A weyr for Briana

Xanadu Weyr – Forest

The sunlight filters gently through the canopy of the verdant forest, causing the foil garlands and hearts hung from the branches to shimmer and flicker as the soft breeze blows them in an out of the narrow holes of light. Widely spaced among the trees are small intimate tables with seating for two to four apiece. These tables are decorated with small red baskets of glows in the center of each and are covered with red tablecloths. Firelizards flit overhead with long streamers tied to their tails by overly festive owners. Just outside the edge of the forest a large buffet table is set with all the food. The centerpiece is a large bouquet of red, pink, white, and gold flowers. Stuck in it are some small dragon figurines on stick, 3 for each color of dragon are scattered throughout. The white table cloth has a red garland looped around the edge. And the food! This is not a healthy meal. There are cakes, pies, cookies, candies, and other sweets. Also a few fruits. One industrious cook did make a candied ham and put it up there. Anything that can be is heart shaped. Finally, hidden in among the trees in a small clearing is a streamer draped harper stage in all the usual colors. There is a small space in front for the dancers to dance in and the edge is ringed with small red, gold, and pink glow baskets hung on poles to provide light come nightfall.

The Graduation after-ceremony party has lasted well into the night but finally seems to have wound down. The harpers have played their last piece and are finally putting their instruments up, dancers have drifted off, mothers have taken sweet-stuffed sleepy tots home to bed. Belior hangs low over the trees and Timor is dipping near the horizon. Here and there at the small tables a couple sits talking quietly, sipping the last dregs of their wine. It's been a wonderful party for Weyrfolk and guest alike, not to mention at least some of the Graduates. Thea has been here, with her family for awhile, then drifting and mingling to congratulate people. Twins having been retired long ago, she's returned and apparently seeking someone, a long envelope of pale gold in hand as she walks quietly through the tables looking for a certain dark-haired new Junior.

Briana seemed to have had a good time tonight, spent some time dancing with Fl'ynn after the kiss on stage. Now though she is settled at a table talking with one of the cooks, no doubt about the feast that was prepared tonight. The dark skinned girl seems to look weary on one hand and yet still a bit energized by the excitement of the night, "Those pastries…were fabulous, that blend of flavours.." "Bri, I think someone is looking for ya.." The cook says before the girl looks up to Thea and rises to her feet to give a salute, "Weyrwoman, can I help you?"

"I don't mean to interrupt you," the weyrwoman flickers her attention between Briana and the cook with an uplift of dark brows adding to that an unvoiced question as to whether they are possibly staying much longer. "Briana, this is for you," she continues offering over that envelope. "The key to your new weyr." She makes no move to sit down, but doesn't seem rushed when she adds, "There's a map in there with the key, but I'd feel better showing you the way to find it. The paths are dark, but I know the forest." She holds up a light; one of those old-fashioned oil types, the soft glow of the already-lit lantern falls on the table as her arm lifts.

"Its ok Ma'am, I better get to tidying up around here." The cook says with an encouraging smile to Briana. The girl nods before looking back to Thea. At the mention of the weyr her eyes widen a bit, "I very nearly forgot…so much time in the barracks I very nearly thought of going back there tonight." She looks around a moment as if seeking someone before she shakes her head a bit and steps alongside the woman. The forest would well have been her choice, which might seem odd and not at the same time. Most of her life has been spent beneath forest canopies…there is a certain comfort to it, protected by the trees around them.

Amused, very. "You could," Thea drawls, "but after all the dancing and drinking tonight never know what you'll find in there. Maybe something you'd rather not." Like drunk ex-weyrlings doing things they really ought to find privacy for. Her lips curve in a sly smile, her lashes flutter in a barely-there wink that leaves no doubt what she's referring to. "Come walk with me?" she says with a quiet invitation that leaves it up to her whether she wants to or not; she certainly won't insist.

Briana seems hesitant for a moment, "Ma'am…I have never had a place all my own, not more than a cubby at least." She looks upon the trail before Sahazyth comes up behind her and rumbles softly, wuffling Briana's hair. The girl reaches up to the dragon and takes a deep breath as her eyes unfocus. Whatever is said between them seems to finally settle the girl before she looks back to Thea and nods. "Ok Ma'am." She says and walks along the trail, the gold dragon trailing behind her. "It was a good ceremony Ma'am…I was glad to see we all graduated.."

As Sahazyth joins her rider, the weyrwoman's quiet smile includes the both of them. "Time to fix that then," she says of the girl never having a place of her own. "And you'll be needing a place for her. Somewhere the two of you can have privacy together." When Briana has risen, she pivots and starts out on the main trail, lifting the lantern so the wavering light can guide them. As they walk, and they do go quite a ways before turning off on a smaller trail, she listens to Briana. "I can say with all honesty I've never seen a more enthusiastic group." This is a chuckled comment before a quizzical glance is given sidelong in the younger woman's direction. Concerned compassion laces the question to follow, "Were you able to enjoy it even though your family wasn't there?" That she knows of anyway.

Briana follows along just a step behind the woman, her golden gaze taking in the path and the direction they are going so she can find her way back. "Yeah, it was getting a bit crowded in the barracks. She ain't exactly small anymore." As if she ever was! She giggles at the comment of enthusiasm, "Yeah, there was a little of that. Not sure if Qe'pol or Fl'ynn was louder…It was…it was a most enjoyable night." She says before the last question as her looking to the forest again. "Yes Ma'am. I will right to her later and share it with her."

The quiet sounds of the forest fill between the gaps in conversation: sleepy-voiced insects, muted from where they are hidden amongst ferns and other undergrowth, the occasional night bird calls are echoed by the sweet chirp of tree frogs. "I'm glad," Thea says simply about the enjoyment the girl expresses, a searching look given to assure herself that it is truly meant. "I am sorry that things are as they are with her; it's really a shame." Sincerely meant before she adds kindly, "If your mother ever decides to leave the Renegades and wishes to make her home here we might be able to work that out." They've come quite a ways on this lateral path, the way winding about huge trees and bypassing quite a few turnoffs to other weyrs before they enter a stand of dense trees and another turnoff thickly carpeted with moss that muffles their footfalls. The clearing they enter is unremarkable, Thea's lifted lantern illumines a simple brown cottage, the shimmer of a pond off to one side barely glimpsed. "It's locked, so you'll need the key from the envelope, Briana." There's a hint of mystery in her tone, the dance of her eyes caught by the flame in the lantern.

"I think I will have to prove myself first Ma'am. If she comes here, I don't want her to come here as a prisoner. I at least had a fondness of the weyrs and positive memories…for her to be treated thusly, will only remind her why she did not like weyrs to begin with." Briana says almost matter of factly about her mother. As they come upon the cottage, Briana gasps in surprise. The simple brown cottage already exceeding her expectations. "Oh wow…this is mine?" She and Sahazyth look over to the pond before the gold dragon heads to her wallow under the tarp. «Almost right.» She says, digging a few bits of earth in some areas. Well she has always been particular about the bed. Briana grins then takes the key and sets it into the lock, taking another deep breath before she opens the door. As her eyes fall upon the grand interior she looks back to Thea in a look of disbelief, "Are you sure this is the right place? This can't all be for me…"

"Has she committed a crime?" It's rhetorical; she doesn't seem to think the woman has. Thea's acerbic comment is followed immediately by a wryly chuckled assurance, "We don't take women as prisoners if they aren't caught in criminal activities. Not if I have anything to say about it!" She lifts the lantern higher so dragon and rider can see the clearing better. As they step up to the door and it is opened, the Weyrwoman reaches past Briana to flip on the switch, flooding the room with light. She's looking not at the room - she's been here before after all - but at the girl's face and she is not disappointed at all by Briana's response. "If you want it, it is the right place." She lowers the now unneeded lamp. "What do you think?"

Briana looks back at Thea, "I haven't either Ma'am and some have treated me as I have. I won't put my Ma through that. Most will see her as just a renegade." She gives a shrug at that, "Whether she is kept as a prisoner or not. People are making bets on when I will turn against the weyr." At least it does not hurt quite so much to say it. But those thoughts are lost to her as she looks at the room in front of her. "It is amazing Ma'am…I can't believe this is for me." She says as she finally manages to breath and speak again. She takes a few more steps in to look over the furniture displayed here and the layout. Fingers brushing over the items ever so lightly as if she might disturb them they would disapear. "It…oh Thea…"

Firmly, "Well, we haven't." The 'we' a collective to indicate the Weyrleadership, not some of her judgmental peers. As for the betting, "I know," Thea sighs a gentle relinquishment to the young rider's sentiment. "I imagine a person would have to be strong-minded to work though the transition, but she ever decides to come be with you, she can count on the same support I'm giving you." Her features soften as Briana explores the room, a grin of pure pleasure replaces the one fraught with her distress over the situation. "This cottage belonged to one of our brownriders. She was Igenite of Traderstock." Her pale green eyes take in the luxurious furnishings. "I think she collected things from everywhere she'd been."

Briana looks up to Thea and nods,"I know, you have been great and Keziah and M'nol too. I know a lot of people are not looking for me to fail and that makes it easier. As someone says, just got to wait for the next big distraction and they will be betting on something else." At least she is not letting it way her down too much. "Will see…I think it is too late for my brothers, but …will see." She says with a softer tone of voice as her fingers continue to brush over the items here. "What happened to her?" She asks as she looks up, "Why did she leave everything behind?"

"Well, in truth, deep down I'm pretty sure the majority of the weyrfolk really don't want to lose another queen nor her junior weyrwoman," Thea says sincerely. "Remember sometimes a lot of the surface bravado and the challenge of a bet results in a lot of big talk. Some are genuinely afraid and so choose to dwell on the negative side of speculation." Her expression is neutral throughout this, understanding both sides perhaps. As for the brownrider who left this magnificent weyr vacant, "Oh she fell in love with a rich lord in one of the desert holds beholden to Igen and went to live with him in his gorgeous mountain hold. When she saw -his- stuff, she didn't want to take any of -her- stuff." Thea's fingers flick the room's opulence away as if it was found negligible in the brownrider's eyes in comparison, but her eyes crinkle in merriment as if to ask, 'can you imagine?!'

Briana moves into the sleeping area and can't help but hop down onto the bed, hands spreading over the sheets. "This…I cannot believe this is all for me and Sahazyth." She exclaims looking very much like a kid in a candy shop. Briana looks up to Thea as she explains why this weyr was left with everything in it and she just shakes her head, "All this history…all this amazing stuff. I can hardly imagine. Thank you Thea…this means more than I can say."

Thea's amusement grows as she watches Briana and she very nearly chortles aloud. Instead she coughs then admits a bit sheepishly, "Don't thank me. Saeriya left implicit instructions that we leave her place intact and give it to a rider with little to his or her name. You fit her requirements nicely. So I guess…" Her eyes dance as she finishes the thought, "…in truth you should be thanking your renegade parents?" All said with a gentle irony and good humor. "Now this-" The hand not holding the lantern flings out to include the dwelling, "-is something to write home about, eh?" She tips her head to the side a little, her lips fighting the grin trying to emerge. Fail. "I have one myself to write to a certain brownrider in Igen's mountains. I'll leave you to get some sleep now. If you can." And with that she slips back out into the night, her soft laughter floating back in her wake.

"Yeah, I suppose so." Briana says a touch of amusement at the irony. Indeed she arrived with naught but a small bag, a firelizard and a dagger. Much of her clothes obviously found in the storerooms, little of it fitting properly. That she has been growing and filling out the last couple turns hasn't helped either. "Yeah, definately something to write home about." She says as she looks around then back at Thea before hopping up from the bed and going over to quickly embrace the woman if allowed. "Thank you very much and give her thanks from me…its perfect."

Before leaving, Thea does indeed allow the hug, returning it even. Telling Briana that she'll be happy to include a note in with her letter should the girl wish to write one. Then she's off to find her way back down the dark trail to her own home and family on the Coastal Road. The twins are likely still up and bouncing off the walls from all the sugar they ate and she must save the Weyrsecond's sanity, see? If that's even possible.

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