Plotting for Fun and Profit

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns

A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.

A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, a big archway the largest and that leading outside. Shallow stairs to the west lead to the offices and administration area while tunnels to the east lead to the infirmary, kitchen and resident's quarters. Southwards, a sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs and southwest is a wide tunnel, carefully roped off to avoid accidents.

It's at the beginning of the dinner hour, and the living cavern is slowly filling up with people filing in for a meal after finishing their work for the day. R'zel seems to have finished his duties a little early and is already midway through his meal, a thick herdbeast steak. He has a thoughtful look on his face, watching the crowd. His table is otherwise unoccupied.

M'nol enters the caverns, seeking dinner like so many others, looking perhaps a tad more haggard than most. He finds himself some food, not really looking too hard at what he takes, then looks around for a seat. There are more than a few empty seats lingering around the room but he spots R'zel and heads that way with a tired-sounding, "Hey there, R'zel."

R'zel looks up and smiles brightly when he spots M'nol, snapping out of whatever thoughts were occupying his mind. "M'nol! Hi! I'm glad to see you… there was something I was just thinking I wanted to discuss with you. Have a seat!" He says, gesturing to the empty chair across from him. "How're you doing? Working hard, it sounds like."

M'nol chuckles quietly, "Lots of sweeps. More'n usual, I think. And it's getting hotter." He eyes R'zel, taking a sip of what he assumes is klah and a bite of a meatroll, "What's on your mind?"

R'zel lifts his mug of juice, taking a sip and grinning. "I had a little idea that I think might work out to help both of us… but first, tell me how things are going with Phylicia. Have you had more luck getting to see her?"

M'nol shakes his head, "We've both been too busy. I keep having sweeps during the rare times she's free anymore." He sighs, then asks, "Help both of us? Are you plotting something?"

"Me? Plotting?" R'zel says with a little laugh, grinning again. "I suppose you know me well enough by now, M'nol. Anyways… I just happened to meet this very charming young journeywoman healer the other day. She's been assigned here to complete a project researching new treatments for firehead. Seems like she has a lot of work on her hands. What if I tried to pull some strings to get Phylicia assigned to assist her?"

M'nol eyes R'zel, "Assigned?… but… I thought Phy *was* still assigned to Xanadu… just called back for training… and she wants to do general and herbs…" Now the poor lad's confusing himself. He takes another draught of klah and chews through the rest of the meatroll, still thinking. After the final swallow he sighs, "Do you think that would work? I mean… how could you even pull strings?"

"Well, the way I figure it, I could put in a good word about Phylicia with Farrah. If a more senior healer makes a request for help on a high priority research project, they'd basically have to let her come back. Right?" R'zel shrugs, taking another bite of steak. "I don't know. I'm not a healer. But it's worth a shot, don't you think?"

M'nol smiles, thinking, "S'pose it's worth a try… I mean, the worst that happens is they say no, right?" A chill runs up his spine, "Or they assign her somewhere in the high reaches and I never see her again."

"Well, something tells me that trying to get her assigned to Farrah's project won't make it /more/ likely that she gets shipped out to the boonies. So, if it can't hurt, isn't it worth a shot?" R'zel says with a smile, taking another bite. "Just say the word, and I'll talk to her about it."

M'nol ponders for a few moments, making his way through another meatroll and finishing off his mug of klah, then he nods, "Do it. Please. It… I mean, Western's hatching should be within the next two sevendays and I really want to take her with me. I promised Jessa I'd try to be there." He grins, "You should probably go too."

"Of course I will." R'zel says with a slightly sad smile. "I do have to see Jessamin stand. Even if things didn't work out just the way I'd like, she's still a very good friend." R'zel grins more and takes another bite. "Anyways. Got to stay positive and focused on the future. I'll do what I can to get Phylicia working under Farrah. And then, well…" His grin grows a little. "If Farrah happens to… oh, I don't know, ask about me… I'm sure Phylicia could put in a good word, couldn't se?"

M'nol chuckles softly, "I'm sure that's something you'd have to take up with Phy, though I'm sure she's got nothing bad to say about you." He cocks an inquisitive brow, "What changed your mind, though? What's so special about Farrah?"

R'zel laughs a little and shrugs his shoulders. "Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'm in love with her or anything. I'm still not looking for anything serious, my attitude hasn't changed. But she's clever, charming, and gorgeous. I'd quite like to get to know her better. Nothing wrong with that, is there?"

M'nol chuckles, "Not for most, I don't think. Nothing wrong with wanting to get to know someone better at all. I think that's how most relationships start, friendly or more than friendly." Another meatroll loses its life to Morl's seemingly inescapable hunger.

R'zel gobbles up the last bit of his steak and leans back in his chair, grinning. "Exactly. Besides which, she's a terribly beautiful young woman. If nothing else, I have to at least convince her to model for a painting or two. But I figure having someone vouch for me couldn't hurt."

M'nol chuckles, "Certainly couldn't hurt. You and your paintings, though. Have you ever asked a less-than-gorgeous woman to model for you?"

R'zel grins and shrugs his shoulders. "All women are beautiful, in their own way… though I must admit in all honesty that some are moreso than others. Trust me, if you saw this Farrah girl…" He chuckles and shakes his head. "Mmm. Besides, healers… well, you know as well as anyone that they know lots of things about the body, right?" He says with a wink.

M'nol smiles, but blushes deeply red at the same time and mumbles something that sounds like, "I've more'n heard…"

R'zel laughs brightly and grins at M'nol. "You're a good man, M'nol. A good friend, too. Anyways, we'll see how things go. I don't always have the best track record with women. Maybe linking her up with Phylicia will push things in the right direction."

M'nol chuckles softly, his blush beginning to fade, "Thanks… maybe… you try to hard? I dunno… Phy and I just sort of happened. One day I'm helping her up from a fall, the next she's blushing and telling me it's not her writing me creepy love letters, but maybe she should…" He blushes again, not having intended on mentioning that.

"Oh yeah…" R'zel is thoughtful for a moment, glancing up at the ceiling. "Did they ever figure out who was writing those creepy things? I never heard how all of that was resolved." He shrugs. "Hmm. Well, maybe I should be a little more casual."

M'nol shrugs and shakes his head, "They just sort of stopped… maybe a month before we were allowed out own weyrs… about a week after Phy and I… I think whoever it was found out and gave up. Part of me worries that they'll do something to hurt her."

R'zel furrows his brow a little. "But… you weren't the only one getting them, right? I thought I heard a couple of candidates and weyrlings were getting them. So it probably wasn't targetting you specifically." He shrugs again. "Well, if it stopped, there's nothing more to worry about. Anyways… I really do hope that this will help you spend more time with Phy. I'm sorry my 'abduction' didn't pan out."

M'nol shakes his head, "The ones we were getting in the candidates barracks… those were a few other candidates. Zevida, Cenlia, Kezia, and I caught them while we were cot-less. The ones I was getting in the Weyrling barracks, though," he shudders, "much creepier because they weren't playful at all." He chuckles then, focusing on the more pleasant topic of conversation, "Thanks for trying… and I may not have gotten rid of that guard without your help. And it was well worth it." He smiles a little, his eyes glazing over briefly.

"Creepy, non-playful love letters…" R'zel gets a devious grin. "Of course! The culprit is obvious. It must have been Vivian." He can't help but laugh a little at that. "Anyways… you don't need to thank me, M'nol. What are friends for, after all?"

M'nol chuckles, "*That* one I doubt. Vivian will even occasionally give me the time of day now. Even danced with me at graduation." He smiles, "Friends help when they're needed, doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't thank them for it."

"Vivian…" R'zel thinks for a moment, then laughs. "You know, she would make a really good painting model, too. If I could stand her company long enough to paint her. She's got the looks for it, at least." He shrugs and has another drink. "Well, you're welcome, M'nol. I know you'd do the same for me."

M'nol nods, "Course I would, though perhaps not as eloquently." He chuckles, "Paint her in her sleep. It's her best side, anyway."

"Oh yeah, that sounds like a great idea." R'zel says with a smile and no small amount of sarcasm. "I'll just sneak into her weyr in the middle of the night with my easel and paints. And when she wakes up and sees me there, I'll just say… what?"

M'nol chuckles, "Kelioth had a nightmare that you were in danger and asked Mikalath to ask me to make sure you were okay… I just happened to be painting at the time, so I brought my supplies along. Don't mind me, now that she knows your fine you can drift right back off to sleep." He giggles again, "Or you could just scream and run.

R'zel laughs and shakes his head. "No, no. Points for creativity, but I value my skin too much. Besides…" He grins and leans in. "If she was sleeping, she'd have her sheets covering her best features. Waste of a painting."

M'nol chuckles, "I suppose if you want to paint those, sleeping would necessarily work… you could send flits to watch her shower and bring back images."

R'zel chuckles as he considers that suggestion for a moment. "That may just work… but you know, M'nol, even I have limits to what I'll do for my art. And I think that may just be beyond them."

M'nol chuckles softly, "Most likely. Definitely violates my self-preservation instinct, but it's an option." He smiles, "Honestly, I don't find naked all that much more attractive than clothed…"

R'zel smiles and shrugs his shoulders. "Well, it's different in the world of art, you know. Nude portraits age better. After all, fashions change quickly and what seems appealing one day can seem ridiculously dated in another. An image of a beautiful woman without clothes, however, never goes out of style." He says with another grin.

M'nol chuckles, "Perhaps… I dunno, I'd be perfectly happy looking at paintings of beautiful faces, I guess."

R'zel grins. "Maybe I should do a painting of Phylicia's face sometimes, then. Give you something to brighten up your weyr. Besides, she'd make a good subject, and I wouldn't try to get a friend's girl to pose without her clothes."

M'nol smiles, "That might be nice… yeah, I think I'd like that." He chuckles at the thought of Ruz painting Phy naked, "Don't think you could get her to, either way. She's pretty modest."

R'zel smiles and shrugs his shoulders. "Well, it's a moot point. I wouldn't betray a friend like that, no matter how pretty the girl. If you see her before I do… and I imagine you probably will… tell her I'd be happy to do a portrait any time. Free of charge, of course. Consider it a weyr-warming gift."

M'nol smiles warmly, "Thanks Ruz. I'll let her know when I see her. 'Course some day I should pay your for some art." He chuckles softly.

R'zel grins and laughs a little at that. "Well M'nol, before I impressed it was a matter of my livelihood. Now, I have my wingrider wages, and I'm living pretty comfortably. What's important to me is that my art ends up with people who will appreciate it. Charging is one way to do that. But I know that if I give you some of my work, you'll appreciate it. So no charge is necessary."

M'nol chuckles, "Doesn't mean that I might not want to commission something sometime. A picture of me and Hyrlon and Faraeth and Hysk for my folks, maybe."

"You want it, you've got it." R'zel says, grinning. "If it's a big project, I might have to charge… but just enough to cover the cost of my materials. I won't ask for more than that from a friend."

M'nol smiles, "I'll let you know. Wish there was someway to get Myron down here and do all three of us, but his wher's too young to travel that far."

"Well, just give it a couple turns, and I'm sure we'll be able to make that happen." R'zel says with a smile. His meal finished, he rises from his seat. "Anyways… I have a project I wanted to finish up tonight. But I'm glad we got to chat. When you see Phy, mention Farrah and the portrait to her, alright?"

M'nol chuckles and nods, "I will, of course. And it was good talking to you, too, Ruz. It gets lonely outside the barracks sometimes."

"Well, come pay me a visit sometime. I'm always happy to hang out." R'zel says with a smile as he gathers up his empty dishes. "I'll see you soon, M'nol. Have a good evening." With a wave, he heads off.

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