The Domino Effect

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.

One table out of all of them has been sectioned off by chairs. There are a few people crowded around the table, watching Chaton at work. Well, more like play. Chaton has small rectangular blocks of wood, and is setting them up edgewise on the large table. The blocks are in the almost completed shape of a dragon and rider's outline. There are blocks in the center, giving some texture to the dragon's flanks and the rider's legs. Chaton's hair is plastered to his face with sweat, as he carefully places a few more blocks, being extra extra extra careful not to nudge anything over.

With the first hints of spring lingering around Xanadu, Niva has been glad to spend some time out of doors - and she's heading inside, Cavin in tow, though the boy is quickly passed off to the nanny who's waiting. The Senior's path, however, is diverted at the sight of the gathering, joining the ring around the table, arms folded over her chest as she watches with interest.

Chaton pokes his tongue out through his lips as he places the last block, then steps back, grinning. "Perfect! Now, nobody touch the table or I shall remove their fingers from their hands!" he warns as he darts out to get a glass of water. As soon as he's back, he's placing the water cup at the tip of the dragon's tail, where some sort of ramp has been devised. "Brilliant. Now, everyone get a nice long look."

Kire comes in from the Hot springs as he's washed up from working at the construction site. He sees Chaton and wonders what he is doing as he moves over to see what is going on. He nodes politely to those that he knows as he crosses his arms just to watch the mind healer.

Its a raised eyebrow that is most noticeable about Niva, the Senior Weyrwoman walking along the outside of the group, looking over all those who are seated, getting a different perspective on the… structure on the table, watching Chaton as he darts off, and then he's returning. "And just what do you think you're doing, Journeyman?" She asks curiously.

Chaton grins. "You've never seen a set-up before?" he asks, his voice quick. "You should be the one to flick them over." he nods. "See the dragon's snout? the one block sticking out? Knock it over, and all the rest will crumple one after the other in turn. It's quite fun." he laughs, nodding. "Give it a go. Two hours to set up, thirty seconds to knock down."

Kire ahs as he starts to see the pattern, "That's rather ingenious. I've seen children playing with them before, but nothing ever set up like this."

"I can't say that I have." Niva comments slowly, looking over the dragon again, shaking her head. "I think I'll leave that to someone else." She says, turning to walk back the other way, motioning for the Journeyman, or one of the others who are interested take down all the hard work.

Chaton nods. "It's quite fun. It's like sleeping at the end of a day of hard work. You have a lot of buildup, the suspense grows, and then, " he flicks his fingers at the air like he's tumbling them, " it's all over, and you get the long awaited release." he watches Niva start to walk off. "Oh, come on! Knocking them over is the best part! You'd be doing me an honour Weyrwoman…." he pauses, not knowing her name.

"I'm certain it is, Healer, but it would be a pity to see so much work disappear in a split second." Niva comments as she turns back, turning to look the dragon on headon. After a moment though, glancing over the faces of those gathered, and the Healer himself, her mouth twitches, a smile showing for a moment. "I'm certain that it would be something favored by a child.." But never the less, the Weyrwoman gives in, cutting through the crowd to nudge the magic piece out of place.

Kire just watching and he wonders if the Weyrwoman will knock over the first piece. He smiles as it seems that even the goldrider can't resist the temptation at the planned destruction. He watches on in awe as the pieces start to fall.

Chaton watches as the whole thing falls over, one at a time with that classic domino sound. He watches as it branches off into two, then three different lines falling, the rider collapsing on the fallen body of his dragon, then the two lines of the tail tinkling down down down untill they merge at the tip, flipping one of the blocks over and into the air to land perfectly into the glass of water! Chaton woops and bounces on the spot, clapping! "Brilliant! Best set-up I've ever done!" he grins at the weyrwoman. "Wasn't that fun?" he asks, eagerly. Of course it was!

Kire grins as he watches the domino's fall over and he claps his hands as the demonstration ends, "That was a great job Chaton, how long did it take you to do all this?"

Chaton smiles. "Chaton, Weyrwoman. Please." he smiles at the smaller kid. "Two hours, and I loved every second of it." he turns back to the weyrwoman. "I'm glad you enjoied it. I'm sorry I clogged up one of your tables. I'll have it back to working order as soon as possible."

"Its hardly *my* table. Hisolda's the one who would be… less than pleased with the loss of a table." Niva says with a wink, nodding to the table. "It was impressive, Chaton." The Weyrwoman agrees, before she's turning past the table, her original path resumed, as she glances back over her shoulder. "Though, I must hope that you apply the same diligence to your studies, Healer, that you apply to your games."

Kire nods a little bit, "Well it was very impressive, you should do a big one for a gather or something like that."

Chaton bows at the Weyrwoman. "I assure you, Weyrwoman, I study dilligently. Have a nice night, madam." he looks at Kire. "I will, as soon as I get more blocks. A big one in the middle of the floor, with the tables pushed aside, if Hisolda doesn't try to slice me like a wherry." his eyes twinkle at the very thought as he starts to collect the small bricks from the table into a basket.

T'burk comes in and salutes to the group of people. "Western's duties to Xanadu and her Queens," he states. "I have Healer Hall business with Healer Chaton."

"Good night, Journeyman, Apprentice." Niva calls back over her shoulder, tossing one more look at the others before she's disappearing down the hallway to her office.

Chaton hears his name after "healer" and shoots his head up. "T'burk?" he looks at him. "Ah! It is you! I knew it was you!" he grins, sitting down the basket. "Goodnight, Weyrwoman!" he calls after her, hurrying over to T'burk. "What brings me the honour?"

Kire waves to Niva, "Good night Weyrwoman." He ahs, "Well don't let her catch with me, you'll get in double trouble." He nods, "Do you make the blocks yourself or just buy them?"

T'burk addresses Chaton, "I have a request for you to take a case that requires a mindhealer. Would you hanve time?"

Chaton nods. "Of course I would have the time. In fact, I would be more than interested. Oh, would you hold on a moment?" he hands his basket to Kire. "There are two hundred here. You can borrow them if you clean off the table. I can always make more." he turns back to T'burk. "Now, as I was saying, of course I'd be interested. What case do you have?"

Kire shakes his head, "No thanks, I'm going to get something to eat. Good luck I hope you can help that person." He goes off to get something to eat.

T'burk says "It's for a rider who is being held, ah, prisoner at Ista, intersetingly enough. You would have to go there, I'm afraid." T'burk pulls a piece of his paper from his pocket and looks at it. "She seems to not be so cognizant of her situation, she does not seem to be able to determine right from wrong, rambles when she talks." He looks up to explain to Chaton, "She was apprehended at the time a fire was set at Red Tide Hold. Supposedly she had something to do with it but the Harper who was questioning her found her almost incoherent in her answers. He requested that one, preferably two Healers with a MindHealer background work with her to see if she is competent enough to stand trial."

Chaton nods. "I see. Alright I'll get over there straight-away. Thank you for giving this to me. I seriously owe you."

T'burk says "No problem. If you can help her, my Grandson would be very appreciative. I think he has hopes of helping this person but the WeyrWoman at Ista is not so sympathetic."

Chaton nods. "I understand. I'll do my best. So, any specifics that I need to know of? Prior treatment? History…?"

T'burk shakes his head and raises his hands and drops them at his sides. "I've no idea. I haven't seen her myself. It's just what I got from my grandson who's met with her a couple of times. He says that at the time of the fire she was found in an abandoned Hall home looking for treasure…which for her was ribbons." He looks at Chaton and raises his eyebrows. "She had a younger male rider with him who was the one who set a fire in the forest behind the Hold to create a diversion to their pilfering. I don't know what the connection is there, but I don't know if he was apprehended or not."

Chaton nods. "I see. I dunno, I'd have to look at her a bit before I can make an assumption." he nods. "So, what have you been up to since you left?" he asks, starting to sweep the table clear of the blocks.

T'burk slides down into a chair across from Chaton. "Just taking care of business, the usual. In the middle of a game here?"

Chaton shakes his head. "I had a set-up. The weyrwoman knocked it down for me. " he grins, putting them back into a basket. "I have fun with it. Some kid watched, and he enjoied it." he grins. "IT's good to be a kid every once and a while."

T'burk says "You know," and raises a finger in a sagely manner, "I do agree with that." He helps to gather up the dotted tiles then pauses as he holds one, rubbing a thumb over it. "Chaton?"

Chaton looks up from his collecting the bricks. "What?"

T'burk takes a breath. "Would you be willing to see my son sometime? The rider at Ista is…well, you would need to see her first. But…maybe later…if you could talk to him."

Chaton nods. "Of course I would look at him. I would do anything for a friend, T'burk, and you are indeed a good friend." he nods. "I would see anyone you asked me to." he smiles, but manages to look somewhat serious at the same time. "Is there something wrong that I should know about?"

Vora comes hurtling through the conversationalists, carrying a heavy tray loaded with steaming pastries: meatrolls, fruitrolls, and two pitchers of klah standing like statues in the motley of baked foodstuffs. Slip, the ever-faithful, ever-beloved, ever-obnoxious is perched on her shoulder - the one bearing most of the tray's weight, of course - and chittering in her ear like a three-year-old weyrbrat. She stops near the duo and sets the tray down on a table set near the fireplace for this purpose and approaches the two, gesturing to the tray. Vora gives her most luminous smile and says, "Would either of you like a bite? I've been directed by the headwoman to find all those who have seem to have deserted the kitchens in favor of their chores and, well… demand that they eat something before our Weyr dies off of self-inflicted famine."

Chaton looks up at Vora. "Oh. I've just been occupying this table for the past two hours, and now I'm cleaning up the aftermath of a domino-brick topple." he grins. "So, yes, I am starving to death." he grins as he plucks a meatroll from the tray and shoves it in his mouth, turning back to T'burk. "Ahs you where sahying?"

T'burk says "My son…S'dan…is 47. Several Turns ago he fell in love with someone he shouldn't have. But, from all I can tell, they loved each other very much. They had a child together about two and a half turns ago. But…things happened. Someone came between them…someone else pushed his way in between them…and he was hurt. Then there was an acident that he doesn't even remember because, among other things, he sustained a blow to the head with a rock and he's lost a good two Sevendays of memory."

Jessamin slips inside, with her arms full of her sewing basket, and her shoulders full of two good-sized brown firelizards. A smaller blue and green fly in behind her, keeping close and chittering away amongst themselves. She settles down in a chair by the fireplace and rummages through her basket, largely keeping to herself for the time being and concentrating on her work. Her left hand still bears a bandage, but she is at least making use of it.

Chaton nods quietly, his mouth full. "Mhm. I'll look at him as well. Anything for you my friend. Can I intrest you in some wine perhaps?" he asks, after swallowing.

T'burk takes a deep breath. "Please. I would love some wine. Thank you, Chaton. Ah, anything but Tillek, please." He rubs his forehead and looks around the room as he hears more people coming in. He smiles when he sees his young friend the seamstress. "Jessamin!" he calls out to her. "Good evening!" How are you doing tonight? The hand better now?"

Jessamin hurriedly stuffs something she was pulling out of her basket back where she got it from, smiling oh so sweetly and innocently; a brief glimpse of a yellow, lilac, and white floral theme on sandy cream field can be seen before being hidden from view once more. She winces a little bit as she pushes her hand a little too hard into the basket, but makes no sound. "Oh, I'm doing alright. What about you?"

Vora beams happily. "Luckily for you, the headwoman sent me with the best Benden wine in hopes it would at least help me stop you silly busy riders for a moment, and then lure you into eating." She lifts the pitcher of wine from behind the klah and sets out some of the cups hidden in the table for this very purpose. She pours four cups to be safe, and offers one to each. Her best smile at T'burk as she hands him his, to lighten her teasing some. "One for the silly rider, here, oh, would you like some, lovely?" She offers a cup to Jessamin. "Don't forget to eat, everyone, or it'll be my head!" Then, worriedly, "Oh, Jess, are you alright? Was it a prick?"

R'zel makes his way into the cavern with a slightly tired smile on his face. It's been another long day of drills and exercises and the weyrling is badly in need of food and rest. He makes his way straight to the serving tables and collects a heaping plate of meat and veggies along with a cool mug of juice.

T'burk gladly accepts the wine with a smile. "Benden! Now there is a decent wine. Thank you so much, ma'am," he says and slowly sips to enjoy the taste. He slumps back in his chair, legs stretched out beneath the table.

Chaton looks skeptically at the wine placed in front of him and sniffs at it. "I've never had wine before, and I don't beleive that this is a good time to start…" he says, prodding at the liquid with his pinky finger. He looks over at jess. "Yeah, what *did* you do?" he asks, frowning. He absently sticks his pinkey into his mouth and hms. "It's sweet…" he observes, but he doesnt move to take the glass.

"Minor accident the other day, took a bit of a cut to my hand." She pulls her hand from the basket, at the same time accepting the glass of wine from Vora. "Thank you… I haven't seen you much since Stitch and your flit hatched. How have you been?" She chuckles softly, trilling a little greeting to the flit on Vora's shoulder. She takes a sip of the wine, but makes no move towards the food; she seems more interested in her work, and keeping some of it out of sight. A semi-familiar footfall alerts her to R'zel's presence; she waves to him, calling out. "Hello there! How's the training going?"

Vora gives Jessamin's wound a cursory glance, affirming that it isn't serious enough for a visit to the infirmary, and then says, "His name's Slip, now. She gestures over to where the little rascal is tearing apart a fruitroll, to find that it is, indeed, only a fruitroll to his great displeasure and disappointment. "I've been alright and, oh, hullo there!" and then goes to croon over R'zel in a motherly tone, which might be a tad awkward what with his being a couple of turns older than her, and offers him a /few/ more meatrolls to heap on his plate. "Klah, dear? Wine, perhaps?" Even as she offers this, she twists about to glare at Chaton playfully, "What, I didn't put anything in it!" She hmphs, but laughs even as she grabs the cup from him with mock-indignance and walks over to R'zel, pushing the wine and the pitcher of klah nearby his way. "Here, you must have something other than that juice. You look tired." My, she's in quite the bouncy mood today. She calls over her shoulder to Chaton, "There's more if you change your mind!"

R'zel gives Vora a bright smile at the offers, just a little amused by her motherly tone. "As lovely as the wine sounds, we weyrlings still aren't allowed it yet. Come find me at graduation, I'll gladly take you up on that then." He instead grabs another mug and pours himself some klah. "Thank you very much…" He is shaken out of his tired daze by the greeting from Jessamin, giving her a wide smile and making his way toward her table, setting down his plate and mug. "Jess! Hi! Good to see you! How's the hand?" Clearly she's going to keep getting that question.

R'zel settles into a chair. "Training is… well, it's a lot of work. But in a good way!" After spotting T'burk nearby, he gives the familiar greenrider a smile and wave. "Hello! T'burk, right?"

T'burk nods. "Yes, indeed, good weyrling! How long before you graduate?"

Jessamin smiles just a little bit, picking up her sewing and rising from her chair; the wine is set down on a nearby table, and she makes her way to the hot springs. Her flits chitter indignantly at her as their human perch is moved suddenly from beneath them, nearly dislodging the two browns from her shoulders.

Tellus walks in to the cavern with an apprentice at her side. The pair seem to be talking about something then the junior of the two comes to a stap. In a caring voice Tellus says with a smile, "Go get yourself one of those soothing baths or something, that should get you feeling better soon enough." The apprentice nods then departs further in to the bowels of the weyr, with Tellus glancing around.

Chaton cautiously picks up the glass of wine and takes a sip before sitting it back down. He wrinkles his nose, waiting, perhaps, to see if his insides are going to burst into flame or something. "Yes, good weyrling indeed. I'm still of the opinion that most weyrlings are in serious need of mental help, but…" he puts the glass to his lips and takes another sip. "… this isn't half bad." he says, and with his caution thrown out like that, he procedes with the wine as he does everything else- as fast as possible- and downs it. "Eh. Not bad."

Vora laughs at her own social faux de pas. "Oh, I apologize. I'd forgotten that you poor weyrlings are hardly allowed a moment's rest, let alone a drop of wine!" She teases, then moves to sit down, Slip clambering over the table and flying over in what could be a crash course with Vora's head. Instead, he backwings and lands gracefully… in her hair. She snorts un-gracefully up at him and smoothes down her hair, dislodging him into her lap. She beams at Chaton, "See? Good stuff, that Benden wine."

R'zel grins at Vora. "Don't think anything of it. Really, the offer is quite tempting." He then gives T'burk a wide smile. "Not soon enough. But they have us doing manned flight drills, and they're saying we'll start betweening very soon. After that, it can't be much longer until graduation." He turns back towards where Jessamin was sitting. "So, how is…" Upon noticing that the girl is up and leaving the cavern, he frowns with mild worry. "… I'll be right back." He leaves his food and rises from his seat, moving to follow her.

Tellus glances around, she spots T'burk and decides to head over to him, "Is that you T'burk?"

T'burk nods. "Yes, it is, Tellus. Good evening to you! How have you been doing?"

Vora smiles at the other pair, then turns her smile empathetically to Chaton. "It's like that in the kitchens, too, during a busy week for the Weyr." She scratches the back of her neck and sighs. "Would you like to share your week? I'm actually quite interested."

"Oh, I'm doing really well." Tellus says with a smile. "Ran in to your grandson, Kadan, about a month or so ago. You and he share quite a bit of a family resemblance if I do say so myself." She waves to the others that are nearby as well.

T'burk nods his head with a bit of a crooked, rakish smile on his face. "I will take that as a compliment that I look like him! Where was it you saw him? I got a message from him just earlier today."

Chaton hms at Vora. "Well, to be honest, I talked to a patient who swore that the ghost of a long dead weyrwoman was following her around and talking behind her back to the waitstaff. I spoke with another rider who has recurring nightmares about a spider eating him. I had to be rescued by T'burk, um.. lets see… oH yes! And I had an elder smack me with her cane because I wasn't fast enough with some bandages that I was putting on her in the infirmary." he thinks for a moment. "No… that's pretty much it. And that's not mentioning the bumps, scrapes, and other bits that I have had to stitch up. I may specialize in mindhealing, but I still have to take care of the fun dirty stuff, too." Chaton stands up. "The baths sound nice right about now." he says, waving and walking off to the baths.

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