Love Letters

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns

A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.
The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.
A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.
Exits lead off in all directions, a big archway the largest and that leading outside. Shallow stairs to the west lead to the offices and administration area while tunnels to the east lead to the infirmary, kitchen and resident's quarters. Southwards, a sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs and southwest is a wide tunnel, carefully roped off to avoid accidents.

Early afternoon finds the Caverns on the empty side compared to the chaotic hustle and bustle of normal mealtimes. It is always occupied to a degree and today among the occupants a young woman sits at a table, two books opened before her, a flit curled at her shoulder to peer over and watch what she does. " can't help me like that.. aren't you hungry?" she asks him and nods to a plate of meatrolls. WIth a flutter of wings he drops to the table and she pushes her glasses up on the bridge of her nose a little, going back to her pages, counting softly to herself, "And…one…two…."

K'ael is working hard to balance a heaping plate of (cold) food, a cup of juice, a pile of papers, and a bubbly that wouldn't quite fit on his plate. The pie ends up in his mouth, and some of the papers slip a bit from underneath his arm as he suddenly turns towards the nearest table to plop everything down, which happens to be the one Taerah is sitting at. As he's shuffling, something slips out of the stack of papers, an envelope addressed to the bronzer with a heart on it. K'ael doesn't notice it though, instead sinking into a seat with an exasperated sigh.

Amelia wanders into the Caverns, wide-eyed and quiet. Though her features might give her away as related to multiple weyr residents and riders, her expression holds a bit of trepidation. Hair askew and clothes sweaty and clingy from effort exerted over the past few hours, her rumbling stomach has persuaded her to hunt down food. Soon after she's entered, the much more familiar Kirilla wanders in, not looking nearly as sweaty though similarly hungry. The two of them collect food and Kirilla, after looking over those currently seated, makes her way over to the table occupied by Taerah and K'ael. "Good afternoon, folks!" The assistant weyrlingmaster is jovial today, smiling wide and sliding into a seat at the table; Amelia joins the table after Kirilla beckons her toward a seat.

The plop-shuffle-sigh draws Taerah from her work once more and she bites at her lower lip, almost whining to herself, so close to finishing that row, though no one would know she was counting. The little hearted envelope catches her eye and she looks over her glasses at it as it slides toward her, a single finger moving to press down on it and stop it, pushing it back toward the man. "I do believe you might want to not lose this.." she suggests, dark eyes lifting to look up at him. The gaze is brief, however, as Amelia and Kirilla join as well and Taerah smiles, looking to the woman, "Good afternoon," she says with a nod of her head.

K'ael gives a nod and a wave to Taerah. Then to Kirilla and finally Amelia. There aren't any audible greetings though right now, his mouth is stuffed with beast-sammich and tubers. Best enjoy it, because once it's clear you likely won't be able to shut him up. He looks back at Taerah with his bright blue eyes, then down at the envelope. There's a grunt and finally he swallows down all his food. "Bleh. Not another one. You can keep it. Anywho, afternoon weyrlingmaster. Ladies. How are we doing today?" The bronzer takes the envelope, but just plops it on the table.

Kirilla eyes the envelope, having noticed it when Taerah pushed it back towards K'ael. "You really ought to be flattered, young man- admirers aside from our dragons are sometimes hard to come by," she winks at him, grinning. Without breathing in between phrases, the middle-aged woman plows ahead. "And if you're lucky enough to have one, well, hold onto them. I was a little silly about that for a few years," Kirilla is cut off by a scoff from Amelia, "A few? Try twenty," which she completely ignores. "And what with the Black Rock goings-on, I did realize it was time to take hold of what I've got." Mercifully, Kirilla stops talking to start eating.

Taerah arches a brow at Mister Gobble-Gut, grinning some as he swallows down a bite to answer about the envelope, "I have no need.." she starts to answer, then he's taking the letter and she grins a little. Suuuuure he doesn't want it. He drops it however and she hrms then looks to Amelia and Kirilla, listening, keeping a pleasant smile on her face, even grinning again as the older woman scolds the young man. She reaches for her glass of juice then sips and sets it down, "I'm Taerah," she says to the group at large.

K'ael grunts. "The handwriting looks like a boy's. Even if it's from a girl, I don't much appreciate games like this anymore." He sighs. "I'm getting too old for pranks and crushes, I guess. I'm looking for a weyrmate, not some silly love letters… Alas…" He pokes at the next of his sandwiches. "Ooh. I'm K'ael. Azaeth's rider. Wingleader." The last bit is sort of a mumble. "Nice to meet you."

While still finishing her mouthful, Kirilla chuckles at K'ael. "Well, maybe you ought to hunt down the source and find out. Maybe it's a rider- not all of them outgoing enough to tell you to your face… or it could be a woman on a brown or blue- might feel they don't have a chance with a bronzerider like yourself. Hello there, Taerah," Kirilla switches gears, again without a breath, smiling warmly at Taerah, "Are you newer? I'm on the weyrling staff. This quiet one is my daughter Amelia," She gives Amelia a strong pat on the back, causing her to cough up the tea she was drinking. "Mother!" Amelia starts dabbing up the liquid, eyeing the books and papers on the table to see if any got on them and already flushing at the indignity.

Dark eyes lower to the letter again and she reaches to turn it where the outside is facing her, tilting her head a bit, "Definitely female.." she says then lifts a look to Kirilla, "I am on assignment here from Harper Hall, I was here before to help with the Founder's Day festivities and have been sent back again, I guess the Weyrwoman approved of my work," she answers. Her gaze shifts back to K'ael and she nods her head, extending a hand, "Nice to meet you, K'ael, and who knows.. maybe your silly love letters now will be treasured memories of meeting your mate..later.." The cough and splatter of tea draws the archivist's hands toward her books and she closes them then smiles at Amelia, "I'll just..tuck these away.."

K'ael frowns. "I don't have time for that sort of thing. And everyone here ought to know that if they want a go with me they can just walk up to me and say hi and smile and that's about all it takes for this bronzer. If you're a lady, I meant." He smiles to Amelia. "Hello, Amelia." Then he peers at Taerah. "Boys don't keep sentimental things like that." The look turns suspicious then. "I bet you know something about these, don't you? Are you writing them?" He waves the envelope around in one hand, a meatroll in the other.

Kirilla is unabashed and stands to go, "Sorry dear, duties call." She winks at K'ael and Taerah, "If it is you, don't let this one get away, my son says he's a good'un." Taking her unfinished plate, Kirilla makes a beeline for the exit, leaving Amelia at the table. The younger girl watches her go, then looks weakly back at the other two. "Uh… sorry. I think she and Pheriannath are due to rise soon, is all." She stops trying to explain her mother, and stuffs a meatroll into her mouth so she doesn't have to speak.

Taerah nods to K'ael as he explains just how easy he is, for the ladies, anyway. Her head tilts and her brows flicker up then down, that 'no really' expression prevalent, he's a guy..of course he's easy! For pretty girls. She blinks down at the note then shakes her head, "Oh yes of course boys keep things like that but this handwriting bears every hint of feminism…if it is a boy he might've had a girl do the writing to throw you off.." she muses. "Definitely written by a girl.." she says, as if an authority on the matter. She grins up at Kirilla and then blinks at K'ael, "I assure you this has /nothing/ to do with me.." she says of the letter to both the bronzer and the lady rider, just as she's taking her leave. "Nice to have met you.." then she smiles at Amelia and nods, understandingly. "I'm no stranger to weyr life.." she says in reply.

K'ael blinks a bit at Kirilla as she goes to leave. "…er…" Then to Amelia. "I… see…" K'ael really shouldn't be so surprised after all. He rubs his head a bit, then looks at Taerah. "Bleh… if it's a boy going through that much deception he would be in for a nice punch in his puss on our first meeting. Even /that/ kind of man is supposed to have some balls." He pounds a fist on the table as if to demonstrate. Then he goes back to eating. "How about you find out who's behind it then for me?"

"You could just ignore the letters? Or post them publicly? Make it known you want it to stop," Amelia offers, having finished her mouthful. She peers over at the letter, "But well, it could be a boy's handwriting. If he was feminine. Mom did have a point, blue and brownriders probably don't feel so good about chances since the dragons wouldn't be able to mate."

Taerah grins some at the punching comment then she nods, "Well.. if you are asking for help.." she starts to say to K'ael then she grins over at Amelia. "There is a possibility, of course, but I'd stake over a decade of the study of handwriting that it's a girl who actually wrote this.." she says with a shrug. "He might want it to look like a girl's, granted but the swirls and things would be different..the writer is also left hand dominant.." she notes. Her eyes flick to K'ael, "It would require some.. sneakiness.." she says with a sly grin.

"I've been trying to ignore the letters." K'ael admits. "And while I don't really appreciate them I don't want to embarrass whoever is writing them either. I just want word to get around.. They could also just put their name in the letter. Then they wouldn't even have to come see me." He shrugs, then laughs. "Azaeth doesn't really chase greens though, that would be pretty limiting as far as selection of riders." That's never stopped the bronzer before, is what he means. He raises a brow at Taerah. "Sneakiness, hm? Well, we'll have to arrange some sort of compensation, I suppose."

Amelia ponders Taerah's words. "Well, when I say it could be a rider, I don't mean it has to be a boy. There are women on browns- and even on blues." She shrugs. "Anyway I think the word's already getting around. I just got moved in this morning and when we were moving in some dragon was talking to Pheriannath about it, and she's all romantic right now and shared."

"Well..that' word is out amongst the dragons in the least and who knows where else..when did you get this one?" Tae asks as she fingers it again. She nods to Amelia, "Indeed.." she says, thinking, then she looks to K'ael again. "Are they delivered or left for you? Who delivers?" and she nods to Quill who clickclicks toward her on his clawtips, sniffing at the letter.

K'ael rubs his face a bit. "I guess because everyone sees it as revenge for me always chasing skirt. Maybe that's why they're so interested. Or maybe we're just all bored here at Xanadu." He shrugs to Taerah. "Sometime between last night and this morning, I guess. That's when the papers showed up. I never see anyone deliver them, they've always just been… conveniently placed. Most times in my office, though once I found one in my clothes while I was having a bath in the springs. Another time slipped under my door.."

Amelia tilts her head, listening to them both, brows furrowing at K'ael. "Boring here? When you have all the Black Rock Hold drama and the trade embargo going down? I don't know if I'd call that boring, though maybe you don't participate in the politics?" She peers toward his knots, "Sorry, I've been gone long enough I don't quite remember which wings are which."

Taerah gives K'ael a sort of smirky look, "Payback eh?" she asks of his reputation for chasing girls. "Well… I suppose the motive is still in question for they ever ask to meet you or…" and she fingers the letter. "May I?" she asks. She smiles over at Amelia then shakes her head, "I may BE boring but I'm not bored.. I'm an archivist.. it'd take a lot to bore me.." and she laughs a little.

K'ael chuckles at Amelia. "I'm not here for the drama. I'm just here to clean up after it." He laughs. "Drama is for the weyrwomen." He points to his knot and looks at it. "Search and rescue. So… if either of you are ever in need of rescuing…" The bronzer grins a bit to both of them and takes a bite of his pie. He waves Taerah on towards the letter. "Knock yourself out. An archivist, hm? You'll have to let me know if you find anything interesting in the records, then."

Amelia manages a smile if not a chuckle, and her expression is admiring. "Search and rescue? I've worked a little with canines and runners on that, back at the hold. I liked it. I don't think I'll ever need rescuing myself, though." She shrugs, still smiling, gaze moving to Taerah. "It could just be someone he rescued, with that in mind. Did you do any rescues right before you started getting the letters?"

Taerah chortles a little, save the drama for your momma! She nods at his explanation of his work as well, "An honorable task," she says of search and rescue then she perks at Amelia's suggestion, "That could very well be.. he's their hero.." Ohhh that could be it. "I sure hope I never need rescuing.." she agrees with the other girl then the idea of compensation returns to mind and she shakes her head, "I don't need compensated..but I find interesteing things all the time.. probably not to a thrill seeker though." She pushes her glasses up again and picks up the letter and opens it carefully then smells it and starts to read, mouthing the words softly.

K'ael nods to Amelia. "Ah. Well, just in case… you'll know who to call, right?" He chuckles. "Ah… I don't do much rescuing really. During a disaster I usually just shout orders at my riders unless they need Azaeth's power. He doesn't fit well into small spaces or anything though, so it's often hard for him to participate. Last one we did was when the beasts broke down the fences…" He grins at Taerah. "I'm not much of a thrill seeker really… I like to read, so there might be something good, right?" The bronzer concentrates on finishing off his lunch though, trying to ignore the letter being read. "So what do you do here at the weyr, Amelia?"

Amelia watches Taerah with fascination, right eyebrow quirking when Taerah sniffs the letter. While the other girl reads, Amelia answers K'ael. "Well, I suppose I'm going to be doing the same things I did at the Hold- work in the stables and with some animal training…" she trails off, then adds, "I don't want to be a crafter, but I'm pretty good with animals. They like me, anyway. And I like'em better'n most people."

Taerah glances up briefly between the pair and then stifles a snicker, ahem, reading more, "Oh my.." she says then folds the letter carefully and lays it down. "Well, I'd guess.. your admirer to be quite young.. though she knows a few proper terms to use there is just that hint of having never /used/ reality.." she says with a nod. She does smile over at Amelia, "Any sort of animal you like best? The runners?" she asks, interested. A glance is flicked to K'ael and she nods "A man who reads.. I'm.. pleasantly surprised.." and she grins a little. "You'd be amazed what you can learn from the old Weyr records… how handwriting has changed.. what is thought of as important changes..generation to can be fascinating."

K'ael nods to Amelia. "Then the herdbeasts can be your problem, and not mine right?" He grins. "I grew up on a cothold. We grew grapes and had a few animals. Though my favorite animal is well… a dragon." The bronzer chuckles a bit, then blinks at Taerah. "What? Let me see that." He tries to snatch the letter back from Taerah. "It's never sounded like that before. Just all 'oh K'ael you're so great' sort of nonsense." He peers at Taerah. "Now now, don't patronize me. Look at all this reading. And shard it all when I was weyrleader. I didn't even get to read anything /fun/ then."

Amelia nods when Taerah mentions the runners. "Them, and the canines. And I'm awfully fond of kittens, too. They're all pretty wonderful." She grins a little when K'ael mentions his own favorites. "I do admit I am fond of the dragons in my family. Though Destroth and J'ril are a little, um…," she pauses, trying to find the proper description for a playboy bronzerider who'll mess around with everyone from weyrlings to weyrwomen. "Well I mean if you were here when-," she cuts off again, face crinkling as she tries to find something tactful. "Anyway Taerah, if this is different from the other letters, maybe he's got /two/ admirers?"

In truth, it's nothing terribly racy but a part of the letter goes into how it would feel to finally kiss him, and at that point the words seem to be written with less ease, perhaps something she'd pick up on, or imagine, it's probably not imagined. Taerah grins as he reaches for the letter and she pushes it away, but then draws her hand back with a 'surrender' sort of expression, letting him at it. She listens to Amelia go on about animals and J'ril and she grins, nodding, "I will need to see the others, yes, I assume you've kept them in a special box.." and she grins widely at K'ael.

K'ael grins to Amelia. "I like cats, too. I have two. I cut down from my original four. We found kittens while I was at Ista." And K'ael has a weakness for things that are tiny and cute. He raises a brow about the dragons in her family though. "I haven't been here so long really. A few turns at best…" He wrinkles his nose at the letter once he gets ahold of it. There's a grunt and he tosses it back down onto the table once he's read it. Then he looks off to the side a bit. "…they might be laying around someplace. I don't know."

Amelia's expression turns warm at the talk of kittens. "They're just the best. Firelizards are cool, but there's just something about cats. Probably their fur. And their purr. Happiness is the sound of a purr," her face is soft, then she shrugs and smiles at the both of them. "I bet Taerah'll be able to figure out your admirer. I've read stories where mysteries got solved just through handwriting and language. And well, a weyr's not so huge a place. If it is a dragonrider, the dragon won't be able to keep it a secret too long, and if it's not, that cuts down on the possibilities."

Taerah smiles, "I don't really have a way of keeping a pet like that.." she says, perhaps a bit wistfully of the thought of kittens or canines. She nods to Amelia, "Especially when they are babies, so fuzzy and cute," she agrees. A blush touches her cheeks at Amelia's confidence in the solving of the mystery and she lifts her shoulders then pulls her glasses from her face and holds them by one earpiece, twirling them a bit. "Well.." and she grins at K'ael's aloof answer about the letters' whereabouts, "… I guess we'll see if we can turn up anything."

K'ael chuckles and nods. "And they're so tiny and cute at first. How could you turn one away?" The bronzer cups his hands to indicate the tininess of a kitten." He nods. "Well, I hope she does. Or maybe whoever it is will find someone else to pine after and I'll be off the hook." He looks to Taerah then. "You don't have your own room or anything? Anyways, you two are welcome to come share my cats. My weyr is in the meadow. It'll be the one with the big scary bronze next to it. Unfortunately it's back to work for me." He motions to the paperwork, then as he stands up he collects it. "I'll leave the letter with my own personal private eye here. See you later, ladies."

Amelia beams. "I'd love to meet your cats sometime, I love to meet new ones. Have a nice day, sir!" Kitties! They dance across her eyes- someone watching would practically be able to see the wheels turning, then she calms down and finishes up her tea. "I should go finish unpacking and check on our runners, too. It was nice meeting you both." She also gets up, with significantly more bounce than she had when she entered the caverns. It doesn't take much for Amie to become more at ease, and she calls back to Taerah as she leaves, "Good luck, detective!"

Taerah smiles at K'ael, "I never know..well.. I've just never been too tied down, a little when I lived here last.." she says then shakes her head. "I'm not sure a kitten would enjoy being cooped up in a least Quill can take off as he pleases.." Said flit is curled up asleep at the moment, fat belly and all. She looks up at the bronzer and then curls her hand around the letter, "Well, an interested party anyway," she says, "..not anyone's." She looks up at Amelia too then smiles, "It was lovely to meet you too, both of you," she says then puts her glasses back on and goes back to her books as the pair departs, "The meadow," she mutters then tucks the letter in her book and starts to count again.

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