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


Snow, snow everywhere! And little icicles hanging from the branches… which is actually somewhat concerning, given what that much weight could do. Is now really a good time to be up on a platform in the trees? Whether or not it is, Janaya's up here! She's got a table near a window, and currently she's not so much sitting as kneeling backward on the chair with her elbows propped on the sill as she looks out. On her shoulder is perched little blue Kori, watching with her and occasionally chirping his opinions of the view.

Esiae's own blue firelizard precedes her. Chirping boldly, the knight-like little blue backwings to land on the sill near where Janaya is leaning, whirling eyes peering up at her - or perhaps Kori. Hey, he remembers you! "Awful, ain't it?" Hands wrapped around a hot mug of klah, the junior weyrwoman approaches Janaya's table, one hand slipping from around her drink to wave. By the looks of it, she's been here a while, jacket abandoned on a coatrack somewhere, though she's bundled in more layers than is strictly necessary, for being inside. Despite the weather outside, she's very visibly sunburnt, even to an untrained eye. "Gonna take weeks to melt if it keeps up at this rate." She pauses, as though remembering herself, and then offers a sheepish, "Hello." Because, manners.

Kori turns his head, flipping his neck back to peer upside down at the elder firelizard. He chirps back a greeting, but Janaya takes a moment longer before she looks back as well. "Huh?" Her expression's a puzzled one, brow furrowing as she listens to Esiae. What's this about? …oh! "It's not awful!" she protests. "I like the snow, it's fun! 'specially when it's warm enough that y'don't freeze and can build forts and stuff." She grins, then after a moment actually shifts around to, y'know, actually face the junior weyrwoman. "Hi!" She takes in the junior's look, and her grin widens. "Were you running away from the snow?"

Balian blinks in surprise for that upside-down greeting, but recovers smoothly, dropping onto his butt to chirp up at Kori, likely a 'lizard-y form of small talk. Esiae, meanwhile, eyes Janaya as though she's a tad crazy. Someone likes the snow? Warning, warning! "Riiight," she drawls, but it's all in good fun, a teasing smile quirking up both corners of her mouth. "I kid. If you like it, more power to you." Talk of snow forts makes her raise an eyebrow curiously, gaze moving past the weyrbrat at the billowing snow beyond. "Shells, we're gonna have to build forts and tunnels just to get out of our homes, eventually," she says, but now that she's thinking about it… "Actually that ain't a half-bad idea." Uh oh. Luckily, Janaya distracts her from what are undoubtedly nefarious plans, brows knitting before she realizes what the girl's talking about. "Oh. Oh! Yeah. Considered whiling away the storm somewhere nice'n hot, but… Duties, emergencies, and one big stupid gold that crashed into a tree later…" Hands spread expressively: here she is. "Sorry about that, by the way. Not how I expected that day to go." Cough.

Janaya shakes her head slowly like Esiae's the unreasonable one here, but there's an upward curve to the corners of her mouth as she does. "Look, just 'cause there's drifts big enough to hide a green dragon and some of the 'brats haven't been seen for weeks, that's no reason to complain! Stew tastes better as a popsicle." That hint of smile turns into an outright grin, and then she briefly dips into serious. "I mean, I know it's bad when the dragons can't fly, and it makes it hard for the trade caravans, too, and the farms and builders and stuff…" But snow! And… snow-tunnels? Her eye widen with a pleased gleam. "That sounds awesome!" If there are nefarious plans to be had, count her in! But… well, nefarious plans can lead to unexpected consequences. Like crashing golds! Janaya nods, then giggles. "What was she trying to do? Was that on purpose?"

Esiae has to laugh for that. "Oh is that all? Not that we couldn't do with fewer weyrbrats, good riddance-" wink! "-but green-sized drifts and stewsicles. Yes. How can I be so cynical in the face of such wonders." Grinning like a cheshire, the goldrider leans her elbows on the chair in front of her, shoulders rolling in a shrug. "I'm more worried for and annoyed at the people that refused to come back to the weyr, thinkin' they know better but making us worry in the meantime," she says, but the serious notion is quickly dismissed with an impish smirk. "It does sound neat, doesn't it? I think that's the only way I'd like snow - if it stood to protect me from more snow." Snicker. As for her lifemate: "Well, yes and no. She was trying to emulate Ujinath's quick landing, despite knowing she's way too sharding big for such a thing," the junior huffs, eyes rolling ceilingwards. "Alas, can't back down from a challenge. The whole 'run or die!, oops there goes an imported fir!' bit was an accident though." Reassuring, right?

"Heeeeey!" Janaya says to that dismissal of weyrbats - not that she didn't start this - and hmphs. But her faked-up indignation only lasts for a minute before she grins. Admittedly, the grin is transient too, because she does give the serious bit some serious thought. "That's what Galaxy's for though, right? To find people who're lost somewhere…" Though really, what is a dragon supposed to do for someone who's buried under one of those drifts? It's not like they've got X-ray vision or anything! Not unless you strap a dolphin underneath them, like some sort of strange sonar-producing torpedo or… something. So much for serious! "Course… you gotta be careful with snow forts, 'cause once you have those people might think you're at snow-war… and might just incidentally throw some snowballs at you… pre-emptive like." There's a catch to everything, isn't there? Those little gotchas like flung snowballs or dragons that are Just Too Big for the tricks they try to pull. Janaya laughs, amused by the attempt - hey, nobody got squished, right? Only some property destruction. That makes it funny! "I mean, you never know until you try, right?"

"Okay, only good riddance to some weyrbrats," Esiae concedes with a chuckle, eyes lit up with amusement at her mock-protest. "Just the terrible ones." Which doesn't include Janaya, apparently! "Yeah, true, but it's just good sense. Wouldn't need to search and rescue 'em if they just came home." Her brow twitches sarcastically, sadly not privy to the dolphin-echolocation thoughts going through her head, because that'd be hilarious. "Eugh. Didn't think of that," is said about snowball fights starting due to the creation of snow forts. One eye twitches dramatically, cogs in her head working. "Will just have to wear riding helmets at all times, and make shield to carry around to deflect 'em." This is getting complicated now. "Oh, Sony's tried. And tried. And tried. Somewhere between terrible draconic memory and her uncanny ability to hide what she's doing like a kid putting pillows on their bed to make their parents think they're asleep when they've snuck out, I'm frankly surprised she hasn't done more." You know. More than blowing things up, setting things on fire, and knocking over trees and weyrbarns. "It's like having a really giant toddler sometimes."

"Better," Janaya acknowledges with a sage nod. As befits her role of arbiter of what is right. "And some of them… sheesh! Pretty terrible." Hello, pot. Did you know that Janaya is most definitely not a kettle? Nope, not her. Also she herself would probably never throw snowballs. She grins at Esiae's plan to defend from them, though. "Yeah! I bet that smith could make you one. A big shield… with spikes! That way it catches the snowballs and shows them as a warning to others. A lesson in consequences!" Which… might work on weyrbrats? It apparently hasn't worked on Esiae's dragon, but the report of failure just makes Janaya laugh. "See, that's why you can't get rid of all the weyrbrats. 'cause if you did, then she wouldn't have any more company!" Never mind the dozens of dragons. Those, apparently, don't count.

"Right? Noisy little troublemakers. Don't they know it's better if you don't get caught?" Perhaps Esi recognizes the kettle in Janaya's soul, or maybe she's joking about herself, but either way the goldrider's amused. "Gives you bragging rights." Or street cred, or whatever the Pernese equivalent of that is. "Spikes! That's the ticket. Who's gonna bother a weyrwoman with a shield full of spikes?" If it were possible, her eyes brighten further. "And I have a flamethrower. I can melt 'em right out of the sky." And all of the tunnels with them, but shhh. She seems to bask in the terrifying image of wielding shield and flame against the horrors of snow for a moment before issuing a snort. "Ha! True enough. She'd be peerless, and then where would we be?" She clicks her tongue. "Ah well. Could be worse. At least she only explodes things on accident. You met Destroth yet? He ruins things like it's his job." And she's almost impressed.

Janaya, in her innocence (alleged), nods definitive agreement that it's better to not be caught. "Also you don't get assigned chores for it." If they don't know who to blame, they can't hand out punishment! Er… "Or so I've heard." Yeah! Plausible deniability is go! "Anyway you should definitely do that with the spikes and flamethrower and plumed helmet, it would work great." With no unforeseen consequences. NONE. (Is it a good thing that Sonyxaeth can't breathe fire herself, if this is the sort of idea her rider has?) Speaking of that dragon, Janaya giggles, "She might be peerless anyway. Above and beyond all the rest!" then shakes her head at the mention of Destroth. "Nooo, not yet. Vesukith sometimes breaks stuff on purpose, but only when he gets grumpy." After a moment, she adds, "That's my dad's dragon." Just in case the weyrwoman doesn't have all dragons, including those long retired, memorized. Not that it would surprise Janaya, but it's probably not mandatory for goldriders. Probably.

"Ah, yes, chores." Esiae's gaze goes distant, smiling blissfully as though to herself. "Once upon a time, I used to be given those. Now I get to assign them. It's great." Which is probably even more encouragement. Esi's like that one drowish goddess: doesn't care what the hell you do so long as you don't get caught at it. "Shells, this is starting to sound more like a painting than real life," she jokes when Janaya makes it a plumed helmet, brown eyes sparkling with amusement. "Put Sonyxaeth in the background, rearing up on her hind legs, wings spread, roaring to the skies as kids quake and flee before her…" She stands straight to demonstrate, somehow keeping from spilling her klah. "Maybe I'll commission that for my next turnday." She chuckles a bit for the idea, downing some of her drink before shaking her head. "Good, you don't want to meet him. As for Vesukith, the name sounds familiar, but I'm not sure," she says with the shrug of a woman who helps run a weyr of way too many dragons, indeed. "Would be happy to meet him again though, I'm sure." If only to commiserate with his rider about dragons breaking things, probably. Her gaze goes a little distant again, but this time with a concerned frown, lips pursing slightly. "Though, speakin' of, gotta get Sony back to the Dragonhealers. Sprained something in one of her wings, either from smacking the tree or trying to stop herself, and though she won't say anything, it's aching. Better get over there while I still can. Nice seeing you again." With a small smile and a wave, the goldrider saunters off to fetch her coat before heading out into the wall of snow beyond the cafe.


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