Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that 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. The stone is carefully leveled 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 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. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.
There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, 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, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.
It's a warm morning already, and the sun still hangs low in the sky. It promises to be hot in a few candlemarks! Those who can will likely spend time in the lake .. or cooling off in their weyrs. Ka'el is in the caverns this morning for breakfast before work. He has a plateful of stuff already: Scrambled eggs, toast with preserves, two pancakes with syrup, sliced breakfast ham, bacon, and a mug of orange juice to top it all off. And this is just round one! Skyler sits in a wooden highchair at the same table, eating eggs and a cut up pancake, sans syrup. No one wants to deal with a sticky toddler in the morning. Or afternoon. Or like…anytime, ever. Especially not Ka'el. Nugget is nearby, on the floor, looking forlorn as he looks up, up, up at all the yummy food. Hey. Hey drooly baby. Drop him a piece of that pancake, will ya?
Nugget might like a sticky toddler… with his tongue. But… the world isn't arranged for his convenience, and so Skyler has no syrup on his pancake bits. Maybe they'll consider it once he's using a fork. Maybe. Until then, he'll just eat his au naturale… not that he seems to mind. Soriana's off in the breakfast line, filling her own plate with food. Pancakes, preserves on the pancakes instead of the toast (she's totally a rebel), some eggs to go with and nourish her for the day… it's a balanced breakfast, or at least, it is for the moment when she sets atop her klah mug in order to pick up a fork before heading back toward the table.
Kera steps into the cavern, dragging the wide-brimmed hat from her head to fan herself. Still enjoying her days off, what's left of them, she goes in search of a late breakfast. Getting a plate and adding stuff, she spots Soriana further along the line, then looks further around to spot Ka'el and Skyler at one of the tables. She starts that way, waving to her friends. Before she can get very close, a lizards pops into the cavern, chittering excitedly as it darts about. A quick glance at it seems to show Istan colors on it's band.
Skyler is usually quite willing to appease his firelizard friends. It's funny to watch them gobble up the things that he drops! And thus, Nugget perks up when he sees a fistful of pancake in the perfect position to be deposited on the floor! …But! "Uh-uh! Nooo.." Ka'el's on daddy duty (and firelizard weight-loss patrol) and the negative sound and familiar word is enough to have Skyler pause. "No no no," parrots the boy, a confused look on his face. Poor Skyler doesn't know what to do! And thus, Ka'el guides the pancake-fisted hand back over his own plate. "Eat," he instructs, glancing to Soriana across the way. "Your son is not helping our 'Only Feed Nugget Firelizard Food' campaign," he says, and with the place being somewhat empty, he doesn't even need to raise his voice! And the emptiness is probably why the new firelizard's appearance is noted so quickly. That, coupled with its chittering. "Hey there, Kera. .. You haven't another new one, do you?" he asks, not getting a good look at its Istan band.
Soriana nods to Kera in the food line, because she's really not about to try waving with her hands this full of breakfast. She might drop something, and that would make her sad… and Nugget happy, but the world still isn't arranged for his convenience. At least she doesn't kick (or trip over) the bronze lump on her way to the table. Better yet (from the firelizard's perspective) Skyler is perfectly happy to arrange the world for the convenience of… well. Any of his friends, really, insofar as a one turn old understand the concept of friends. Funny firelizards are definitely friends! And so Soriana makes a wry face, hands still occupied, as she sees the fist prepare for drop and… averted! Victorious parenting. Soriana exhales, a crooked grin as she sets her plate and mug down. "Ha," she says to Ka'el. "Maybe we should give him firelizard food. You like chopped wherry, right Skyler?" …the 'raw' bit might present problems, but.. details. Soriana goes to sit down! …and pauses partway through to glance at an excited firelizard. What? …whatever it is, don't knock over her klah. In fact, she puts a protective hand on it as she settles down into her chair. Her klah. Whatever has this firelizard so excited - and she glances to Kera as well, just in case that's who the firelizard reports to - it can't have her klah.
Kera lurches to a quick stop when when the strange lizard darts across her path, earning a hissed muttered from someone who nearly runs into her back. A hurried appology over her shoulder and she moves to proceed forward again. Shaking her head to Ka'el's questions "No sir, never seen it before." She ducks out of the way when the chittering lizard tries landing on her head. Looking closer, she notices it carries a messege so sets her plate down to offer an arm perch. When it does make another attempt, she's ready and gets the messege, offering the lizard a moment of attention, and a small piece of bacon from her plate. It leaps into the air shortly after devouring the bacony goodness and wings towards the door, blinking between before it gets to close. Kera shakes her head at the chittery lizard and gestures to where she set her plate down already, eyeing Soriana guarding her klah and grinning "Mind if I join you three." Well, four if you count the starving Nugget, hopeful a tasty niblet will drop.
"Ma!" (or maybe 'muh!' or 'meh!') cheerfully says Skyler when his dear mother returns to the table. It's as if he hasn't seen her in aaaages! Legs and arms wiggle in greeting, and he abruptly brings his hand to his mouth, squishing in his already mostly fist-squished pancake. Yum! "Somehow, I don't imagine chopped wherry going over so well. At least, not without a side of sliced fruit," remarks Ka'el. Skyler loves his fruit! The Weyrleader soon looks back over to that excited firelizard who doesn't belong to Kera after all. Nugget's looking that way too, but instead of moving to investigate, he scooches himself beneath the table. Too. Much. Excitement. Excuse him as he hides! "Urgent message?" he assumes with a nod in the direction in which the 'lizard betweened. "And please, do join us. The more the merrier … and the more eyes to keep watch that Skyler doesn't toss anything down to the floor."
"Hello, Skyler," Soriana says, because four syllables is definitely the proper way to respond to one. She's back! She exists! She's… discussing hypothetical diets for her son. "He'd probably eat anything with a side of fruit. Well." She looks back to Skyler as he smushes pancake into his mouth. "He'd eat the fruit and demolish the rest." Being squished beyond recognizability is like being eaten, right? It must be, the kid's growing well despite his table manners. "So, whose mail have you stolen?" Soriana asks Kera in an amused tone once she's retrieved the message and that firelizard has once more departed for points unknown… probably in Ista. Not that secret messages should be carried by firelizards anyway, the critters don't have the attention span for it and will give things to anyone with a shred of treat. (Nugget would love to deliver messages. Wait, unless it involves walking. Can he just be a dropbox? A paperweight to hold the messages down until people come and give him treats in exchange, that sounds perfect.) Soriana lifts her mug of klah, nodding agreement to Ka'el's invitation before she has a sip of it. Mmm, klah.
Kera works to unravel the messege, peering over to Skyler when his little outburst announces Soriana's appearance again. Smiling, she flicks her gaze back to the little note, brow lifting in surprise, but it's followed by a quick frown. Smoothing her expression at Ka'el's question "Seems N'talya had her baby. Little girl named Nikita." Dropping into a chair, she eyes her plate, though seems to be comtemplating something else entirely, her fingers twitching as if she's counting. Not getting the count she expected, her head cants to Xanadu's leaders. "Nikita must have been eager, she's about a month early."
Nugget would make a perfect dropbox paperwight. He's doing his best impression right now! Sit. And. Stay. Heavy. Peeerfect form! Skyler leeeeeans in his chair, trying to find his round bronze buddy. "Mable?" Which is Skyler talk for 'Where did Nugget go?' He leans and peers, peers and leans. Ka'el takes a few more bites of his food. Mmmm, bacon and pancakes with syrup! The perfect combination of soft and crunchy and sweet and meaty. He glances to Soriana, making sure her klah is in order and not spilled by energetic firelizard, who apparently brought message of…a turnday! Ka'el's brows faintly lift in question as he listens to Kera. N'talya? He swallows. "The dolphineer, right? I hadn't known she was expecting." Everyone's having babies! "You'll be visiting her soon then, if I were to guess," he says with a nod that pauses midway. An early baby! He glances to Soriana in question. "And that's…concerning?" he asks, looking back to the healer who'd know such answers!
Maybe Skyler is comparing Nugget to… a marble! Because he's round and shiny, like the big marbles he gets to play with sometimes. (Only the big ones. The little ones are too plausibly shoved in his mouth if he temporarily confuses them with grapes.) Or maybe he just doesn't have enough words yet for them to not do double (triple) duty sometimes. Soriana watches him for a moment, but… well, peering around isn't eating, but neither is it throwing his food, so she's not going to argue with it. She has another sip of klah, then starts cutting herself a piece of pancake. Food goes in people, just like they show Skyler, and… Soriana's a people! She eats while she listens to Kera figure things out, then nods. "Mm." More forthcoming once she doesn't have her mouth full. "I've never seen anything else stay on schedule, why should babies be any different?" Soriana smiles. "Hopefully they'll do well, though."
Kera tucks the messege in a pocket, then turns her actions to smearing butter over toast. Nodding "I'll go visit after breakfast." Flashing an amused grin as she watches Skyler looking for Nugget, thankfully the little guy doesn't lean too far. Piling bacon over her toast and folding it in half, she chomps into her mini sandwich. An agreeable nod to Soriana's words "Note says both are doing well. Maybe N'talya wasn't certain about the dates it may have started…" A quick shrug and she grins "Maybe she'll be up and about when Istan's Costume Ball happens. Unless whoever I heard about that from made it up."
"Eat. Skyler, eat," prompts Ka'el, who is part of the Breakfast Brigade. Truthfully, parenting is (usually) a two-person job. Teamwork! But sometimes one parent gets the luxury of having a nice breakfast without the frequent stops of wiping a mouth or correcting improper behavior. Skyler is doing a good job of not making a huge mess, but he's not eating either. And so now Ka'el feeds him pieces of pancake with his fork. Breakfast is an important meal, afterall! He's listening to both Soriana and Kera at the same time, though, glancing from one to the next, nodding to Kera. "Well that's good to hear. Clear skies, when you go," he offers with a smile. "Ista's masquerade…. I'm sure that was in a missive I received not long ago. Do you remember reading that, Soriana?"
But daaaaad! There are more interesting things to do than eating. Or… so Skyler thinks now, even though come mid-morning he'll be cranky for not having had breakfast. Or would be, but… Ka'el to the rescue! By which we mean… putting food in Skyler's mouth. Once it's there, the toddler seems to vaguely get the idea that, oh yeah, he wants to eat it. He's just… kind of easily distracted. There are so many interesting things! The world is a wondrous place, don't'cha know. Soriana nods to Kera. "I'm sure she'll be glad to see you… and not just because she can use an extra set of hands." Soriana grins, then hmms, pausing with her fork partway to her mouth. Costume Ball. Missives of Masquerading. "…yes. There was something about… that." Does she have details about it? Eh… maybe not so much, though her brow furrows as she tries to recall. "They were celebrating… something." Yeah, because so many masquerades are held on account of tragedies. It's important that this one is celebratory. Distinctive, even!
Kera looks between Soriana and Ka'el as they they recall details about the Istan event. The fact they do recall it means it isn't just a made up bit of gossip. Nodding to them as she eats throughout the chat. "Maybe N'talya will know more about it." A chuckle to the Weyrwoman about extra hands "Maybe, she'll probably be using her own to point out her feet, that she can see again." A grin flashes to her friends as she pushes up from the table. "Hope you enjoy the rest of breakfast. Think I'll get a move on, grab the stuffy I got her a few sevendays ago, and head to Ista for a few candlemarks." Waving to her friends, the greenrider wiggles fingers to Skyler, funny face included before grabbing up her plate and sidestepping around Nugget "G'day you three."
Ka'el watches Skyler for a while, making sure the boy is actually using all those teeth he has in his mouth now to chew the food instead of just swallowing it down. Chewing? Yes, he's chewing! For the most part. Good thing the pancakes are a squishy type of food. Eggs too! He continues to feed him for the time being, mulling over the masquerade and nodding slightly as Soriana mentions the celebration of …. something. "..Turnover?" he guesses. He'll have to find that note! He snorts a bit as he forks up a little bit of egg for Skyler. "You'd think a masquerade would be on their list of 'Do Nots' after what happened the last time a party of masks was hosted by him. Different Weyr, possibly same threat." He shrugs a shoulder. "Hopefully not, but I wouldn't risk it." Kera's departure is met with a smile and nod as he straightens. "Again, clear skies and congratulations to your friend," he says, stabbing his own food for a bit for himself. Nugget pokes his nose out from beneath the table. Any scraps yet? No. Okay. He'll continue to wait. Patience is a virtue! .. Someone will feel sorry for him, eventually.
Skyler will be full of nutrients today! Chewed nutrients, even. Soriana's chewing too, only she's old enough that it's not very impressive in either the physical (eating pancakes) sense or the metaphorical (thinking about masquerades) one. She frowns a little at Ka'el's guess. "I don't think it was." Though she sounds pretty uncertain about it. "That's why it was interesting, it wasn't for Turnover." Though apparently, whatever it was, it's not actually interesting enough for her to remember the details of it. "Or at least… not just Turnover." There was something! Something vaguely interesting but not something she had to particularly worry about… which could be anything from 'a new harper musical' to 'the Weyrwoman's 21st turnday'. She can't remember. It's probably not that important, though she nods to Kera's plan to ask the Istan greenrider. "She'll likely know something." It's hard to entirely miss the local gossip. Ears aren't obscured so easily as feet! As for obscuring knives… she gives Ka'el a look for a moment… two… and there's the corner of her mouth curling up in a smirk. "Maybe he intends to come up with a better disguise for himself." A mask to hide behind! Soriana waves to Kera. "Enjoy Ista! Have a good day!" Meanwhile, she'll be back here enjoying Xanadu, breakfast, and family.
"Kera will likely fill us in after she returns. Either the note will be found, or she'll find us first. … No matter the reason, I'll allow Kera to have the fun for me, if she aims to go." There's far too much to still do to plan for their own Turnover party! "Besides. I don't remember what I went as last time. It'd be embarrassing to the Weyr to show up in the same mask," he says, lifting his chin in a haughty sort of way before chuckling and wiping eggstuff form Skyler's chin. The boy, possibly full, is not showing much interest in what's left of his food, and Ka'el busies him with his sippy cup of juice. Finally, Ka'el can focus on his own food! For what little time there is left for him to do so. Time's already ticking towards his first order of business for the day. But, there is still time left. Minutes! Handfuls of them that cluster into a big enough chunk of time for breakfast conversation to ensue and Nugget to re-emerge from beneath the table and flop on his belly in wait.
"If we have free time," Soriana begins, but she doesn't even bother trying to finish the sentence. Free time. That's… the fabled thing that some people have. The one where they don't have work to do or a kid to chase after, where there's time that isn't supposed to be going to something else. They more have… stolen time. Time that could totally be put to work but isn't, because some work is less important than other work… and some things are more important than work. Things like spending some time together, taking handfuls like Skyler-squished pancakes and spending them in conversation and amusement together over a breakfast that… they could eat faster, or at their desks, or make less of in so many ways… but instead they choose to have together, to make more of because it's the moments that make things great. The little nibbles that make the big fat firelizard… or at least… that's what Nugget's hoping. Noms please? But he's doomed to be disappointed, because this meal of human food will be eaten by humans spending their stolen minutes of time together.