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.
Most of the blizzard's wrath have passed now but for some, if not every, it's still way too much cold not to deny a warm beverage. After his recent maneuvers, it may also be some kind of strategy for the young Weyrleader. With hands cling around his mug, E'tan rests against the long mahogany bar, offering a small smile to every faces he meets. The key is to not look too relaxed and busy at the same time.
One visitor is no stranger to cold or the wrath that the winter months can bring. It's not often that the Fortian Weyrleader visits so far south but he makes exceptions. Th'ero's purpose on this particular day is strictly "business" or more like a gesture of amiable 'friendship'. Never mind that his sister resides here — most know that he and Kiena don't get along and it's best the bluerider stay far away less this turn into a political incident (not that Th'ero would speak up about it to keep the peace). It takes but a few polite inquiries to figure out where his target is residing and there is some relief that it's not within the administration halls or offices. Stepping inside the cavern, Th'ero pauses long enough to brush the snow from his heavy riding jacket and his boots before heading straight for the bar where E'tan sits. Inclining his head in a polite nod, his greeting is formal and a touch reserved, unsure of how this young Weyrleader preferences lay. "Afternoon, Weyrleader. Fort's duty to Xanadu and her queens. Do you mind if I join you?" Not awkward at all. So much for relaxation?
E'tan's stealthy moment of relaxation doesn't last long and he certainly expected it not to but maybe not only a couple of minutes. From the moment he spied the tall silhouette entering the cavern, he, unconsciously was somewhat bracing himself. Surprisingly he won't have to deal with a holder this time around. "Afternoon…and..err…no, I don't mind at all…" He replies rather quickly and wincing a bit. "And…Xanadu's duty to Fort and their queens…I mean.." Hiding his discomfort and frown behind the hem of his mug he curses at himself about forgetting the protocol. Why not offering a warm smile for good measure. "Weyrleader Th'ero." Ooh, he does remember names after all. "What good fortune brings you here?" is asked with an offered warm mug.
Th'ero can be intimidating in the worse of times and even in the best of times it's difficult to read the man. He's not one to be very open with his emotions and considered cold and reserved by many who haven't lived in Fort for Turns. Still, E'tan's fumbling has him quirking his mouth up at one corner in the vaguest of smiles as he quietly pulls out one of the stools and seats himself. "Curiosity," he answers a touch curtly as he unfastens the buckles to his jacket, only to clear his throat a bit and visibly ease off as his voice, while naturally low, takes an amused inflection. "Or as Weyrwoman Nyalle would put it — 'creating good political relations' by visiting Xanadu's new Weyrleader. Though, if I'm not mistaken, this is your second run at it?"
E'tan was still standing when Th'ero arrived and, for a moment, he strongly considered remaining that way but as he explains the motivation of his visit he mimicks and takes a seat as well. Diplomacy. One of his most important mission. At least he has always thought so. The Fort's Weyrleader's kind of smile finds a bright echo on E'tan's face as he dares to comment. "My second run, yes. That's correct. And, if not much, I learnt how to listen to the Weyrwoman." Another silly grin here, more to shake off his embarrass than anything else. "I'm glad we finally meet." He adds, raising his mug.
Th'ero chose to sit as standing too long would make things, in his mind, too tense. They are in public after all and he's learned over the Turns just how much people can "see" without actually staring. So he'll sit and give the rumour mills less to talk about. Nothing says peaceful than sharing a drink, right? Taking one of those warm drinks for himself, he'll lift the mug up as if to toast or salute E'tan. "Congratulations, then." He chuckles dryly. "If you wish for peace of mind and a happy Weyr, then yes, listen to your Weyrwoman. Doesn't mean you have to agree, but…" There's a slight shrug of his shoulders and some of that reserved nature of his melts away. "As am I. Is it true then, that the flight yielded injuries? Not your bronze, I hope?"
Oh E'tan does want that. Peace of mind and a happy Weyr. He's trying his very best and so far so good. At least rumors aren't that bad. He notices that dry chuckle, smirking. "Congratulations of condolences? And, I do listen to Innes. A lot. And surprisingly, we seem to go along rather well." He pauses here to widen his smile. "She doesn't seem to want to rip my heart off my chest whenever she sees me so I take it it's a good sign." He's clearly joking here but he also knows that the Xanadu Weyrwoman's reputation is kinda famous. At the mention of the flight, his expression sobers some and he nods. "Yeah. Some injuries. Minors and more grave." Now he's frowning. "Saburath has been lucky enough to only suffer from tiny scratches in comparison. Sometimes I wonder who is the most bloodthirsty. Innes or Kairoikyriath…"
"Condolences? Depends, I guess, if you're happy or not with the outcome," Th'ero replies and while his tone is dry there's a subtle hint of amusement there. He takes a sip of his drink before setting the mug aside, resting one arm against the bar while keeping more of his focus on the young bronzerider. Having never met Innes, the Fortian Weyrleader quirks a brow but chuckles all the same. "She sounds…" What would be a polite term? "… spirited." Yes, that'll do. "I'd say if you both are on equal terms it's a good start. Consider yourself lucky." Says the man who has survived three Weyrwomen, including Nyalle. Sensing the sobered change, Th'ero frowns as well and grimaces, "Best of luck for fully recovery for those gravely wounded. Flights can be… rough — or yes, that." Bloodthirsty. "A blizzard is difficult enough when focused."
"Oh I'm perfectly happy with the outcome." Tani coughs slightly, trying to tune down his quite eager reply. "And Saburath is so invested in his…mission…../his/ Weyr as he keeps saying." The young bronzerider shakes his head, snorting amusingly. He may be young, he's well aware how fickle and changing his 'position' can be. As for Innes. "Spirited, yes. And full of energy Xanadu just needs to prosper." He raises his mug once again at that, adding another smile that fades a touch now that his mind is on the injured dragons. "They're in good hands so we'll just have to hope. With any luck none of them will go *between*." A cough punctuates his speech as he lays his gaze on the older bronzerider. "If their silly riders don't kill each other meanwhile that is…"
Th'ero's faint smile returns. "Saburath sounds much like Velokraeth in that regard." There's no doubt that the pale bronze has grown quite the ego given his long, long run as chief and leader of Fort. Luckily his rider doesn't seem to let it get to his ego. "Let him bask in it." Couldn't hurt, right? He takes another pull of his drink and his smile broadens just enough to be closer to something genuine — or at the very least visible. "Xanadu has been prosperous the last few Turns!" Or so the news and rumours have told him. "You are indeed fortunate. And now there will be a new clutch to add to it!" His head tilts and he doesn't so much as flinch at the idea of the loss of the riders. Fort has hardened him that way. "… is there anyway to keep them separated until they're more right in their heads?"
E'tan leans more against the bar, allowing his chin to slowly rest on his palm in a more relaxed manner but then, Th'ero's words make him wince briskly, obviously fighting back a chuckle. "Letting him bask in it is all I can do actually. I wouldn't be able to do otherwise anyway, stubborn like he is." That's it, he's chuckling now. "I guess it's a bronze thing. But then if he ever loses his position one day, I'm certain he will continue to devote his whole self….and me…to Xanadu. I mean even with his ego wounded." His chin now reaches his palm, one hand fidgeting his mug absently. "Thanks Faranth, yes. We are fortunate and soon to be full of candidates. Clumsy ones." A nostalgic smile does cross his face now but he perks again, raising a brow. Before dealing with clumsy candidates, there are silly stubborn riders. "They're as much separated as they can be. And Saburath is even pestering every queens he sees to force them to behave. Not that he didn't try himself first though…" He leans again, bringing his face more into the light, the redness of it more visible for everyone and especially for Fort's Weyrleader. Shyness? Doesn't seem like it. Alcohol effect? Certainly not. Sunburns? Probably.
Th'ero seems surprised by the wince from E'tan and then there's an all too understanding snort from the Fortian Weyrleader. "I learned long ago that there's no fighting Velokraeth either. I either beat him at wit or just… try to survive the aftermath." So far, it's worked — more or less. Another half-smile, "Perhaps it is a bronze thing. Devotion — that's a rare thing to hear. You may find yourself Weyrleader for longer than you think if that's both a shared thought between you and him." he says quietly while slowly nursing his drink. "Clumsy ones?" Th'ero is puzzled by that but not so puzzled by the situation of those unruly riders. "Some riders cannot handle their lifemates being in grievous pain and vice versa. Queens can keep a dragon in line, but if it's the human half acting out, well… That's difficult." In so many, many ways. As for the sunburn, that brings a frown but also a look of interest. "What happened there?" He so boldly asks.
E'tan's mind wanders as he listens. The thought of remaining Weyrleader for maybe much longer than expected doesn't seem to worry him, a faint smile edging his lips for a moment. It's only when the candidate subject is brought that he shakes himself from his reverie. "Clumsy yeah. That's how I was so I guess I'm always referring to them as such." He shrugs, grinning again. The idea of, once again, being on the other side of the barrier oddly makes him cheerful. Dealing with them sounds much more appealing than some riders and he nods at Th'ero's comment. "Difficult yes. Innes didn't put her nose in yet, though. I expect the situation to calm down significantly by then." One of his hands reaches his forehead and he forces himself to cough now. Discovered. Better not lying about it. "Oh that? Well…I…confess I escaped for a warmer weather very recently. My new habit of listening to weyrwomen…"
"Guess there are worse things than clumsy," Th'ero remarks dryly and finishing his drink, sets the mug aside. "I was… Well, not sure how to describe it really." Or, at least, not in any way that is polite for public ears. "Mhm, well, hopefully things will calm and not require both of you to intervene. It's not pretty, I can tell you that." He would know. Brows lift again, "She ordered you on a vacation?"
E'tan almost completely discards the rider parts only nodding twice as an acknowledgment. He's hoping things will settle by themselves and it's clearly another subject that drags all of his attention. "She didn't. I just followed her actually. It wasn't Innes though." There's a soft happy sigh here but soon, his brows furrow some. "Can I ask you something….bold?"
Most likely they will, as they always do. Rational minds always win out… eventually. Th'ero blinks and his brows knit, about to ask for clarification when instead he's caught off guard by E'tan's request. He lifts his hands and spreads them out in a small gesture. Have at it? "Of course."
"How do you…manage being Weyrleader and in a relationship?" comes E'tan's question in a breath. As if he was holding it for too long. "I mean…a realtionship that's not with the Senior that is." That's an important point to outline here for sure. "And before you ask, no, she's not the one I fled with recently." He's grinning to soften and tunes down his eagerness for answers. How often can he ask a more experienced rider?
Th'ero wasn't entirely prepared for that question but it almost makes him laugh. Not because he finds it silly but unknowingly for E'tan the Fortian Weyrleader had been through this himself. It's true, sometimes there is wisdom found in asking experienced folks. "Easily," Th'ero replies cryptically to start before exhaling, "Truthfully, it's not like we are the only ones who do not have an — ah, intimate relationship — with our Weyrwoman. It occurred even back in the time of Threadfall though rarely. I don't see why we must be bound, regardless. I consider Nyalle to be a… I guess you could say a business acquaintance? We function as a team for the good of the Weyr. All know that I've another as a my Weyrmate though and that another bronzerider seeks favour with Nyalle." He shrugs then and chuckles. "Ahh, I see. Have some seen it as odd then, that you worry over it?"
E'tan listens very carefully, turning him into that very dedicated student once again for as long as Th'ero's speech flows. Then his eyes grow wide and he frantically wiggles both hands in front of him. "No no no no. No one have seen anything….not yet…I mean…well…ah." Okay too much for his credibility here. A deep breath shall make it up for gaining his self again so he does, displaying a weak smile. "So…Easily. I get it. I also get that others /would/ talk and comment?"
Th'ero frowns as E'tan begins to wiggle his hands like that and he tilts his head subtly, as if intrigued. "You're keeping this relationship… or this woman, I'll presume? … a secret then? Why?" he asks, perhaps more boldly then he intended and he attempts to soften that misstep with a faint smile. "Mhm, they might? Or they may readily accept it. If I recall, I don't think the former Senior here, Thea, had a weyrmate that was also her Weyrleader but I could be wrong."
E'tan goes on thoughtful again, letting a soft sigh escaping his lips. "Not a secret no. Just….very recent?" He raises his head to meet the older bronzerider's gaze again, obviously seeking for comfort. Not that he's embarrassed or anything but more as in an attempt to get the assurance that such relationship could be possible. "There's also something else though." Okay the frown on his face makes it quite dramatic. "She's from another Weyr."
Th'ero has to resist laughing again or at least smiling in a bemused way. He's starting to feel like he's looking in a mirror at his past self when he was around E'tan's age! "How far is this Weyr? Is she one of their juniors?" he asks though in a far less blunt of a tone. What information the young Weyrleader chooses to give, he will keep quiet. He's a man of his word and even Velokraeth will vouch for that in his rider. "That was how it started for my weyrmate and I. We both were of Half Moon Bay to start, but when Velokraeth flew and caught Zuhth when Neyuni was Senior of Fort and I became Weyrleader, we continued our relationship. It wasn't easy all the time and more often than naught she was the one visiting me. Eventually, she transferred to Fort and that was not long after we had weyrmated officially. She often works along side me and the rest of my administrative staff, though her official rank is… not a traditional one. It works though. We made it work."
E'tan catches the amusement on the Fort Weyrleader's face and he responds with another weak smile. It's very unusual for him, to be in such situation. Of course, he did learn how to manage a relationship…somehow. But one of that kind gives him a hard time to think, drown as he is in thoughts and worries. He's not about hiding anything to Th'ero. Not at all. His quest for advice so strong that he's an open book now. "She's from Monaco and…" he pauses, observing carefully the wiser bronzerider's face, awaiting his reaction. "…she's to be their next Senior." What Th'ero said about his own reaction did relax him slightly but what he just revealed needs more not to make him…panic?
Th'ero definitely wasn't prepared for the answer E'tan gives him and perhaps there's a hint of sympathy in his voice when he does finally answer him. "Well, then. That… certainly changes things." Not to make it seem all doom and gloom, the Fortian Weyrleader edges towards humour. "At least no one can fault you for, ah, improving relations between Xanadu and Monaco Bay in this case?" Get it? A terrible joke (and yet some truth rings in it!), he promptly sobers and shakes his head. "To be honest with you, E'tan… if you both care about one another enough you'll make it work despite the distance and rank."
"Too recent to tell…" Tani declares, shrugging slightly, his smile now more like a real one, trying to ease his stress away some more. "For sure, improving relations between any Weyr and Xanadu is one of my goal. I just…didn't expect such…context." Enough relaxed now that Th'ero seems to lower his natural guard just a touch, he even adds a wink as he follows. "We've known each other for quite a while now but life parted us rather quickly. Looks like it's a kind of second chance. I dunno…We'll see I guess."
Th'ero smirks all too knowingly. He's been there though not quite in the extreme as E'tan finds himself. At least there was always the chance that Kimmila could transfer to Fort. Granted, E'tan could transfer too but they both know there's only two ways for that to happen… "Oh, no doubt you two will be all they'll gossip about for some time. It could be a good thing though. Faranth only knows we need to show unity between the Weyrs. What better than a cross-Weyr union?" That would be the optimist in him showing, which is a rare thing indeed. "Give it time. If you've known her for so long and you both care for each other — it could last."
E'tan idly runs a hand through his hair and shifts back in his chair, releasing more of his tension. "Gossips are usually harmless, I guess." To his smirk he replies with a genuine grin. "You're right, Th'ero…" using his name rather than his rank here betrays all the gratitude he begins to feel towards him. No offense or disrespect. More like a kind of brothers in arms display? "…I shall stay optimistic. And we shall drink at that." Swiftly he scans around and finds something suitable : a pitcher of red wine and two glasses. "Here. Thank you a lot, Th'ero. I really appreciate you lending me your attention and advices."
"For the most part, yes. We don't discourage gossiping… especially if it's keeping folks distracted from the real issues at hand." Th'ero muses with a sort of grim half-smile. Another trick he's learned over the Turns! There is no offence taken, given he used E'tan's name earlier without the official rank title before it. He figures they're speaking on equal terms by now as they've long since moved away from 'official' topics. There's a small but true smile when E'tan brings out some wine and Th'ero doesn't hold back in accepting his glass and lifting it up to briefly toast the young Weyrleader. "You're welcome. Glad I could be of some reassurance. You and your Weyrwomen, they're always welcome at Fort too."
E'tan empties his glass in one single sip, way too eager for his own good, certainly a side effect of that weight vanishing from his shoulder. "Oh you've been more helpful than you think." Here goes a refill before he continues, smiling again the way he usually does. "I shall be forever grateful and be sure that Xanadu will always return Fort's favor as well." *siiiiiip* "…Always…" Alright. It has certainly been on the young Xanadu Weyrleader for some time the way he's letting it go under Th'ero's reassuring words. Of course, the wine is no stranger to his state as it's known that he's not holding alcohol very well if not at all.
Th'ero is slower in enjoying his glass of wine though he quirks a brow for how fast E'tan downs his. He's not about to caution the man! It's not until he pours the second that he perhaps catches on that the younger bronzerider is well on his way to being drunk. "Good to know," he says quietly while draining the last of his wine. He doesn't go for a refill, but instead stands from his stool. "Unfortunately I should be on my way. The time between here and Fort is lengthy and Faranth only knows what will await me when I return." Fastening his jacket again, he'll gesture with a tilt of his head towards the door. "We can continue to talk as I return to Velokraeth? Though I understand if you'd like to remain here where it's warm." he muses.
E'tan is finishing his third drink as Th'ero stands up. For a second he frowns, trying to check if he can still walk or not. It doesn't last very long and, against all odds, he decides to stand up as well, flashing his elder a bright smile along with bright red cheeks. "Let me accompany you…" He declares, nearly putting a hand on his shoulder but, at the very last moment, refrains himself to do so. "…that way I will show my respect to your Velokraeth as well…"
Th'ero wouldn't have objected if E'tan had put a hand on his shoulder. Normally the Fortian Weyrleader is very much against anyone getting into his personal space but he makes the few rare exceptions. If anything, he'd assume it was because the younger Weyrleader needed some help in staying steady! "I'm sure he'll appreciate it." And part of him is wondering if E'tan will be able to say anything nice about the stunted, malformed bronze. Either way, once all is said and done, Th'ero will lead the way out and after a few more pleasantries are shared will mount up on Velokraeth's neck and send the bronze aloft, returning home to Fort.