Water and a Bath

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.

Jeffin hmms, "I'm a senior apprentice baker, it's what we do. I like to cook and give people good food to eat." He says as he's talking with Tenebrous who is seated at a table. It's late at night in the cavern.

Tenebrous casually spins his spoon around and between his fingers with uncanny dexterity. "So you bring people food," he says quietly. "…Fetch things. To eat." He closes his eyes for a moment and then leans down again, taking another small bite. "This is really quite good," he says at least. "Spices…"

There's a quiet flapping by the door for a moment before a small, lively green firelizard streaks into the room, cackling with glee. IN one of her clawed feet, she holds a folded piece of paper. Tenebrous looks up, and for the first time, his face lights up. "Flop!" He holds his arm out. "What did you bring me, FLop?"

Jeffin nods, "Sometimes, other times I cook the food, or help to cook the food, other times I help to clean up. Usually anything to do with food or the kitchen is part of what I do." He looks at the green firelizard, "Cute firelizard."

By now the entire Weyr is aware that earlier today Seryth's clutch has hatched and the gold is no longer sequestered in the Dragonhealer's Annex with an incubator preserving her eggs. Thea enters the caverns from the clearing with slow steps, her posture one bordering on total fatigue. The junior moves towards the Kitchen without really appearing to notice who is in here or even hear them speaking. Firelizard passing over her head is ignored - they're everywhere. One gets used to them. It is Shep, curled about Thea's neck who chirrs at the pair as she passes them, rousing the junior from her daze. "Hey," It's just a dull sort of greeting lacking her usual energy and cheer, although there is a faint smile for them.

Tenebrous is so caught up in Flop's arrival that he doesn't process exactly who it is that walks through the door. Instead, he merely accepts the small note from Flop's grip, slowly unfolding it. A small noise escapes his lips, and his hand trembles. "Master Fraille found it," he mumbles. Then he looks up at Jeffin, smiling. "The Master found my list," he says happily, and then glances back at the Green. "Where did she find it, Flop?" He begins scratching the little lizard under the chin.

Jeffin smiles a little bit, "I'm glad your master found your list." He says tot he young man whom he still hasn't gotten his name. He turns to see Thea and he has heard about what happened. He moves over to Thea, "Hello Weyrwoman can I get you anything?"

Thea slides into a seat next to Tenebrous, simply melting into it with the sort of air of one just barely awake so it's a low-voiced reply, "Hmm? Yeah sure, would you Jeffin? Missed lunch - and dinner too. The eggs." She props her elbow on the table and leans her chin on her palm, totally limp in posture. So far from threatening, no? There's no waving of hands or sharp looks coming from her tonight. She sighs her greeting to the young man sitting there. "Hi Tenebrous." She heard the comment about the note, sees his obvious joy about that and so murmurs, "Yeah?" She waits a beat before adding casually, "Your master seemed to think I knew where that was." She doesn't appear to be watching him, only glad he is happy.

Tenebrous smiles a bit wider, his eyes never leaving Flop's little head. "It'll be a late night, but I can finish the list, Flop." He MmmMmms a little at the mention of eggs. "She didn't give you eggs again, did she?" Then Thea says his name, and he blinks, his eyes unfocusing a little. "Tenebrous," he says to himself. A whole host of emotions plays across his face before he slowly turns towards Thea, his eyes widening a little.

Jeffin nods, "Gotcha Weyrwoman." He heads to the kitchen to fix her a hot and hearty dinner with a mug of klah. He comes back out, "Here you go Weyrwoman, now eat up you'll need your strength."

Thea winces ever-so-slightly as Jeffin says the word 'weyrwoman', her eyes, sliding to peek at Tenebrous from the corners as the word is spoken. The expressions flitting across Tenebrous' face appear to go unnoticed for as Jeffin heads off to the kitchen, the arm she's got her chin on, just slides down. Her head follows it to pillow face-down upon the table while she's waiting. Her voice comes out muffled to the young man, "It's good then that you can finish, yeah?" She doesn't add chattery fill to any silences. When Jeffin returns it is with reluctance that she lifts her head. "Ah, Jeffin. You're wonderful. Thanks." If the smile she gives him is wan, at least the quietly warm words might make up for it?

Tenebrous swallows once, nerveless fingers dropping the list to the table with a quiet 'pat' of sound. It's scooped up a moment later in an unconscious gesture, but Tenebrous isn't even paying attention to it anymore. Apparently content at her delivery, Flop chirrups once and then lifts off of Tenebrous' arm, casually floating back to the door and what must be home. Several quiet moments, he just watches Thea. Finally, he rasps, "I didn't…mean to drop it, Ma'am…" Then he swallows once more. Then, apparently seeking some diversion, he slides his glass of water over towards the tired rider. "The water is clean here," he whispers.

Thea begins eating slowly, keeping her eyes lowered to her plate, her shoulders relaxed to the point of drooping, her body just very still tonight. The green firelizard leaves unheeded by her, but Shep gives her a quiet chirp of farewell. The rasped comment from Tenebrous receives no immediate response. That glass of water slides over and Thea reaches for it without batting an eye. She lifts it to her lips and drinks without hesitation, before sliding it back with a gentle smile for him, her eyes fleetingly meet his if he doesn't look away. With her eyes on her plate, "It is," she agrees in a voice that conveys simple and natural agreement, as if this is something that pleases her too. It is a few bites later that she answers him in that same quiet tone, "I'm sure you didn't mean to." She draws a breath adding softly, "I should not have left it there."

Tenebrous wraps fingers around the glass that Thea slides back very slowly, looking at it with a bit of apprehension and wonder. "Left…what?" he offers a moment later. Then his own eyes fall to the list in his hand, and then they drift to his satchel. "You need a bath," he says, voice very quiet. One hand shyly creeps into his satchel, pulling out a small, wooden cylinder that's been stoppered with softwood.

Thea sits at one of the tables beside Tenebrous. It is late night and Seryth's eggs have hatched earlier. Thea is visibly tired as she eats a late supper. The pair are talking quietly. Thea keeps her head turned to her plate, for all the world it is the most interesting thing she has seen all day, staring at the diminishing food in a sort of dazed wonder as she eats. She swallows, carefully answering the young man, "I found your list. I should have followed and made sure you got it back." She takes another bite and it's while chewing that he comments about a bath. She slides him a curious look out of the corner of her eyes, but merely nods with another gentle smile, "I do. I just haven't had time today."

Jessamin ambles into the Caverns as she has so many times before, an old riding jacket about her shoulders. It is with visible relief that she espies a familiar face, inclining her head towards Thea. "Western's duties to you and your queens. Heard the good news about the hatching." A nod of greeting is spared for the others in the room at the moment.

Tenebrous is reaching for something in his satchel when the new voice arrives, and he removes his hand from it slowly. He looks between Thea and Jessamin for a few moments, his eyes oddly unfocused, and then mumbles, "You did right," to Thea's comment about the list.

Thea's head turns with languid slowness at Jessamin's voice, "And to Western's." Her response is automatic, and it takes her a few moments to realize who has spoken. She remains seated and while her face brightens with recognition, her eyes have a warm sympathy there as the former Candidate approaches but all she says is, "I heard." She lifts her arms silently offering a hug to the girl. Her eyes slide towards Tenebrous, taking in more than just his words. The glance is brief, her lips curve in a relieved smile for him, "Thanks. I wasn't sure." Her eyes watch Jessamin with understanding as she approaches.

Jessamin keeps her steps measured as she fights to keep her composure, approaching Thea to hug her tightly. "It happens. Never any easier, no matter how many times. But Shards, once the Hatching was over and I got word of Seryth's clutch making it, I just had to come congratulate you in person." Some of her smile has returned, and she looks over to Tenebrous. "Jessamin, Western Weyr."

Very slowly, those unfocused eyes trail over Jessamin's face, always missing her eyes in return. It's a thoughtful face, yet surprisingly blank, and when Tenebrous speaks, it's with something akin to a child's curiosity. "Did they talk to you?" His head straightens up again. "They never talked to me, but I listened anyway, until the others took the little ones away." Then he nods at something, his face solemn. "A Fetch is all," he finishes, touching a hand to his chest.

Thea's hands move in a gentle comforting way on Jessamin's back as she croons, "Shhhh… shhhh… It's okay to be disappointed. It's okay to cry if you need to." She pauses, listening to the girl's words, responding with, "I've been left on the Sands before too. I know what it's like." Her arms return the squeeze before she releases her with a smile for her congratulations, "We can rest now. It's been very hard this time." She listens to Tenebrous, but watches Jessamin's face with suddenly keen eyes instead of turning back to the young man, although she nods in response to his question, answering aside to him, "The egg Seryth was in talked to me. It made me cry."

Jessamin 's lips are pressed into a thin line at the mention of eggs talking, and straightens some. "That was one of the worst parts. One of the eggs… well, it was like looking into a mirror where even your flaws were beautiful. But that hatchling was quick to Impress elsewhere. Pretty little green, too." She leans in to whisper briefly to Thea for a moment… "It sounds as if he took being left on the Sands even harder than I did. Maybe I should return when there's not so much egg talk happening?"

Tenebrous's face never changes as he watches Thea and Jessamin together, and to all appearances, he doesn't appear to notice. "Most people don't listen…even if the little ones talk to them. Then the eggs go elsewhere, and they don't know why." His head tilts a little. "I listened," he says, a little confusion in his voice. "But they left anyway." Then a little smile tugs at one side of his face. "They said nice things."

Thea merely nods to the things Jessamin says about eggs, but when the girl leans in to whisper she blinks with a faint frown, but doesn't comment. Instead of whispering back she lifts one brow a tiny bit, murmuring, "Might direct that one to Tenebrous?" She turns to him when he speaks, it's a casually slow movement, "Seryth's egg was peaceful, but it asked me how would I know-" her voice catches as she says it, "-if he's gone forever." She pauses to draw a breath before asking softly, "Tell me something you heard?"

Jessamin offers a soft smile to Tenebrous and Thea, hugging Thea once more before stepping back. "I should probably be going, at least for a little while. It was just good to get out for a little while after being Weyrbound for so long. Both of you.. be well, alright?" With that, she turns and heads back out the way she came, seeming a little lighter in spirit for a visit, however brief.

Tenebrous watches the visitor leave before he turns back to face Thea, his voice serious. "Master Fraille told me once, when I was younger, that the little ones never lie. Not on the sand…" He looks at the glass of water that he'd passed to Thea earlier, and then quietly picks it up while, gazing into its depths. "She's never been wrong before," he whispers. "And I listened. I always…listen." Then, very slowly, he stands, and begins wrapping a cloth napkin around the glass.

Thea nods, listening carefully, "I've never seen a small one, but I can tell you that none of them lie." She says it very seriously before adding, "Dragons don't lie either." She doesn't argue about whether Fraille could be wrong ever, instead she says sincerely, "Listening is important." Her expression does not change when he picks up that glass and wraps it in the cloth, but her nearly-finished dinner is totally forgotten as she watches him with that same stillness about her that she's had since she sat down.

Tenebrous's face is a bag of mixed emotions as he gingerly tucks the glass away, some strange kind of trophy in his mind. When he finally pulls his hand back out of his satchel, it holds a small, wooden tube, stoppered with a bit of softwood. He gets it down on the table very gently, next to your place. "You need a bath," he says again, brushing his fingers against the vial. And it's suddenly clear that he's not talking about your smell, your state of cleanliness. Only that the things that go with a bath might be beneficial. Then he ducks his head a little, pushes his chair in, and slings his satchel across his shoulders.

Thea remains still, and grave as the glass goes into that satchel, "The water is very good here." She hesitates then finishes, "You can have as much of it as you want. Tell them I said so." Her eyes follow his hand as he places the vial beside her plate and it is with a sort of fascinated awe that she lifts it, her attention returns to him and she smiles radiantly, a softness that lifts the tired look from her face completely, firm approval in her tone, "Thank you, I will use this in it, shall I? All of it?"

Tenebrous smiles a bit shyly. "Yeah. All of it." He looks down at the list in his other hand and closes his fingers around it. "I have to go now, Ma'am," he says quietly. "Thank you for the water." He shuffles backwards a little bit and then bobs his head in Thea's direction. A practiced motion pulls that hood up over his head, and he slides over towards the doorway in that slouched, easy glide. He stops there, half in and half out, not looking at you. His voice sounds very strange when he speaks next, distant. Dead. "It wasn't my fault," he intones. "But they took it away anyway."

Thea's voice comes as he's walking away, "Can you do me a favor?" It's a breathless question, "When nobody else is around, will you call me Thea?" It's a barely-there request that is left to hang in the wake of his leaving. Her whole posture changes the moment his back is to her, she straightens in her chair and her gaze assessing. When he stops, her fatigue drops back like a cloak even though he isn't looking her way. There's the barest pause before she says softly, "I believe you, Fetch." The label is used deliberately and may be the only time he ever hears her use it.

Tenebrous's head turns to look at Thea from over his shoulder, face dark under that hood. "You believe me. But Master Fraille does not…" He turns away. "Thea." Then he ghosts out to do whatever it is that he does at night.

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