Surgery, Dinner and a Story

Xanadu Weyr - Siebith's Weyrbarn

Covered in rough, weathered wood, aged by the weather and the sun, the irregular grayed clapboards outside of this weyrbarn lend the place has a rustic, masculine charm. White shutters and window boxes overflowing with brightly-hued tangles of flowers on the lower windows and flowering vines twine about the supports for the porch overhang add a feminine touch, softening the stark stone steps leading to it.
The worn stone floor of Siebith's area is just inside the large sliding door. The living area of the weyrbarn has an open, airy layout gives the utilitarian, bachelor-like plain white-washed walls and simple hardwood floors a sense of wide open spaces. A sturdy mahogany-toned table with chairs that somehow manage to match despite their variety accent the earthy, wooden tones of the kitchenette. The same dark reddish hues are in the door at the far side of the barn, as well as in the low-slung coffee table in front of the plush, worn couch. Dusky sea-blue rugs are scattered here and there. Dark golden curtains hang on either side of the many windows and partition off the loft up above, led to by a black wrought iron set of ladder-like stairs. Lilies arranged in glass vases on the tables provide a crisp of white counterpoint to the dark wood tones.
A new addition, the bedroom has walls of the same plain white, but the floors are made of newer wood, still shiny with polish. A four-poster bed of the same red mahogany takes up the most of one wall of the small space, a blue-and-cream linen coverlet spread on the wide mattress. A set of wooden bureaus take up the bulk of the wall opposite while another wall has been painted upon in the very center with a seascape mural, its crisp blue waters and sandy shores. The final wall is graced by a feminine-looking writing desk stacked with papers and bedecked with knick-knacks. Over the bed, a set of stained-glass windows allows golden-brown light mingled with white whorls and blue haze to shine into the room with the rising of the sun, though both panes are able to be unlocked and swung wide to accept lake breezes.

Having offered an invitation to both Kimmila and Th'ero to dine with her in the private quarters she shares with the Weyrsecond after their Treetop Cafe meeting, Thea had slipped out to see that all would be ready. She did however, leave directions to the coastal road weyrbarn, how to recognize which one is theirs. Technology, being both bane and boon today, has at least assured that dinner will be ready without delay as she's had a thick-cut roast in the heating unit slow-cooking all afternoon and things to drink as well as a sweet to follow chilling in the cooler. All she has to do is set the table, toss together a salad and… arrange for a healer to meet them there with supplies. The Xanadu Weyrwoman lives with a man who doesn't like unpleasant surprises and so it is that before the couple arrive, a gentle rain-scented breeze from Seryth announces to both Velokraeth and Varmiroth with a carefully respectful « Mine wishes to let yours know that she has a healer waiting in her home at the Weyrleader's disposal. » There's the briefest of pauses wherein the breeze shifts to the dance-beat of merry raindrops that could almost be a chuckle, « Not the tart-tongued one. This man is courtesy and discretion itself. » The shift back to moisture-laden breeze is at her rider's prompt, « Mine says if the Weyrleader declines administrations of the healer, she will dismiss him back to the infirmary and arrange a guest cottage if *Betweening* is not… possible. » The slight hesitation indicates a substitution for another, perhaps a stronger word.

With the affairs conscerning Ers'lan's agreement to their plans, Th'ero would have normally politely excused himself and returned to Fort Weyr as he's not one to linger long in Xanadu when business is done. But a request to stay for dinner, by the Senior Weyrwoman no less cannot go ignored or merely brushed aside without good reason. So the Fortian Weyrleader accepts, even though he knows it's a trap and that once there he'll be subjected to the attentions of a Healer despite his wishes to be left alone. It's well enough that Thea left before him, as it gives him a chance to move at his own pace. Riding jacket, despite the heat, is slipped back on with awkwardness and he remains silent despite Kimmila being right there at his side. What few words that pass between them may be simple at best and neutral. The "real" talk won't start until much later. He doesn't drift far from her though, staying close as they quietly slip away from the cafe and down the stares at a seemingly leisurely and slow pace. The honesty of it is that Th'ero can't move fast or the bronzerider risks undoing some of the healing good his body has tried to do. Time will pass and the weyrbarn is found easily enough with the directions given. By then, he's really feeling the heat or the walk has exhausted him. So as he reaches to knock on the door, his other hand holds fast to Kimmila and not entirely for comfort. To Seryth and Varmiroth, Velokraeth replies with a touch that is as rich and flavorful as the best white wine, golden hues rippling as though with mirth to match the sarcasm that laces his otherwise mellow and rolling tone. «Courtesy and discretion are most favorable. Mine will likely stubbornly try to decline the gracious offer, but he can be… convinced. Dismissal will not be necessary. He will comply.» And the bronze seems rather certain of it, even if he does seem wholly amused. «My apology to you and yours both for his behavior. He can be as sulky as a child denied his sweets when he gets it in his head that he's well in the right.»

Kimmila stays by Th'ero's side during the long, silent, slow walk to the weyrbarn, though as they arrive she looks across the structure with curiosity. Born and raised in Fort, this sort of weyr is foreign to her, and she's curious as to how it all works. Giving Th'ero's hand a squeeze, Kimmila waits for the door to be answered. Nearby, where Varmiroth has settled, the blue's mind is a ripple of fabric across the nightscape of his thoughts. « Thank you, » is all the blue has to say - again - playing the part of the underling while the 'grown ups' talk, it seems.

That door has been left open to them - all of the windows wide open as well allowing the shaded weyrbarn to catch some of those cooling lake breezes everyone living along this section of the Weyr raves about. Hearing the footsteps upon the planks that form the porch floor, the Weyrwoman heads to the door, wiping her hands on a towel. Seryth lies outside in the wallow she shares with her blue friend Siebith. The queen's audible rumble of a greeting to both Velokraeth and Varmiroth more likely what alerted Thea to the pair's arrival. It's a gracious nod and smile from Thea as well as the scents of roasted meat, rich gravy and hot, freshly-baked rolls wafting from inside that meet her guests. "Welcome," says Thea to the both of them though one look at Th'ero's face has that easy smile wavering and fading to a frown of concern. "You should be in bed," she says bluntly but quietly while tipping her head towards the living area as she steps back to allow them in. "The healer is waiting to see you." It's more of a question than a statement - as far as she's concerned he can still say no. If anyone has to convince him it will have to be his dragon or Kimmila. She's offering hospitality and doing her duty as a Weyrwoman but she isn't about to step into a mother-role here.

If Th'ero's mind wasn't so focused elsewhere and so heavily on other matters, he may have stopped to observe the area curiously along with Kimmila rather then be so dead set and straight forwards in going straight for the Weyrwoman's shared living space. He can smell the fresh food though, that much doesn't escape him and guilt flashes across his features briefly. Knowing that an otherwise enjoyable meal will be marred, in a sense. With his hold still firm on the bluerider, he does his best to straighten himself as Thea greets them, though he gives the Weyrwoman a bit of a cool look and smile for her blunt remark. "Perhaps and in due time," he murmurs. "But not now." He's fine, after all. Remember? Gesturing, he'll allow Kimmila to step in first and then politely fall in behind her. Once the door is closed and they're safely from prying eyes, the Fortian Weyrleader will remove his riding jacket and place it safely to the side and out of the way. It could be that wearing those heavy leathers in such heat is what wore him down. Even a healthy person would be hard pressed to keep from wilting under it. At the mention of the Healer, Th'ero doesn't fly into a temper like he did earlier but his features harden and his jaw tenses a little. Frowning heavily, his gaze darts between Thea and Kimmila and it's obvious what his answer will be well before he even utters the words in his low and growling tone. "And can it not wait?" Which is his elaborate way of stubbornly saying 'no', when really he should be saying yes.

Kimmila goes in before the Weyrleader, setting her own riding jacket aside. She takes a moment to glance around, smiling, and she's about to compliment Thea on her living space and the smells of the food - as is only polite - but when Th'ero asks if the Healer can wait, Kimmila rounds on him. Hands on hips, her eyes narrow. "Weyrmate," she says, her voice clipped with irritation and frustration and impatience. "/Please/." And that's a word she doesn't utter very often, her tone softening as she speaks it. She's begging, now. Look at her beg. "See him now. Then I can relax. Besides, it'd be beyond rude to eat dinner while the Healer is sitting there waiting for you. I'm sure he has other patients to tend to, but you're first."

Thea levels a neutral look at Th'ero, one brow quirking ever so slightly. Sure he's fine, but no one is buying the charade. She says nothing further to chide him however, taking the jacket for him and hanging it on one of the empty pegs beside the door. She assumes his bronze will have passed on the word from Seryth, so the healer's presence, while unwelcome, won't be an unpleasant surprise anyway. "Certainly it can wait," she says casually as she turns towards the kitchen space. Over her shoulder, "Would you both like to have a seat on the couch?" That's where the healer happens to be waiting. The man, having risen when they entered now stands silently and unobtrusively there. "I'll bring you something cold to drink while I finish getting the food ready. What will you have? There's wine, red and white, ale, water, juice. Or some of the whiskey D'had keeps in stock." Look at her, not offering fellis-laced anything or willowbark tea. She doesn't linger to add pressure to Kimmila's pleas, but does say casually while opening the cupboard and removing glasses, "Garmel will need to return to his infirmary duties as they've got a rash of stomach ailments filling their beds." So holding him here waiting would be inconvenient to say the least. "You're welcome to use the master bedroom as an exam room." Privacy offered over what will surely be a noisy din and possible exposure to influenza should he wish to head to Xanadu's infirmary later.

Garmel's presence isn't a surprise to Th'ero, as Velokraeth had forewarned his rider. But the Fortian Weyrleader hadn't bothered to look or ask where the Healer would be waiting. Not that he has a moment to focus on that detail, as Kimmila rounds on him. He fixes her with a stubborn look at first, irritated in turn and frustrated until she begins to beg. Even if it's just one word, or the use of their title, followed by a completely logical and sound reasoning and request. Silence settles, tense and awkward under with a heavy exhale, the bronzerider's shoulders drop minutely and some of the coolness in his features eases away. "If it means so much to you…" Th'ero relents but even now he makes it seem as though it's her idea and Thea's, not his and not wholly his choice. Once last bit of rebellion. "Red wine, please," he says to the Weyrwoman's offer and then he grimaces as he's not-so subtly reminded that he is rudely taking up the time of a much needed Healer. That and the fate of being in an area full of influenza patients has the Fortian Weyrleader's skin crawling. Seeing Garmel now seems the lesser of two evils. "Then I will not intrude any longer on his time," Th'ero murmurs, a touch too formally but he's in no mood to correct himself or play it off with a smile. So it comes off a touch sarcastic, though not entirely meant. Nodding to the Healer, the Weyrleader steps away from Kimmila and off towards what must be the master bedroom as he quietly takes up the offer of privacy from Thea. Later, perhaps, he'll give his (genuine) thanks to the Weyrwoman for all she's done. For now he just wants the deed over and done with and so he leaves them with nothing more then a bit of awkward silence and their own company.

Kimmila continues to stare at Th'ero until the stupid, prideful bronzerider relents and heads off. Once he's gone to the privacy of the bedroom (which she gives a curious look to the door, wondering how her own Healing skills will be assessed by Garmel), she flops onto the couch with a low groan. "Ale, please, and thank you," she says, closing her eyes and rubbing her temples.

While Th'ero and Kimmila's battle of wills stretches, Thea fills the silence with the rattle of cutlery, the clack of china plates being taken from the cupboard, the clink of ice cubes filling water glasses. As the healer and his leather satchel head for the door to the master bedroom, helpfully pointed out to him earlier, she busies herself pouring water into those glasses and carrying them to the table along with a stack of plates, napkins and the silverware. The healer politely waits for the Fortian Weyrleader to enter first, then closes the door firmly behind them. All that those in the living area can hear is a low murmur of voices for the time-being. Kimmila's ale is opened and brought, the bottle ice-cold with minute bits of ice clinging to the moisture-beaded bottle as Thea offers it over, hesitates and then sits beside the bluerider. "It's not ever easy is it?" she says with quiet sympathy.

Inside the room after Th'ero has taken off his shirt, the healer removes the dressing while asking questions like, "How long has it been since the injury?" and "What did you use to clean the wound with?" and "Any nausea or dizziness?" The bandage he can see for himself how much blood has seeped out and whether there are signs of infection. He hasn't touched the man yet but now dons gloves and gently prods the abdomen at a distance several inches around the wound. He's feeling for the telltale harness that there would be if a large amount of blood has seeped inside the body cavity and watching Th'ero's reactions closely for signs of pain. All the while his keen gaze takes in skin color such as pallor from blood loss or flush of fever. And then the wound itself gently examined, which causes the deeper end to open and ooze fresh blood.

Garmel will find that working with Th'ero is like working with a living wall of stone. He's manners are in tact at least but he leaves much in the way to be desired for emotion or even just some simple coversation. The Fortian Weyrleader's eyeing him warily probably doesn't help the situation either, so it's no wonder that the atmosphere within the master bedroom goes from neutral to cold and tense in seconds. Slipping from his stained, rumpled and torn tunic, he complies with allowing the Healer to at least get on with the exam with minimal fuss, though the bronzerider's jaw is set and it's taking all his control not to balk. "Going on twelve hours now. It happened at sunset the prior night." Th'ero answers flatly. "Redwort and no nausea. Some dizziness but that's passed and cleared once I had some food and water in the morning." Th'ero falls silent then and looks away as he's prodded at, having to clench his hands to keep calm. There's no outright sign of pain, but he does flinch and wince when the Healer begins to examine the area around the wound and then the wound itself. That earns a slight hiss of protest from the bronzerider. "And?" he drawls, not bothering to mask his irritation and impatience.

Kimmila accepts the ale from Thea with a smile of thanks, wan though it might be. "Never," she sighs, taking a pull from the bottle with an exhale. Finally, finally starting to relax. "He's such a stubborn jackass sometimes," she mutters, glancing to the door with a frown. "Won't accept help even when he /needs/ it." And she sips from the ale once more. Okay, she doesn't sip. She takes a few gulps. She needs the booze to calm her nerves! Glancing at the door again, it's clear that the bluerider is worried for the bronzerider, and that she cares about him very much. "Stupid idiot."

"And you're going to live," Garmel says easily if a bit dryly. For his part the taciturn Weyrleader has left him unruffled, his stance one of professional neutralism while waiting for Th'ero to remove his shirt, face and manner relaxed and unhurried while examining the man. Nodding to the answers, pleased about every answer save the time elapsed since the wound was taken and treatment given, there's naught but a flicker of a frown in response to that. "Whoever cleaned and dressed this did well," he says while stripping his gloves, opening his bag and removing several supplies - redwort, numbweed, fresh bandages and what appears to be little curved, pre-threaded fish hooks rather than sewing needles. Donning new gloves, he then sets up a sterile field on the dresser top. While cleaning the wound, he says pleasantly, "The wound has cut through the muscle near your hip but hasn't entered the body cavity. There's no internal bleeding or injury. You'll need several stitches here. And no *Betweening* for a sevenday." If he's bracing for an explosion, it doesn't show. Blotting the area dry with clean gauze, he swabs cooling numbweed along the length of the cut, then takes up one of the curved needles.

Out in the living space, Thea half-smiles over at Kimmila's 'stupid idiot'. "Aren't they all sometimes." It's almost a weary commiseration, speaking from long experience, is she. Her next comment might be enlightening. "When D'had meekly accepts help is when I get really worried. Last time he cut himself, he bled enough to pass out while walking to the infirmary." The Weyrwoman's mouth forms a flat, unhappy line recalling the incident.

Th'ero snorts softly at Garmel's dry response to his earlier question and it's good that the Healer has such stable professional neutralism. With nothing to grasp and springboard from, it keeps the Fortian Weyrleader still taciturn and not entirely pleasant to work with but calm enough that his temper isn't a part of it. Yet. There's a vague smile given for the praise to the work done by Kimmila's hands but he keeps his remarks to himself. Later he'll likely use that compliment on the bluerider herself. Dark eyes follow the Healer's movements and the tools, lingering and fixating on those pre-threaded curved hooks and his expression falls before he can school it back to a grim and stony set. Instead he focuses on something else, such as the wall or floor. /Anything/ but those needles and not so much out of fear but out of denial that the wound is that bad and once again he's limited on what he can and cannot do. Th'ero is calm during the diagosis, up until he's informed of the Between restriction. "A sevenday!" he says, loud enough that Kimmila and Thea likely here a muffled version of it, not entirely clear but enough to signal them that he's not pleased. Flushing, the Weyrleader takes a deep, steadying breath and turns his angry, frustrated glare away from the Healer. Which means he's understood, as much as it rankles him. Staying still while Garmel prepares the area is easy enough too, since he's standing so tensely and rigid.

Kimmila swigs from the ale again, glancing once more at the doorway to the master bedroom. "Ugh," she says, shaking her head. "At least he /went/ to the infirmary. I think Th'ero would just pass out in his weyr, the words 'I'm fine' still etched upon his lips." And she rolls her eyes, rubbing her temples again. "But…" she muses, "there's other times - most other times - when that stubborn pride is something I…" Love? Ugh, icky word. "Enjoy." Looking up sharply at the outburst from the room, Kimmila shifts in her seat, unsure if she should rise and go, or stay here.

Seeing there's a needle hooking in and out of his skin, it's a very good thing that Th'ero is standing so still. Garmel knows better than to ask the Fortian to lie down - one glance at that stony set to the man's face and the request is discarded. The healer adapts, working on a vertical plane rather than a horizontal one. His movements are swift and efficient, even when that loud protest is heard. Several inches of slash but only four inches of stitches are needed, which makes for about ten of them, each knotted off and clipped neatly before doing the next. More numbweed is added before a snug dressing is applied and then a snug wrap of gauze girdles the man's torso. The entire process has taken but a few minutes. Stripping off his gloves, adding them to the pile on the sterile paper towel, the entire mess is bundled and dropped in a nearby trashcan. Then, offering Th'ero a few small packets of powder, Garmel says mildly, "Take one mixed with water or juice every twelve hours. You need to rest, drink plenty of fluids and see a healer right away if you develop a fever." Snapping his bag shut, it is taken and the man turns to go, hand on the knob, he asks, "Do you have any questions before I go?"

Thea snorts in remembrance, "Oh he went! After I told him sewing flesh was not the same as sewing cloth! He thought since I used to be a Weaver I could do it." Suppressing a slight shiver, she continues, "When he agreed to go, that's when I got scared." She too, looks towards that closed door when the muffled protest is heard, but she doesn't look surprised. No, the Weyrwoman is hard-pressed to keep a straight face when that happens. "At least he hasn't… fainted?"

Th'ero would have had the stomach to watch if he had wanted to, but he doesn't as he doesn't possess such a morbid curiosity to watch his own flesh being sewn shut. So while the minutes pass and Garmel skillfully goes about his work, the Fortian Weyrleader focuses on controlling his temper and his mood and the Healer is left to finish his work in peace without further protest from the bronzerider. Once he steps back to clean up the mess, Th'ero gives a slight experimental twist of his torso, minute and cautious but he seems to approve. Not that he can feel the wound anymore, thanks to the numbweed. The small packets are taken and carefully tucked into a pouch at his side and then he's reaching for his filthy and ruined tunic. Grimacing again, he slips it back on and tries not to pull too much of a face of having to wear it. But it's not like he's about to go strolling back out without it. Kimmila may enjoy that. Thea not so much, perhaps. "Is Between the only restriction?" Th'ero asks in a low but slightly warmer tone. Maybe he's beginning to realize how much of a rude ass he's been.

Kimmila glances over at Thea, tearing her eyes away from the door for a moment. "You used to be a Weaver? That's nice." She shrugs, glancing at the door. "He hasn't fainted but I pity the Healer," she mutters. "Thank you, again, for this," she says, glancing at Thea and trying to let her genuine appreciation for this hospitality show.

Garmel pauses, at Th'ero's question. "Don't get it wet. So no swimming until you can *Between*." Which means sponge baths - hooray! The barest glimmer of a smile flickers in his eyes, touching the lips of the heretofore solemn expression as he adds, "Avoid anything strenuous that will stress the wound." Which means sex is out of the picture at least for a seven. The good news? "Those are gut stitches, rather than sissal. They'll dissolve on their own so you needn't have them removed by a healer. And those packets, of course, are fellis powder. Don't leave them where a child will get into them." If the Fortian Weyrleader has seemed rude, the healer doesn't seem to have taken note of it. A bare salute is given, then he opens the door. Patient/client privilege being what it is, he simply nods to the two women and heads on out without filling them in on anything. That he'll leave up to Th'ero's discretion.

"I was. I did mostly fleece grading for my da, and sold his interests to the holds, halls and Weyrs. Spent a lot of time traversing mountain trails with his caravans," Thea is saying as that door opens. At the same time there's the rumble of feet on the outside porch, the front door opens and two dark-haired ten-turn olds tumble into the room, each trying to beat the other inside. Both are breathless from running all the way from the crafter's complex. Harper lessons are out just in time for dinner. Oh joy?

Th'ero wasn't much of a swimmer to begin with, so the first restriction is given hardly a moments pause. The second restriction however has him scowling and his obvious dislike of that as transparent as glass. Drawing his mouth into a thin line, he refrains from commenting on /that/ and instead focuses on the rest of what Garmel orders. "Rest assured they will not." He murmurs gruffly and then gives the Healer a stiff nod, the only thanks the man is liable to get. Not the best way for the Fortian Weyrleader to have his reputation known in Xanadu, but his brooding mood keeps him from saving anything in this encounter. With a heavy exhale, he straightens his shoulders again and briskly exits the bedroom… or as briskly as he can manage. Those bandages are masterfully done and it makes his movements stiff. Doesn't help he's very numb on that side. Stepping out into the living area, he's about to give his rather sharp tongued report only to have the words die even before they're formed. Dark eyes rest on the two dark-haired children in disbelief as he comes to stop awkwardly midway into the room. Then there's a questioning look given to Thea, but really… why is he so surprised? These are the living quarters of the Weyrwoman. Just because he is here, with Kimmila, doesn't mean her family is banished for the duration of their meeting. Realizing his tunic is bloodied, Th'ero turns to keep that side away from view as best he can but the damage may already be done.

Kimmila is about to answer Thea when she's hit with a lot of things at once. The Healer leaving is given a soft 'thank you' and look of appreciation, but the children have her freezing in…fear? Nose wrinkles for a brief moment before her expression smoothes into something politely bland and distantly interested, and then Th'ero is arriving as well. Kimmila is on her feet then, setting her ale glass aside as she goes to his side. "How is it?" she asks, looking down at his side - though there's nothing she can see except fresh bandages. "I should go find you a new tunic," she murmurs with a small frown. She should have thought of that earlier.

Thea rises when the pair step out of the room. She trusts Garmel to have taken care of the Weyrleader and having received the barest of nods from the healer as he exited, she already knows it's not life-threatening. The arrival of her offspring - one a boy, the other a girl - doesn't take her by surprise. She hadn't, however, thought about Th'ero's bloody tunic. She starts to say, "Let me get him one of D'had's-" when the pair skid to a halt in the middle of the room, not far from Th'ero, both gawking up at him. Silence settles, lasting but a beat before the wide-eyed boy blurts, "Uh oh. Papa's gonna be mad!" He's pointing to the man he just saw exiting his mother's bedroom, turning wide-eyed at his mama in a somber, scandalized expression. It's the girl who glares at her brother and whaps the back of his head without missing a beat. Using withering scorn such as only a sister believing in her superiority can, she tells him, "Seryth is right outside, Dummy! She didn't go up or the harper would've kept us cos Papa gets drunk when she does. You know that, Dimwit." Neither of them have noticed the blood - yet. "Okaaay, that's enough you two. We have dinner guests, go wash your hands and put the plates around the table." This is Thea, who will cheerfully shake the teeth of the pair later. Right now, she merely introduces Trouble and Trial as, "Muireadhach and Marella, this is Weyrleader Th'ero from Fort and Rider Kimmila of Western. Use your manners, please."

"Not now," Th'ero murmurs to Kimmila as she steps in close to his side and he uses it to his advantage by having her block the bloodied side of his tunic with her body. And he doesn't keep the update from her on purpose, but the presence of children has him keeping quiet. Thea's have spoken offer earns her a questioning look from the Fortian Weyrleader, but he keeps his reply to himself, save perhaps for a faint nod towards the Weyrwoman. Then comes the awkward tableau, before the boy is pointing at him. It takes a moment for the accusation to seep in but when it does, Th'ero looks shocked and flustered, heat and color rising to his cheeks. He's just about to come to his own defense when the girl and sister to the boy comes to his rescue. So the Fortian Weyrleader snorts and backs up her claim, "I assure you, we're here only as guests." He murmurs haltingly, as if not quite sure /how/ to address the two children. As Thea introduces them, Th'ero slips an arm around Kimmila (both because he wants to and because he needs a shield) and executes a bit of a formal half-bow or elaborate nod for the two. "Nice to meet you both," he murmurs in a far more easy going tone. As much as children set him on edge, he plays nice with the Weyrwoman's it seems.

Kimmila gives him a worried look, but seems to agree with the 'not now' sentiment. She steps to his side and blocks the view of his injury from the kids, looking at them with a slightly twisted smile. Awwwwkward. "Yeah, no, there were no flights," she says, nose wrinkling. "Nice to meet you," she adds in a mumble, shifting a bit closer to the bronzerider when his arm goes around her, but still making sure she's not touching his side. "Um. Dinner smells great!" Awkward house guest ploy #1 - distract with food!

"OW! Hey!" Muir rubs the back of his head while cutting a hard glare at his sister, muttering a growled, "Women!" The expletive likely picked up from his father. Back to Th'ero he catches 'Weyrleader' and 'guests'. Well that explains the bronze out there in the clearing, then! There's no bowing from him though, no. Instead he grins, giving Th'ero a cocky salute, chest puffed out and everything. Kimmila is eyed with undisguised interest being the blue out there must be hers. "I'm gonna be a bluerider," he tells her, giving her a salute too. Marella gives the pair a sweet smile and a curtsey. Not everyone enjoys being afflicted with children, Thea knows this. So she interjects a hasty, "Muir, Marella, take your books up to the loft. Then you can wash for dinner." While they're busy scrambling up the ladder, she'll go get one of D'had's clean shirts and offer it to Th'ero with a murmured, "You're welcome to change into this, but they've seen blood before. You could just say you've been hunting if they ask?" Because in a sense, that is the truth. Kimmila is offered a reassuring smile. For Th'ero's injury? For the invasion of kidlets? Maybe both! She sets things out, the platter with the sliced roast, gravy, a huge bowl of whipped garlic potatoes, the salad, then pours Th'ero's wine and approaches the couple with the goblet and another ale for Kimmila in hand just as the pair tumble back down the ladder.

Th'ero's lips curve into a vague smile for Muir's comment and were he not already exhausted from the long night and day he's had, perhaps he would have chuckled over the child's antics. At least he's showing /some/ emotion. "Is that so?" he drawls, not wanting to argue that statement or be the one to put doubt into the boy's mind. His confidence is refreshing though and this time the Fortian Weyrleader does chuckle very softly. So maybe he isn't that awkward around children, but neither is he wholly relaxed. There's relief when Thea calls them away and doubled again when a replacement tunic is offered. "D'had won't mind?" he asks, his arm still lingering around Kimmila though now he begins to pull away, fingers lingering against her back before he steps away entirely. "A hunting injury? Yes. I suppose that could work." Th'ero mumbles before disappearing back into the bedroom to change. When he returns, the tunic is a little snug in some places but not uncomfortably so. His old one he has rolled up and he goes to stuff it with his jacket, keeping it well hidden. Returning to Kimmila's side, he takes the wine in hand with a slight nod of thanks to Thea and starts to pick up the issues at hand again with both. But as the two come tumbling back down, he changes tactics. "Shall… we go eat?" he asks, clearing his throat slightly and gesturing towards the now bountifully spread table.

Kimmila lifts her brows at the kids, smirking a little at Muir. What was his name again? "Good luck," she says with a crooked smile now taking over her features. Hey, another ale! Kimmila takes it with all the eagerness of a frat boy at a Super Bowl party - BEER IS NEEDED - and takes a swig. Ahh. She leans subtly back into Th'ero's lingering touch, and when he goes to change her head turns to watch him, studying the way he moves. Or maybe she's just checking out his ass. When he returns, she smiles, and she looks more relaxed than she has for the past…oh, day or so? Just having his injury hidden seems to do a world of good. Reaching out when he approaches, she rests her hand lightly against the small of his back - not too big on PDA, these two - and then eyes the food. "We'll, uh, have to have you to Fort to return the favor, sometime." Isn't that a polite guest thing to say? She thinks she's heard her mother say that before.

"He won't mind, no. Seryth tells me Siebith answered her query. He and D'had are on evening sweeps, so they won't be joining us tonight." Thea is obviously disappointed by that, but well, there's not much she can do to change it. "Injury or… Muir might assume you snared a critter," She continues with a merry dance to her eyes that includes them both. "Either way, he'd badger you with questions during the entire meal." She's pretty sure he doesn't want that, hence the shirt-offer. She doesn't watch Th'ero leave, but winks at Kimmila if she can catch the woman's eye - she knows it's not easy having to hold things in check in front of curious children. "I would enjoy that," she says lightly of visiting Fort. While the changing goes on, she pours herself a glass of wine, returning to the table as the Fort Weyrleader steps out, the rambunctious twins descend and they're all waved to the table. As dishes are passed to her guests, and the children are helped with their plates, she tells them firmly, "Your dessert depends on getting your homework finished without taking all evening." It will ensure they'll eat quickly - and maybe even quietly - leaving the adults a little bit of freedom to talk after they've gone back upstairs. "So," she begins cheerfully (this ought to be fun!), "will you be staying in Xanadu tonight?" Translation: Did the healer forbid *Betweening*? Yay code-speak!

Th'ero is unaware of any look he may receive from Kimmila or even Thea as events move forwards. Taking a sip of his wine, the Fortian Weyrleader is tired and has many concerns weighing heavily on his mind now. So he uses Muir and Marella's arrival to his advantage, seeking the distraction they offer as it's easier for him to focus on that then the trouble of having to inform Fort of his… situation. If Dtirae didn't have her hands full with Jajenelja, that meddlesome rebellious and bratty weyrling goldrider they've been saddled with, it's no doubt she'd be down here giving Th'ero a good verbal lashing. Maybe he planned the whole thing. Who'd want to be in the Weyr with two very moody and young goldriders? "Pity, I would have liked to have met him. I appreciate the loan though of the tunic. And…hopefully we can avoid any questions." He murmurs, trying not to grimace at the prospect of avoiding inquisitive children during dinner. Turning to give Kimmila a look that is actually appreciative and approving, he glances back to the Weyrwoman and manages a polite enough smile. "Fort would be happy to have you visit. You and any Xanadu rider are welcome." Seeing as he's inundating Xanadu with his, it's a fair trade, right? Gesturing for Kimmila to take a seat, Th'ero will of course sit next to her and likely across from Thea, though it's obvious he's awkward in moving into his chair. But he manages and does so quietly so not to bring attention to it. He'll even see that the bluerider is served first, by /his/ hands. How… nice? Embarassing more like it but manners are manners and there are children about. "If it wouldn't be too much of a burden?" Code speak is on and at least it's not dealing with fish this time. His tone though hints that there is far more then just 'one night' involved.

Poor Elara and Wiyaneth. Kimmila takes the offered seat and reaches for some food, only to have Th'ero serving her. This has never happened before, and she leans back in her chair, giving him a look that's clearly baffled. What is he doing? And what is she supposed to do while he serves her? Awkward at best, the bluerider sits up straighter and puts her hands in her lap, all the parody of good manners, awkward and fumbling, and then reaching again for her bottle of ale to take a swig. "Too bad he's not here," she agrees, glancing around for the children. Kids though they may be, they are a distraction from the awkward social situation that only seems to get more awkward by the minute, despite everyone's best intentions. At least that's how this bluerider is viewing it. "What homework do you have? Thank you, Wingmate," she murmurs once she's been served, and then she's going to try to serve him a plate in return. Because that's fair, right? And she hates feeling useless. "Just tonight?" she asks.

Two moody goldriders? Thea wouldn't! Thankfully Briana is a gentle soul and Esiae is cheerful. At least the youngest goldrider is still a Weyrling, so she can't get into too much trouble - yet. No, her worries are different ones, and likely not nearly as weighty as the Fort Weyrleader's. "I think he would have enjoyed… swapping stories with you, Th'ero," the Weyrwoman says of D'had with a wry smile. Translation: The Weyrsecond would have sided with Th'ero and offered whiskey instead of a healer checkup. She can see that he's tired, though and the pair of them look like they could use a long soak in the hot springs. "I won't keep you long tonight," she promises them both. "I thought dinner in the caverns would have been tedious for you both in many ways." Which might be part truth, even though by now Th'ero must realize her invitation was partly to get him to be seen by a healer. As for the guest weyr, "It's no burden at all. We have several available. You may have one on the lake, or in the forest or in the meadow." It's like… they're being offered a getaway or something! Maybe it is one? Manners? The twins are ten turn olds and so they're shoveling food into their mouths (not too sloppily but really, they're kids, so they eat like kids): neither of them want the salad they’ve been given, so ignore it. Between bites, Marella is busy making a moat in her potatoes and watching the gravy fill it, patting the 'hill' in the middle flat with the back of her fork. Muir is just eating, though he does swallow mightily to answer Kimmila with a scowl directed at said homework, "Numbers, spelling and writing." His sister chimes in with, "We have to write a story." Together the twins look at their vict- er guests. Then each other. Uh oh! Verrrrry innocently, Marella asks, "What was your first day as a Weyrleader like, Mr. Th'ero?"

Yes, poor Elara and Neyuni though at least Dtirae gets along with them. Jajenelja? Not so much and the girl has a very good record of making Th'ero lose his temper in no time flat. Despite that, the Weyrleader seems to refuse the idea of transfer for the newest gold and well… doesn't even really bring her up. Th'ero's smile is faint and wry, lifting his wine glass to his lips and taking a polite sip while Kimmila recovers from the awkwardness of him serving her and returns the favor. Maybe it is the thing to do? Or the Fortian Weyrleader doesn't correct her, likely sensing her fumbling and uncertainty. "That would have been enjoyable. Perhaps another time." He replies smoothly to Thea though it's obvious there won't be another time… hopefully. So far his record for slash wounds are, well, not favorable. "No, this was a good idea. Much calmer then the caverns and I thank you for that." Which is actually the honest truth, no coded intention there. Th'ero isn't one for crowds and while he knows this was primarily done to trap him, he still appreciates the offer of a meal. Awkward as it is and despite the very rocky, tense start. Kimmila's question earns her a startlingly warm smile for one who was beyond cold and irritated with her earlier. True or not true? A mask perhaps for Muir and Marella's sakes? "Just the one night for now. Though that may change, depending on where I am needed." Translation: No, he's definitely grounded. Turning back to Thea, he gives a slight nod of his head while taking a small bite of his food. "Hmm. Forest is usually my preference but with the summer being in full height in this region… Lakeside may be more welcomed. I'm afraid the north has spoiled me when it comes to heat." He drawls, acting as though this is nothing more then a casual dinner. Nope, nothing amiss here /at all/. He doesn't even seem to notice the two children's lack of manners. He didn't expect it perhaps? Not that that is a slight on Thea, but really his focus is elsewhere until Marella "innocently" asks her question. Trapped, he almost chokes on his wine and clears his throat, dark gaze darting between Weyrwoman and bluerider before fixing on the young girl. "Th'ero is fine," he tells her, trying so hard not to smirk for the title. "And it was…" Shocking? Terrifying? Crippling to the point he locked himself in the office and withdrew so far he forgot to inform his own friends and wingmates in Western? "Surprising." In a nutshell. "It's not something you can truly plan for or predict."

Kimmila snorts. "I stabbed his desk," she says blandly, winking at the kids. "There's a secret compartment in some of the Weyrleader's desks, and I happened to know about the one in Th'ero's." Uh-oh. Now they're going to run around stabbing knives into desks. "C'mon, Wingmate, you can tell them more than that." She gives him a crooked smile. Oh. It's payback time.

Thea eats without hurry. It seems she has no plans to rush back to the office tonight and will spend her evening here, with her children awaiting D'had's return from sweeps or something. She nods about the preference for a spot by the lake; she'll do her best. Between bites she sends her children subtle prompts that might be missed (like kicks under the table, perhaps), though for the most part she's resting against the chair's back, relaxed as she cuts her roast in bite-sized pieces. Until that question of Marella's. Then it's a blink and a stare. The child doesn't go where her mother's mind does. All the girl does is give the Fortian a cherubic smile and ask, "Did you make long lists of things to fix and have boring meetings and forget to eat and fall asleep in the office and get carried home?" Out of breath, she stops her barrage but Muir is there to pick up the slack! He asks, "Does your dragon throw herdbeasts up in the air and they come down-" His little hand smacks the tabletop hard. "-spaltter?" Thea can only facepalm. "Little minds relating what they've observed…" She mutters under her breath. Both children look at Kimmila wide-eyed at the woman's claim. "Why did you stab it?" "What was in the secret drawer?" Both speaking at the same time, their dinner forgotten.

Th'ero doesn't seem in much of a hurry either with the actual eating portion of the whole affair. In fact, he hardly seems to touch much of the food served him. Not that it isn't good, but that his mind is just so distracted that he cannot focus on getting his fork to his plate and then up to his mouth. His wine however seems to have no trouble at all in finding his lips and most of the glass is drained by the time Marella has finished and Muir chimes in with his additions. He doesn't catch on to the Weyrwoman's prompts to her children, but he is giving them longer looks now given the nature of their questions. Sigh. "Not exactly and I suppose that happens to all Leaders at one point." He replies to the girl before turning to her sibling next, keeping his responses brisk and a little aloof. "Ah… no, no Velokraeth is very neat and clean with his meals." Awkward. And Thea isn't the only one about to facepalm, Th'ero is going to join her once the two children all but pounce on Kimmila. What was that about payback? "Oh yes, /do/ tell them what you found." The Weyrleader drawls, giving the bluerider a long look. See what you did? No way is he walking into that now. So he turns in his seat to finally focus on his meal. See? Too preoccupied to talk anymore.

Well damn, that backfired. Kimmila stares at the kids and takes a looooong sip of her ale. "Um. Well. I grew up in Fort. My mom's - was - the Senior there, so…I was in the Weyrleader's area a lot. And this desk has a little door, but you can only get it open with the point of your blade…" And she draws her silver and blue handled dagger at the table, leaning forward to show them the very fine point of it. No touchie! "Put it in there and you can pop off the front. There was just a rock in there. From a…a hide and seek game I used to play with the Weyrleader when I was a kid…" It's a cool story, but her delivery leaves a bit to be desired, all starts and stops and awkward pauses as she tries to come up with, you know…words. "Ask Th'ero about the time we ambushed him with snowballs." Nyah. Now it's /her/ turn to eat.

Noticing that his wineglass is empty, Thea offers over the wine bottle to Th'ero with a silent wry humor that speaks volumes. If he thinks the Weyr weighs heavy on him, just wait until he has kids! Better yet, wait until they are Darsce's age! "Romth throws his food up in the air," Muir shares with the sort of awe only a ten turn old boy has for the epic carnage resulting from that. "Eat or there'll be no dessert," Thea reminds her spawn firmly and both children absently do so while totally absorbed in Kimmila's account. The knife is oohed over but the story is what has them hooked regardless of the halting way it's delivered. Snowballs, psh! Their little minds are working overtime with secret drawers and things hidden therein. The rest of their meal is finished hastily. As twins will do when sharing a brain-wavelength, there's non-verbal communication going on between them if the very pregnant eyeing of each other while their mouths are too full to talk is any indication. Thea rises to get Kimmila another ale, setting the bottle beside her plate and it's shortly after that the twins ask to be excused and take their plates to the sink, both returning to say goodbye and 'Thanks Mr Th'ero and Miss Kimmila!' before skipping to the ladder to get that homework finished. They have their story! It's sure to be one of intrigue from what bits and pieces float down from the loft as the two discuss (argue) the plot. It’s a story of hidden desk drawers only able to be found by a Weyrwoman's offspring opened by a magic blue-handled knife in the presence of a Weyrleader after he'd been stabbed with the knife and with blood still on the blade (Ha! Someone noticed that bloodied shirt after all!). A secret compartment filled with jewels from pirate treasure that mind control the populace of Fort. Weyrleading. What an adventure!

Th'ero leaves Kimmila well enough alone for her little tale to Muir and Marella, though he gives her a long look and a slight frown when she pulls out the dagger. Really? Weapons at the dinner table? But it seems to bring no harm, so the Fortian Weyrleader lets it slide. Thea's offer of the wine bottle is taken graciously (and with obvious hidden thanks and relief) and he pours himself another glass before setting it aside. "Every dragon has a particular quirk or two. Eating habits included," he tells the boy before falling silent again and quietly enjoying his drink. It doesn't mean he's any less aware of the conversation and he snorts when Kimmila tries to bring up the snowball fight. Luckily for all, the twins are plotting their colorful story and are hastily retreating back up the ladder by the time Th'ero prepares some way to avoid having to share that tale. Giving a nod of response to their farewells, he relaxes somewhat once they're out of view. If any of their arguing reaches his ears, he pretends not to have heard the little snippets. If his behavior around them was any indication, the bronzerider is likely thankful (some days) that he has yet to have spawned any children of his own. Bad enough he can barely keep some of his riders in line, raising a child will likely go right over his head. "That was…" Th'ero begins, in an attempt to ease the silence a little. Awkward? What can he say that is positive and not sound so utterly sarcastic as he says it? "They're good kids. Curious and… bold." He finishes lamely and promptly downs a little more wine to cover his fumbling.

Ahh, ale. Making awkward dinners bearable since…forever. Kimmila smiles warmly at Thea - she's a good host! - and relaxes back into her seat once the kids are gone. "Yeah, good kids," she agrees. Watching them go, she exhales and turns to fix Th'ero a look. "So how's your injury? And how long are we staying? I'd prefer a lake weyr, if possible. Will it be a barn like this?" Seems she's got just as many questions as the twins do, as she puts her knife back into the sheath at her hip. She has one kid and she's not a great mother. Thank Faranth the girl has a great father, otherwise she'd really be messed up.

For some odd reason that Thea will never fathom, the only-once-ever-in-her-life-having-been-drunk (never again!) Weyrwoman's dinner parties are awash in booze. Go figure. Awkward? She hasn't seemed to even have noticed that, putting down any stiffness or reticence to their fatigue, battle aftermath and Th'ero's injury. "I'll be up to check on your homework in a little bit," she tells the retreating pair and though she hears those snippets, she's well used to them by now, so they are taken in stride. "Thanks," she says casually to Th'ero's compliment of the pair, though her pride in them is naturally there of course. "D'had treated them like they were made of glass until they were three turns old. He was afraid they would break I guess." Which might explain why he's so restrictive of her. In response to Kimmila's questions about where they're staying, she assures the woman, "I'll make sure the guest quarters are on the lake and if the one I’m thinking of is empty, it’ll be a barn like sort of like this.” For the questions about Th'ero's injury, she only adds one: "Are you in pain and did they give you anything for it? Because if they didn't, I have the stuff left over from when D'had sliced his hand open. He refused to take it." Woo! First she plies them with liquor, now drugs!

Th'ero can only smile faintly towards Thea's remarks on her Weyrmate's behavior with the twins when they were so young. It's hard to say who's side he's on, but perhaps he can understand some of D'had's reasoning. So he only shakes his head and keeps that sort of discussion for another day. Finishing the rest of his wine (because he'll need every last drop it seems), he turns his gaze back to Kimmila and his features have set back to one of neutral detachment that also is given to Thea in turn. Right, he was to report before the arrival of Muir and Marella. Exhaling heavily, he leans back as best he can in his chair, though it's stiff and awkward, the bandages under his shirt making it difficult for him to settle in a way he's used to. "Muscle damage mostly. Says it didn't puncture the actual body cavity… so I'll live." He snorts, likely to mask the fact that he doesn't quite understand the full extent of the terms, just enough to know he's not dying or in danger of dying anytime soon. "He stitched up the one end of it. Sevenday Between restriction…" And the source of his outburst that they caught through the door, to judge how he frowns heavily at that piece before he drawls on, "And other restrictions." Glancing over to the Weyrwoman, he shakes his head and waves off her offer for pain killers. "He's given me fellis. And I am in no pain, the numbweed is still doing it's work." To prove his point, he pushes back his chair (carefully) and slowly rises to his feet, using the table's if he has to for extra leverage. "I'm sure that whatever is available at the lake will be more then adequate. You've done more then enough for us… and I only regret that I'll be impeding on your time for a few days." Leave it to Th'ero to start going on a massive guilt trip now that the worst of his temper is gone and the day is winding down. Motioning for Kimmila to join him, he keeps his gaze otherwise trained on Thea as he adds, "Thank you for dinner. If you don't mind, I need to go set a few affairs in order. Dtirae is without a doubt not going to be pleased, but I need to send official word to Fort Weyr… Velokraeth can only relay so much." And he'll linger only for as long as it takes for the pleasantries to be exchanged again, honest or subtle before he'll quietly slip away with the Western bluerider (hopefully) in tow. Where he'll go for now is questionable, but he'll likely be anxious to be holed up in whatever accommodations Thea can find before too many prying eyes begin to question why the Fortian Weyrleader is lingering about.

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