they're always so accommodating to bring them to the office! Such nice ladies…when they're not pissed off. He's not overly surprised that she's failed to name anyone who is in their same … animal predicament, and only gives her a smug look in reply to that. But when it comes to Marel, the smugness shifts away and he's left with just a genuine looking smile. "They are," he confirms. "And..shards, it's already hard to think of Skyler being so small. I hadn't really realized how big he's gotten over the months until I was holding her. I forgot how still he used to be." He's like a wiggle worm now! A crawlie, itching to crawl away..on the verge of getting up and walking away! "I told her the same. To come back when she's ready to come back. She's … getting along. Says she's asked the father to come every two sevens to see her. She isn't sure if he will but.." he gives a shoulder a light shrug. "..M'kal has left." A faint nose wrinkle at that. "In fact, M'kal's been absent a lot lately, not just in body. N'varre…" Another faint nose wrinkle. "He hasn't much patience left with his Wingsecond. I've wanted to give him time, what with all that's happened with Marel and all, but…I may have to speak to him soon." He drums his fingers against the side of his mug. "She doesn't have much of anyone left to turn to, you know? And now with her baby…I've tried to be there more for her."

Soriana nods to the report on Marel, with a smile that grows a bit at the mention of their son. "He's nearly a turn." Skyler, that is. Or at least, closer to it than not. Ten months of life and growth! Of learning to babble, and pick things up and throw them, to crawl and pull himself up on furniture. Soon he'll be… walking and talking and breaking hearts (okay, that one might take a few more turns). "I think we still have some of his first onesies." Tucked somewhere in a closet! "If she needs anything…" Marel, that is, but Soriana trails off on that one with a small frown. Physical object needing is one thing. "So she's… on her own." Soriana barely got sleep the first few sevens, and that was with Ka'el there to take his turn at changing diapers and patting backs. Not… a flight-father by once every two weeks and an ex weyrmate who's not even doing that. The frown grows a bit more. "Maybe we can have dinner with her. Bring her some," because Faranth knows she's not likely to be getting out of the house much. "Something that'll make good leftovers." Eating is important, and not having to think about what to eat… might mean a small chance for getting some sleep. A precious thing, with a newborn. "If M'kal's not being there for her, and he's not being there for the wing…" Soriana shakes her head. "Either one could be an excuse for the other." But he's doing neither, so what's his excuse?

Skyler is nearly a turn. ….. Wait. Skyler is nearly a turn?! For a second, Ka'el loses his focus of mind as that fact bursts in his brain. Has it been that long already? Yes, yes, he knows he just commented on how big their boy has gotten, and it's obvious that the kid has developed far beyond his newborn days. But… thirteen months? They're coming up on that milestone already? But!… But he just got here! (ten to eleven months ago), and as much time has passed, it almost seems like a blink. "Wow…" Ka'el marvels at the facts. One turn! They'll have been parents for one turn and Skyler has survived! He grins, momentarily disregarding thoughts of M'kal and what he'll likely have to do, and Marel and the predicament she's in. Those are negatives. Skyler is one big (small) bundle of positive! "We'll have a celebration, right?" he says in a sudden shift in topic. "For Ky? A party for his turnday? We can invite Marel, who can bring Nerri. She'll be a few months by then. And I think bringing food to her is a grand idea. I feel … sorry for her, you know?" he says carefully, frowning faintly at his mug before looking up at her again. "Not in a pitying sort of way, but just … sorry. Sorry for all that's happened in the past turn. Her mother. M'kal. She even says her own brother isn't quite interested in handling a newborn, an' I can only hope he's helpin' in other ways," he says with a brief nose wrinkle at that. "As for M'kal," he shakes his head, "there's always an excuse for something. But in his case, excuses don't cut it. He's made his choice with Marel, he won't have a choice with his position. Galaxy's going to need a new 'Second. I'll have N'varre keep an eye open."

That's why Skyler's so big in comparison to Nerri, all those months of growth. Which… are obvious, and yet… Soriana grins at Ka'el's astonishment. "Yup." He may not be here now, but he's a part of so much of their lives that they sometimes forget just how big he's grown. But it's there, and it's something… they should celebrate! Soriana laughs, nods. "Of course." Party time for babies! Which… is probably more of a party for the adults associated with babies, because the babies themselves won't recognize that this is a special day. "We should dig out those pictures we got, of right after he was born." Right after… hah. Nearly a month, but compared to thirteen of them, that's right after. "See just how big he's gotten." And show it off to everyone else! The grin fades a bit for the talk of Marel, though she nods promptly for the inviting of her and Nerri. "She's strong," she says, statement of fact instead of praise. "She'll fall over before she gives up." Soriana exhales slowly, and shakes her head. Galaxy. Right. "It's a good position for training someone. Though…" She half smiles. "Maybe N'varre would rather have someone he knows is reliable." After M'kal, who proved… not to be. "…I hope they get along." What, the wingleader and his new second? Soriana takes a sip of wine before she clarifies. "Ky and Nerri." Not that babies do much more than play side by side at the very most, but… "It'd be a help to Marel."

She hopes… who gets along? Yup, there's a little bit of confusion shown on Ka'el's face at the statement, thinking of the Wingleader and whoever his Second end up being. But then.. oh! Duh. The babies! Ka'el grins confidently, arching a brow at her as he lifts his mug. "Do you know our boy?" he says and an expectant look. "He has his father's charm. He could make friends with a wild feline. In fact, just the other day at the park, he was charming this nanny.. You should've seen him flirting with her. Grinnin' and laughing for no reason. Showin' off his almost-walk skills. A four turn old asked if she could hold him." Insert smug look here as he drinks his ale. "He's a popular kid. Everybody likes him, and he and Nerri will be good friends. They'll be about the same when they're older… In like…ways of ableness. Things they can do." Developmentally congruent, almost? And now, about that party! "Those were good pictures. We should get more pictures taken of him now and we could have them up. Maybe we could get with the Harpers.. Your friend there," a nod to the tavern entertainment for the evening, "could maybe perform with others for music. And .. games?" Games for one turn olds! Yeah sure! "There has to be games, eh? We could get that dunking thing that we had at graduation." Because Skyler surely will appreciate a dunk tank! "Do you think we could get fireworks from the stores?" ..Wait a second. What is he thinking? "Ha, of course we can get fireworks. You're the Senior and I'm Weyrleader. We could have as many fireworks as we want." Because it's totally appropriate to treat a first turnday like Turnover when you have the means to!

Soriana sharding well should know that kid of hers, she's spent enough time with him over the past months! And so she's easy enough to convince, the hopeful look turning into a laugh. "I suppose he is, at that. And yeah, their ages won't be much different after another turn or two." Kids of three turns can play just fine with those of five, and Skyler and Nerri will be closer than that. They can go through harper lessons together, play together, and… well, if the kids want to be together, that means that helping Marel watch her child is a matter of convenience for everyone, not pity for the one without a weyrmate to help. It'll all work out… somehow. Soriana nods about those pictures. "Maybe do that as a yearly thing. Just… because." Proof of their son! Not that everyone doesn't already know the kid, but hey. It's still good to have photographic evidence. Reminders that he really was that tiny once. "Definitely get some harpers. A full orchestra… or at least a fellow with a guitar." Skyler likes music! It's good for babbling along to, and occasionally he's even been known to sing actual notes. Soon he'll be a part of the road show of beasts! "…we can have them play kickball. Or… pushball." The point is, they can have balls and let the kids play with them! Which mostly means throwing them… but… "I don't think they've got good enough aim for the dunk tank." Soriana grins. "And we're not going to dunk the babies… though maybe a wading pool?" Summer fun times mean splashing around! And… fireworks? Soriana eyes Ka'el. "We could… but do you really want them to all start screaming because they got startled?" Loud noises… not so baby friendly. "But… maybe some of the sparkly ones. Just not the poppers." So festive! "…and cake." Because really, it's hardly a turnday at all without cake.

Okay, so it's a good thing that Soriana is around to rein in Ka'el's imagination a bit. Maybe he's forgetting that they're planning a part fora one turn old, not a ten turn old. Dunk tanks and fireworks would be amazingly appropriate! .. For ten turns. Not one. "Okay, yeah you're right.." he relents, rethinking the fireworks and dunking tank, replacing those things with wading pools and bouncy balls. "He'll like the music, and maybe an area with toys? You know, his favorite ones that he can share with his friends?" All of his baby friends from the nursery! They are, of course, invited. He glances into his mug, now empty of liquid, but that's perfectly fine. The wheels in his head are turning, contemplating this epic party! "We could have it on the beach, but then some've the kids might eat the sand." Like Skyler did at the sandbox at the park…which Ka'el's going to continue to keep to himself. "Maybe out in the meadow instead? We could set up tents for shade, have the pools out for the kids. We could ask the kitchens to make fingersnacks for the babies. Ky likes fruit. Maybe other kids do too. And other little things they can eat.. And food for the parents too. And other adults." You know, the ones that don't have kids but will come to the turnday part of the Senior Weyrwoman and Weyrleader's son anyway? Yeah, those people! "They'd like the sparklers. I can get some of those, easy." He smirks. "Do you want to try making his cake?" Because Ka'el made her that lopsided turnday cake once that was like, so totally awesome. "Ooor have Cook do it?"

A ten turn old? Oh yeah. Fireworks, dunk tanks, actual games of kickball instead of just pretend ones (the proud parents are the ones pretending that their kid is actually playing instead of just flailing)… Soriana grins. "He will like the music." And toys? She nods to that, as well as those friends of his. "Sure. The nursery can tell us who those are." Because, uh… Soriana has no clue. Neither does Skyler, probably, but the nannies will know who he plays in the vicinity of and doesn't scream at. …yeah, such is the nature of one-turn-old friendships. The mention of eating sand makes Soriana frown - briefly. Not because she thinks Ka'el is wrong, exactly, just… "Meadow is probably good. The grass is good to play on, and we can set out some blankets…" Naptime is important! Assuming the kids aren't too wired on fruit and cake. "Didn't An…gel-" or whatever her name was "-say something about kids too?" A cross-Weyr event! Because, hey. They're the leaders here, it's sort of likely to become one no matter what. They might as well admit to it. It comes with the job! Unlike… making cakes, which… "Uhhhh maybe we should have Cook do it." Soriana looks at her wine glass as if it will give her wisdom. "Given… how many people it's for!" And also their general incompetence at cookery.

Ka'el takes the opened bottle of wine and pours some into his now empty ale mug. One can't be without a drink while sitting in a tavern. That's darn near criminal! He takes a sip, lifts his brows. "This is good," he agrees in an off-handed sort of way, glancing to the bottle before setting it down again. "Angel did say she had daughters, didn't she? I don't know how old they are… Shell, I didn't even know they existed til that day," he admits with a crooked smirk. "Though I don't feel bad about it, as she didn't know about Skyler either. …. Though," he wrinkles his nose, "if I learn they're three or something, then I may feel a bit bad for not knowing." Possibly handfuls of years of being a mother, and Ka'el not even having a clue! Some friend, right? "Alright so…shards, it feels like this should be written down," he says, glancing about for paper and a writing utensil, two things which usually aren't quite in large abundance in taverns. He comes up empty handed, and thus is left to take mental notes! "Summer turnday party on the meadow. Bring blankets. Toys. Speak to the harpers about music," he begins to list the items on their growing to-do list on his fingers. "Speak to the kitchens about food for small ones and adults. Send a missive to Anique … and I suppose it'd be in good faith to send invitation to Weyrwomen and Weyrleaders who have kids? .. So no one feels left out or…unfavored?" No one would really feel politically slighted about a child's turnday party! …. right? There've been no wars over invitations for cake nursery rhymes, surely. "And you're right. I don't trust our baking skills enough to make a cake that anyone other than us will see," he chortles. "And Cook may have her feelings hurt if we don't ask her to make Ky's first turnday cake."

Soriana nods her agreement about the wine, "Mmhmm," and has another sip. Because that's what one does with good wine - appreciates it! Also drinks it, which is kind of the same thing. Soriana also nods agreement about Anique's daughters. "We can still invite them even if they're too old," she says with a shrug. "They'll probably enjoy the trip. And the cake." And sneaking away as soon as possible to play in the non-baby part of the Weyr, but… Soriana remembers being dragged along to places where she was too old for the crowd back when she was a kid at a beasthold (with a goldrider mother). It's not awful and the food's good. "We'll write the list later." When they've forgotten half of it and have to figure it out all over again. "Probably should invite the rest, too. Or, well, their kids." …with a note to bring parents. Nannies not included! "But I don't plan to do any official business." There are three hundred and sixty three other days to do that on! "Just eat cake that doesn't look like Dusty made it." She grins, and shakes her head. "This is practically going to be a Gather, I think." Except… tailored to the one turn old crowd (and their parents). "It shouldn't be all that hard." They've organized Gathers before! This one is just… meant for their kid. An epic turnday extravaganza that he…. won't remember one solitary bit of because he's too young.

"No official business," agrees Ka'el, nodding. "No matter how hard someone may try, it's Skyler's day. And I'll do my best to limit myself to one slice of cake … though depending on what type she makes, it may be hard for me." Cakes are his favorite! He's like Nugget in the way that sweets are difficult for him to ignore. But unlike Nugget, he knows his limits and won't go diving head first into the first pastry he sees. "This'll be fun, for him and everyone who can come. I'll have Kanekith try to track down Azrith so Kei'lan can come. He'd kill me if I didn't at least let him know, and if he knows … he'll come." The one and only uncle. He'd better bring an awesome gift! His mug is lifted again, but before it reaches his lips, Ka'el pauses and a chuckle lifts from his throat. Amused and a little bit of something else. "Can you believe this?" he asks, smirking as the mug is set back down, unsipped. "We're shardin' planning our son's first turnday. In all the times you've ever sat and thought've where you'd be after graduation, did you ever think it'd be here, planning a turnday party for your son?" He shakes his head. Disbelief. That's the other sound that was in his chuckle, and it shows a little on his face now. "It's insane. …. The good type've insane, though. Not the lock you away sort."

"…well, let's not be too hasty," Soriana says. "If there's more than one kind of cake, you can have a slice of each." There are some benefits to being the parents of the birthday boy! And depending on how many people they invite (and how ambitious Cook gets), there might well be options. (E, all of the above! Or… Eeeee! Cake!) Soriana laughs at Kei'lan… actually, could probably stop the sentence there, but it also counts for what Ka'el says about him. "I'm sure he'll come. There's only, what, not even a dozen places he might be? Unless he's found himself a posting at a cothold somewhere… but I'm sure one of the queens has heard something from Azrith recently." And Skyler's blueriding uncle can sweep in with… probably, given Kei, a strange gift, but sometimes those are the best… or at least, they make for the best stories! And really, what more could one ask for? Believability? Bah! It's totally overrated, and Soriana has a sip of her wine as she listens to Ka'el, then lowers it to laugh. "I hadn't planned on having a son at all," she reminds him, but there's no whisper of regret in her tone. Nothing in her voice or face to say that the plans she'd made that didn't include a Skyler were better ones than the ones she's making now for his turnday. "They'd better not lock us up, because the jail doesn't have a proper desk in it." And, obviously, if they were locked up that wouldn't get them out of all their paperwork. There are priorities here! Accept no excuses, not from your weyrleaders. "But… no." Soriana turns a bit more serious again, though still smiling. "I never thought it." She lifts her glass, pauses. "Did you?"

Mmmm, double cake! "I may have to plant the idea in Cook's ear then," says Ka'el. "Let it slip that we can't decide on which type of cake would be best. How we want to make sure to please all the different preferences of our guests, but we're not sure which cake would be most appealing … We may end up with three cakes, in the end!" One can never have too much cake, and plus … if there is, somehow, too much cake, that just means that there will be leftovers! Cake for another day. As for his ever-traveling brother, Ka'el laughs. "Kanekith doesn't like to fail. If he can't reach him by mind, he's liable to go out searching for him himself. … So, let's hope that some dragon knows where he is, else Kanekith may be flyin' all over Pern looking for him on party day." And he can't miss the party! Both he and Luraoth will definitely get an invitation. He listens now as she answers his question, a chuckle for her first retort. Yes, he knew that. A laugh for the second. "They'd put a desk in there especially for us. We wouldn't get a break, even behind bars," he retorts. He settles in with a smile to her, knowing she has no regrets…or at least, hoping very hard she doesn't. He doesn't either. "I think I would've asked you, someday, if you had changed your mind," he answers. "It wouldn'tve been then or now, but…someday, I'd've asked because I think I would have started imagined myself planning a turnday party with you. But before?" He laughs. "No way. I think most of my imaginings of my future mostly had you in them, wearing next to nothing on a beach somewhere massaging me."

Triple cake! What does it mean?! …omnomnom, so much tasty cake, that's what. Soriana grins. "If we have extra," ha, as if. Not with Ka'el around - and if they're getting anywhere close, they can just call for Nugget, too. "-we can always have Cook set it out for dinner." The whole Weyr can celebrate Skyler's birthday… instead of just the whooole population aged 6-18 months… plus out of Weyr visitors… including Kei'lan one way or another. "Kanekith will toss Azrith onto his back and drag him here." Never mind that the blue dragon has a perfectly functional set of wings and is quite capable of doing it on his own… as soon as he's told. Which… "Better get started on that." There are months yet to prepare! And… some things need planning, though others of their lives… haven't quite been planned for. Hoped for… maybe. Would have been come around to? Soriana smiles for that someday. "I've no idea what I've had said." Would she have started looking wistfully at other babies? Wondering what it would take to have one of her own… instead of one day discovering she was and wondering how to deal with it? …him. …Skyler. …so yeah she did kind of figure that one out, didn't she? How to deal (at least for her) is by planning a turnday party. And… she laughs. "Those beaches are still part of the future." Only, some of them now include a kid playing in the sand or splashing around in the waves. "And sometimes… we can leave him for a long restday with my mom." Soriana grins, and leans toward Ka'el with a kiss that… well, luckily enough, she's no longer the show of the tavern.

Skyler’s growing up. Kei’lan will be there to see this milestone of a first turnday. He may be the only true uncle the little guy gets to really know, and Kei’lan is good about being there for the big things. Graduation, for instance. Kale’s fifteenth turnday celebration. He’ll be there for Skyler’s turndays and perhaps a family trip or two. He’ll miss the little things. The first independent steps (which could very well be considered a huge thing!), his first words. The first time he tries ice cream. His first pet. His first loose tooth. The first night he sleeps in a big boy bed. But these firsts are for his parents. His parents! Not fosters who serve as such for a time. His parents have raised him, are raising him, since his very first day. Skyler was an unexpected child. One that Ka’el didn’t know how to react to. One that he ended up feeling fear towards. But now? Heh. He’s planning a first turnday, feeling just as excited, if not more excited than the day he planned his first weyr party. But booze and stringed lights have been replaced with wading pools and toddler games. Things have changed. Thoughts of his future used to be self-centered. Things he wanted. Now, his future revolves around his family and his responsibility to the Weyr. How crazy is that? But, there is still room for selfishness. Like now, as their lips touch in such a way that the music of the tavern floats away and the voices around him turn into white noise. He leans in, eyes closed as he kisses her back. Affectionate. Warm. Hungrily. “But,” he says after pulling back just a smidgeon, smirking, “will I still get my massage? You left that part out. Don’t think I didn’t notice.”

So many little things, little moments for a little boy who's… not nearly so little as he once was and is growing bigger by the day. Ten months. Soon, thirteen. A full turn, and another, and after that he'll be old enough that nobody counts months anymore except when it's time to campaign for half-turnday presents. There's already been so many moments, and there'll be more. His parents, there for every step (except the ones that happen at the nursery while they're busy working). His uncle, there at random intervals with gifts and funny stories. His grandmother, closer to hand but still not there every day. Not for the times when he wakes up with bad dreams or can't sleep from excitement, or when he gets his first ride between. All these moments that they can expect… now. All a part of what makes up the growing boy who was one little (big) unexpected thing. Soriana's lips linger against Ka'el's, because while they have a son now, he's not here watching every moment. He's a part of those moments, but sometimes… it's from a distance. They'll return to him after he's done playing in the nursery or visiting with his grandmother, once they're done with their paperwork or diplomatic visits or… just spending time on each other doing things that are sort of connected to why they have a Skyler in the first place. Kisses, and things kisses lead to, like… massage. Ka'el's priorities include that, in with the duties to family and Weyr. "Well," Soriana says with a look of consideration. "I think… it might be arranged. Especially if we remind Kanekith that your hide needs polishing too and convince him to share the oil."

Ka'el lightly laughs and leans in the fractional amount needed to touch his lips to hers again. It's a briefer kiss, yet not less affectionate, and his eyes still close at the lightly lingering touch until they part again. "Don't tell him that unless you want a dragon watching every move you make to make sure you get every spot on my hi-…" Hm! He pauses right there, considering those words with a devious look forming. "Actually," he says with a light wave of his hand. Dismissive. "You do that. Tell him. Sure, he may want to watch, and I'll fill you in on what he's saying. But really, you have nothing to worry about. As long as you massage every part of me, he'll be happy. Just make sure your hands get every single inch. Leave nothing of me un-oiled. This sounds even better than what I imagined, actually." His grin remains deviously playful, and he steals one more kiss to her lips, this one face and hard before he pulls back and sits back fully. "You want to get out of here?" he asks. "The barkeep can put our wine up for us and I can gt it tomorrow or have it delivered. But I want to get out of the noise," and away from the eyes. There's always eyes. As long as they wear the knots that they wear, there will always be eyes watching. Glancing. Critiquing. Speculating. Gossiping. "Take a walk before getting Skyler."

Soriana laughs. "And then, I'll tell him that you're shinier than he is." Which will be an outright lie, because one of these people is metallic and the other… isn't. "And he'll stick his nose in-" where, exactly? "-and demand to inspect for himself." Is it still better? Maybe. They'll have to see just exactly how this works out, just like they're seeing how these kisses work out and where they end up afterward. For the moment, they're working out quite well, with the warm press of mouth to mouth, even a little tease of tongue or three, pressing toward and implying… well, Soriana's mind can certainly fill in those details, and so can the gossips. Admittedly, there's only so much gossip that can be fueled on 'the Weyrleader and the Weyrwoman are kissing'. It's not like they're not also weyrmates… with a son… who, in a few turns, probably will also not find it remarkable that his parents kiss. Icky, yes, but remarkable? Not so much. But… Soriana doesn't particularly need (or want) to fuel any speculation about whether or not Skyler will have a sibling, and so she nods to Ka'el. "Let's do that," she says, and grins. "I'm in no rush." Gasp. Maternal neglect! Abandoning her child to… actually, he's probably having a grand time at the moment, so Soriana can have one too. She sips the last of her wine, then catches for Ka'el's hand, letting him maneuver the bottle with the other to hand it over for safekeeping and storage before they head out to warm up a Xanadu night.

Continued in: Not Just Duty

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