Plagued by Uncertainty

Xanadu Weyr - Archives
The walls and ceiling of this large, windowless room have been fitted with wooden paneling and flooring to cover cold stone. Kept polished, the dark finish gleams, and the thick tapestry on the floor muffles footsteps and further insulates from unwanted noise. Those wooden panels are set with tall shelves that contain ledgers and tomes, maps and diagrams from the first founding of Xanadu to the present. The shelves encroach and fill the room, and one can find - arranged by topic - the records of domestic Weyr management, wing statistics, weyrling management, diplomatic efforts, weather reports, events and vital statistics all dating back over one hundred and fifty turns.
Though kept scrupulously clean and in glass-fronted cabinets, it's impossible for the older tomes not to have gathered some dust and mold over time, so the scent upon entering is of antiquity - musty, earthy and rich. Electricity provides ample lighting with which to see, tuned by spectrum to minimize fading of the pages. A large wooden table sits in the center of the room with several seats arranged around it. Placed on the polished top is a stack of paper, a container of writing instruments, a large magnifying glass and basket of emergency glows.
In one shadowy corner, there's a service access - almost invisible behind the panel that forms the door but given away by the brass key hole set at waist high in the wood. As it is kept locked, one would need a very good reason for wanting admittance and seek the appropriate person having the key to unlock it - the steward, the headwoman or one of the weyrleaders.

If one ever has reason to seek solace, the archives is a great place to find it. It's one of those 'road less traveled' places, frequented mostly by historians and junkies of all things ancient. History usually isn't one of those topics that really gets the blood flowing in most, Ka'el included, but oftentimes the Weyrleader finds himself here seeking answers that he can't find in living, breathing sources. And so, he hits the books. Or parchments. Or scrolls. Or diagrams… It all depends on what he seeks. The season is late. Summer is just around the corner, and spring is going out with a warm rainshower this afternoon. Ka'el's glad for the weather, even though this windowless room doesn't grant him any view of it. Rain has a 'clean' feeling. It washes away dirt and grime and sour feelings and leaves things feelng fresh and new. And with the current circumstances being what they are, a feeling of cleanliness and health surely isn't going to hurt things. The Weyrleader is dressed as he usually is when he's working. Dark black slacks and a pale blue collared shirt make up his attire. A jacket is slung over a chair, and he currently is rummaging through a set of pages on a shelf that date back..oh, many turns.

A warm rain shower may be tempting to walk through! Or dance or skip through or whatever may strike one's mood but for today, one has resisted such temptations. Too much to do, for such things, but apparently there is time to browse the Archives or, perhaps, intrude on one occupants solace. Kiena has been at her desk but felt the need to stretch her legs and perhaps enjoy a change of scenery. The outdoors were considered, rain or not, but with a sigh she stays indoors. Better not tempt fate, given recent events. So in she wanders, a small sheet at hand of books or scrolls she should be looking up. Instead she tucks it away and, with quiet steps, spies herself out a Weyrleader and without even asking if he prefers company, just flops in a nearby chair across from him. Ungracefully too, but that's always been Kiena's style. "Afternoon," she drawls with a half-crooked smirk. "What'cha reading? Looks…" Pause. "…thrilling?" Maybe not the best word for most of the documents here.

There are a lot of papers to go through, if Ka'el in fact plans on going through them all with a fine-tooth comb. Which… he isn't. His style is more of a 'glance and skim' type, pausing only when he thinks he's skimmed over something significant. He's brought some pages back to the table to study over, and thus doesn't even notice Kiena's arrival until she's plopped herself down in front of him. He glances up at her, then sits up upon seeing that she's not a random stranger come to study some random thing. "Afternoon," he answers with a nod of his head, shifting a page from the 'to skim' pile to the 'already skimmed' pile to his right, careful to keep things in order. Thrilling? He chuckles once at the word. "Interesting is the better word. Or … relevant," He says with his eyes back on the page in front of him. "Records are kept of everything. Every hatching, birth, death, resident who moves, catastrophe that's befallen Xanadu in the past … I figure, if there ever was a 'plague' or illness that's spread over our Weyr in the past, here's where it would've been written of. To have a little insight on how things were handled in the past, what was successful, what wasn't, makes me feel a little more prepared." A snerk. "If not just a little more competent with all this."

"Relevant and interesting… same thing, isn't it?" Kiena drawls where she settles herself rather comfortably in her chair. Comfortable being, of course, a slouched posture and a rather nonchalant attitude. Mostly a front and those who've known her long enough know it. Beneath, the Weyrsecond is all seriousness and focused. "Wouldn't be much of an Archive if those records weren't within it," she replies with a touch of sarcasm and another half-smirk as she regards Ka'el curiously and then the pile of reading materials he's been sifting through. "Good course of action, though honestly you'd think we'd have learned a thing or two since Moreta's time. There's a ballad about it and everything!" Granted, it's more about Moreta's ride to save all those holds but… details! Kiena shakes her head. "Aside from shutting off all contact and trade with affected areas, what more can be done, save to wait on word from Healer Hall and keep our own eyes sharp. Which, by the way… you've heard that Healer Hall is affected now too?" She lets that hang for a moment, her eyes almost level to his gaze. Then, without so much as a twitch to her expression: "Fort Weyr has confirmed cases." Cases. Not singular. Plural. Maybe he's already heard, but regardless it's the news to be shared while they're on the topic.

Ka'el half-chuckles at her sarcasm, eyes kept on the papers for a while longer before they shift to a notebook, in which he writes. When done, a slow breath is exhaled and his writing utensil is left to fall while he flexes his fingers. This surely brings back memories of note-taking during Weyrlinghood! … He doesn't miss that part of it at all. "Yes, I've heard," he answers, his gaze flicking to her at the mentioning of Healer Hall. "Kera has been contacted and is under quarantine there. The Weyrwomen and I met the other day to discuss our next steps to keep Xanadu unaffected. As much as we can." He faintly lifts a brow at her news regarding Fort. "With their latest festival and the case at Healer's Hall, it's unsurprising. Large inter-Weyr gathers are being suspended for now here, and with what you say about Fort, apparently it's a good call. It's unfortunate for them, though. Hopefully this .. plague doesn't end up being a fatal thing."

Who would remember note taking with enjoyment? Kiena would likely join Ka'el on his side, that is for certain! So it's a wonder she's able to sit so still and calm at a desk most of the days and even now in the Archives. Again, she gives that strange half-smirk that is neither a smile or entirely amused but a signal that she's understood or already knows a fraction or tidbit of what Ka'el shares with her. Now he's just gone and confirmed it all or re-confirmed in an odd way of reassurance for her that she hasn't gone and muddled up her facts. There's only so much a mind can handle! "Of all the places Kera had to contract the illness, she at least chose the one place where she's to get all the help one could ask for and from the best minds the Healercraft can offer?" Silver lining? Kind of. Kiena's eyes do flicker for a moment in concern, likely having thought often of the greenrider but her attention is soon drawn back to the Weyrleader. "That festival was already underway for a few days before the whole situation with Half Moon Bay. It was already too late…" But she shrugs at this, hands spreading out helplessly. "I agree — for now it's best to keep any mingling between Weyrs at a minimal. We've still trade to be concerned of but… we'll sort it out. Could be this whole thing blows over and we're not even so much as grazed in the slightest bit. Fatal? Eh, well…" Kiena frowns in thought, pulling at her lower lip slightly before shaking her head. "What I could make of the notice from Healer Hall is it's not the illness itself that kills but the… hmm, what's the shardin' term… Complications? Secondary infections or underlying problems that kill. Which is why the deaths so far are the old. Like in the past sicknesses. Usually takes out the old and the very young first."

"Last I heard she was unaffected. But that could've changed…" says Ka'el whose mouth slightly pulls down into a frown. "I don't like being motionless. Having to stay and wait feels like a useless waste of time, but I know it's the best thing that anyone can do. If she's at all infected, she's in the best possible hands … even though home is where I want her and any other Xanadu rider to be." He rises from his chair now, collecting those papers to carefully refile in their correct slots. By date. By year. Everything in its rightful place. He's still listening to her even with his back turned and drawers being pulled out and pushed back in. A nod is seen every once in a while as a social cue that he is in fact paying attention to what she says. He returns to the table once the last paper is put away and sinks back into his chair, closing up his notebook afterwards. "People have been armed with redwort. The larger gathering places have been using it to clean with. The tavern. Caverns. Nursery. It'll be largely left up to the people to use their common sense now. If they're feeling ill, common sense says to stay away from others. Seek a healer." He shakes his head. "Unfortunately, not everyone has common sense, but the most of what we can do is what I don't like doing: Wait. Hopefully, we'll be spared."

Kiena nods her head and while her frown remains in place and her concerns surface again if only for another brief moment before she's quickly pushing them back. "I worry about her too," she admits. "But she's strong. If anyone can get through it, she will. She'll be home soon enough." she murmurs, all hints of her sarcasm or nonchalant behaviour gone. She sounds sincere and her tone is oddly gentle and she is quiet while Ka'el sorts through his paperwork. Not wanting to disturb him, while he goes about it and she will tilt her head, listening intently while he goes on to speak. "No, unfortunately there will be those too stubborn to follow through with what should be common sense. Yet seems already you've done all that can be done to prepare and as precaution. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, well… we dodged it then. All there is too it, in this case." With a lot of hope on the side. Belatedly, she snorts. "I'm not one who likes to sit idle either and just wait but… what choice do we have?" Not much. Kiena seems ready to let such talk slide, however. It's almost depressing. "Aside from all this… preparing and what not… How've you been of late? Administrative stuff aside?"

Ka'el will be all too happy to put the plague behind him, especially if Xanadu gets no cases of it! He can hope and … well, that's all he can really do. And so when the topic changes to other things, he's glad for it. Talking about the plague is probably going to bring it to their Weyr, and even though that sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo, when it comes to illness, not even he is willing to take the risk. His eyes are on her again, and with his look comes with it a smile that was absent before. "Good," he answers, twirling the pen absently. "Broadening my horizons for .. admnistrative purposes," he says, unable to really put that part of his life aside since it makes up such a big part of it, "and personal ones. Making new friends abroad. Catching up with old ones I haven't seen in … heh, turns. It's crazy when you stop and realize how easy time can get away from you, and when you see a person after so long, it's as if they're a different person entirely. Yet…still very much the same." A smirk for that, and the pen gets another twirl. "Skyler's turnday is…" he pen pauses, and a bit of the smile dampens, yet doesn't fully disappear, "soon. We've been planning his celebration and invited friends abroad but, with the illness, it'll probably be a smaller affair than we anticipated. But…as long as he's having fun, it'll make no difference if there are three or three hundred people in attendance." His brows raisea little. "And yourself?"

Kiena chuckles dryly. "Guess you can't really take the Weyrleader out of it, huh?" she muses, knowing full well of what that answer may be. She's back to being casual and her usual rough-edged self now that they've moved away from the talk of plague and the troubling thoughts it brings. She'll have time later to brood. For now, she smiles crookedly and gives him a sidelong look. "Bit of shock, isn't it? How time affects us all in different ways." she agrees, only to quirk a brow at his pause and then relax again. "Th'ero had contacted me stating he had had plans to bring Kyzen and the twins Aranthi and Elladyr but… they're in Keroon now with their uncle and aunt." The whys are left unsaid and probably for good reason and Kiena is quick to switch topics. "Ezzie and Ellie should be in attendance at least and they've sworn to me they'll be on their best behaviour!" Suuure they will — well, Ellie will be. Ezzie is too much like her mother. "Me?" Kiena stretches out in her chair and resettls, arms now crossed loosely over her chest. "Oh, not much. Duties, clearly, take up most of the time but I've been doing my share of visiting. Did end up going on a small vacation. Lemos. Beautiful forests, if that's your cup 'o tea." she drawls. The vacation he likely knows of, obviously. Having had to ask permission, sign off the time and all that other goodly stuff. She pauses, before speaking up again. "Aaaaannd… I'm weyrmated again. Who'd have thought, eh?" Kiena grins then, looking almost sheepish to admit it.

"I don't think I've yet met them," comments Ka'el on The'ro's children. "Any of them, actually. It's unfortunate that they won't be able to attend." He doesn't ask for the details, especially since the details don't seem to be elaborated on on their own. No need to be nosy! His expression slightly warms at the mentioning of her daughters' willingness to come. "Hopefully they won't be too bored entertaining a one turn old," he says. "And I've only ever seen the both of them on their best behavior. I've faith," he says with a chuckle. He busies his hands with stacking the few books that he had laid about the table to put away later. Or perhaps he'll leave them here for someone else to put away. Weyrleader priviledges are convenient sometmes! He nods about the vacation time. And duties. Story of any rider's life. And weyrmating? Not as usual. He pauses there, looking at her with an initial expression that hardly screams excited joy. But, heh. He smiles in a polite sort of way and nods his head. "Congratulations." He finishes stacking that last book of illnesses and medical maladies.

"Another time, perhaps. Once this all blows over I could try and tempt my brother to bring them by. Strange, now that I think of it, I've brought the girls over to Fort more often than he's brought his children here…" Kiena mutters. For shame! She snickers, "So he owes me and my terms will be that I am not alone in watching them. Promise I'll give you some warning if he ends up coming too. Y'know… whole visiting Weyrleader protocol and yadda, yadda and so forth." Cue a flippant roll of her hand. She acts like she doesn't care or respect it, but she does. No rules will be bent! "The girls? Nah. They're good at keeping themselves entertained. Oh? Well, careful what you wish for, Ka'el. Their tantrums are quite the event to behold. Don't worry, I'll be sure to haul them away less the party be unhinged by their, ah… lack of manners." Because seven Turn old girls should know better, right? Uh huh. To the congratulations, Kiena's smile broadens and now she does look sheepish! Or possibly even giddy. Rare thing to see the bluerider actually happy, especially of late. "Still feels so odd, y'know? Surreal. Like I woke up in a dream… or someone else's." There's a bit of a laugh. "Shells, that doesn't make much sense, does it?"

The edge of Ka'el's mouth quirks briefly, though it may be difficult to discern if it a quirked smile or somethng else. Whichever the case, it lasts not long and the Weyrleader does what Weyrleaders can become pros at doing (and do become pros at doing if they aim to keep their santiy during their Weyrleadership): He listens without comment. Kiena speaks, he has little to say. Or, more accurately, chooses to say little, at least on the subject of living a dream. He chuckles slightly, eyes shifting away from her and to the spine of a book on a nearby shelf, though it's too far for him to read what's been scrawled upon it. His distraction is temporary though, and eventually his eyes are back on Kiena, who again is given a smile of an answer. As for her question? He doesn't have much of an answer to that either, but he does offer another, "Congratulations," to her.

Kiena dips her head again to his congratulations and it is there that she seems to sense something is amiss. Her brows knit together and that broad smile begins to falter, slipping back to one that is more carefully guarded but doesn't quite mask the confusion that lingers there too, along with a few other emotions thrown in. A blink and then it's gone and she's back to her usual laid-back self. "Been so long since I've felt this happy, I almost forgot what it was like." she murmurs quietly and then with a soft exhale, she pushes back her hair and stands. "But, I won't bore you with the details." Kiena drawls, giving him a sidelong look and a twisted smirk that follows. "And I will leave you to your work. Hopefully the next news we hear from abroad and beyond is a little more on the lighter side of things, eh?"

"Hopefully," answers Ka'el to her latter comment, nodding once. Again, the sooner this plague thing turns to an event of the past to jot down in the history books, the better for everyone! That neutral look remains. The polite smile that's neither too big or too small. The expression reserved for meetings that must take place whether they're wanted or not. It's an artform he's had turns of practice with now, yet it isn't quite a mask he's felt need to have in these types of situations. With a Weyrsecond he chose himself long before now. But it's the 'now' that makes the difference. Time, and the changes that come with it. She's standing and he remains where he is, with the books that likely will be looked through. A notebook with empty pages for more important details to be jotted. He watches her and his smile fades from his face. From his mouth and eyes, though it never really was seen in the eyes anyway. Masks can't cover everything. "I've never been very good at pretending to be something that I'm not, and it seems silly to start now. It'd be untrue to say that I've never liked him. I did. When he was a kid. When I was a kid. But when we were to stop being children, I found it difficult to find anything like or trust. I don't like him. I won't like him. And I can't bring himself to trust him again. For your sake, I hope whatever he's shown you is more than what I've seen of him." A breath, and yet another nod. "Congratulations, Kiena, and good afternoon to you."

Kiena 's brows lift as she stands there, watching Ka'el and listening to the words. Her expression is unsurprised and while in the past, when she was younger, she may have reacted with anger. Now? It is only sadness. Sadness and pity, of all things. Sighing, she shakes her head. "And I've told you before I'm not expecting you to like him. But neither am I just going to pretend that he's not a part of my life and not bring it up in conversation." She pauses, choosing her words. "This…this is a big thing for me, you know? Of all people, you should know why. That's not fair of you to… to just discard an important thing of my life because you don't see eye to eye with Mur'dah! What am I to do? You get to speak of Soriana and your happy life and how great and wonderful things are. Why can't I share mine? Is it too much to ask you to respect me?" she begins, her tone level and calm but her temper does begin to rise, along with a flush to her cheeks. Suddenly her stance changes, her chin lifts. Defiant, stubborn. Defensive. "Mur'dah has shown me plenty and has been a better friend and better man than some I can think of. He, at least, was there for me when I needed someone when everyone else seemed to fail on such foolish, empty, promises of being there when needed!" Her eyes narrow as she fixes him with a hard, pointed, look and then snorts, shaking her head. "Somehow I feel that congratulations is hollow," she fires back at him, stung and hurt. "But thank you anyways. And thank you for at least being honest in how you feel! I'll keep my private life to myself, less it upsets you further." Kiena's in a fine temper now and executes a mocking half bow, her expression twisted as she struggles for control. "Good afternoon." It's almost scoffed and she straightens, preparing to turn and leave before the last of her temper breaks. At least if it's still raining outside, it might cool her down?

"I'm going to need to speak with you in my office tomorrow morning, Kiena. Once you've calmed down," says Ka'el who watches her with vaguely furrowed brows. But she's on her way out, or possibly already gone, and perhaps didn't hear him. One grand thing about notes is that they can be written and delivered to weyrs or offices, or perhaps to weyrs and offices, if need be. Inhale. Exhale. Both are shallow. He has no words to say. He has plenty words to say. But they won't be exploding out of him now. He's a Weyrleader! First. Foremost. Always. Such things need to be thought over and planned before they're spoken. With tones to consider and expressions to choose. Options weighed and decided on. Sometimes, talking never is simply that, even when doing so with those he considers friends. Inhale, exhale. His mouth twitches, though this time there's no questioning the direction of the downward pull of his lips as he shakes his head, pulling one of those books from the neat pile he made just moments before. Medical Maladies: Causes and Symptoms. Nothing like facts and figures to soothe ruffled nerves! He begins to read a random chapter, settling back in his chair. He'll let the day pass. Let time settle them both, hopefully, before they face one another again.

Kiena's not quite gone yet when he voices his request. She'll stop and turn to face him, her expression closed and her eyes hardened and narrowed. Not entirely directed at him and it's difficult to say how much of this is her temper and frustration causing her reaction. "I'll be there." she promises, curtly, but it's a promise. The Weyrsecond doesn't go against her promises and doesn't plan to start, least of all with him. Then she is gone, slipping away and back, briefly, to the offices to complete her work. Dutiful, in that respect and only when her work is done will she flee, her temper still simmering, tempered perhaps with some regret and a dash of self-criticizing as she returns home to the weyr she now shares with another. Morning will see her more in control of herself but that happiness has been tempered too, with the night having been unkind and her mind too restless to let her sleep.

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