Trials and Tribulations of a Headwoman

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 afternoon at Xanadu. Most people are filing out after lunch, but the bronzer is filing in. Behind him trails a tiny K'ael, the bronzer's son Milo. K'ael fixes two plates, one for each of them. His is stacked high with sandwiches and fruit. Milo gets the same, though his sandwich is cut into quarters and there is much smaller portions. Two cups of juice are also taken, and Milo and K'ael make their way over to a table to start eating. Any table will do! As long as there's space for them both.

Plenty of space for bronzerider and son. There are entire tables empty, despite the lunchtime hour. Most of the folks who wanted lunch in the rush are leaving, and it makes it a much more pleasant place to take a more leisurely sort of meal. Amid it all, Ocelara's perched in her ridiculous chair…quietly peering at some paperwork instead of spinning. She squints, she opens her eyes, she draws the paper closer and further away…and scowls at it quietly. That must be some of the worst handwriting on Pern.

Well, it -would- be nice and pleasant and peaceful. And it is, for a little bit. Until K'ael turns 10 again and him and his son start lobbing food at each other. Pieces of fruit are flung across the table. Which is fine… until a stray pieces goes flying. Right at Ocelara! The bronzer hunkers down and tells Milo that the game is over. At least the rest are picked up by the firelizards, even if they're not too interested in eating them.

Ocelara glances up from the moment of chaos…and purses her lips together in a frown that'd be more suitable for a woman about four times her age. She peers…but it's pretty obvious she didn't see WHO did it! "Try and keep the festivities to a minimum. And the wasting of food." She makes the word 'festivities' sound like 'shenannigans' with her simple intonation of it!

K'ael and Milo are both looking at Ocelara as she frowns. There's some audible snickers from their direction as Ocelara scolds whoever had flung the food. "Yes ma'am. Tote that cavern barge. Lift that cavern pail." The bronzer salutes her. What a bad influence he is. Milo is giggling away at his father. Unfortunately the bronzer is going to end up giving his son a bad name with the headwoman.

Ocelara seems oblivious to the little one…then again, one can hardly blame the child when the child's father's acting like a four turn old! "K'ael." Oh shards…now names have come into it. "Could you please come here?" She gestures…to a spot on the floor next to her throne-like chair.

K'ael looks across the table at Milo. "Why don't you head down to the caverns, Milo? Go play." The bronzer's son doesn't need another invitation. He picks up what's left of his sandwich and heads further into the caverns. The bronzer picks up his juice and heads over to Ocelara with a grin. "What can I do for you, headwoman?" He leans on the side of her chair, basically sitting on one of the arms.

The creaky old rattan chair gives a groan that could be considered alarming, but Ocelara simply requests, "Could you not break my chair, K'ael?" And then, as if she expects obedience, she holds up the paperwork, "Can you make out what this number is? The handwriting is atrocious." She points her finger to the offending number…which might be a bit cramped, but is hardly illegible! "I do not want a repeat of what's happened at both Ista and Eastern of late." Bizaare misshipments. Too many pairs of pants. A bankrupting amount of purple cloth. The like.

K'ael chuckles and nods. He gets off the chair and then sets his juice down. "Hm… let's see." He picks up the paperwork and squints at it. "I think that's a one. But it looks like a seven. Who wrote this? I can't imagine the Harper hall needs seventy light bulbs. Unless they don't get them that often." He laughs. "Mm. At least we didn't have to deliver all that junk. I don't know what you would do with four hundred pairs of pants."

She muses, "Seventy lightbulbs." She shakes her head, as if perhaps she wasn't sure that was the number, either. She rubs her eyes with her fingertips, then agrees, "They do not seem to order them often, but looking back at what records I have…" Apparently, those aren't in the best of orders. "Ten would be more usual…twenty on the outside." She makes a face, quietly…unusual to see her perturbed over something so simple! "Thank you. I'll send a message back to confirm." She notes, "Though seventy lightbulbs would certainly garner a few more marks…" And marks, right now, come in handy.

"Maybe they're planning some sort of moonlight Gather. Ooh, that would be fun. We should do that here at Xanadu. Have everything go on during the night. Dancing and singing and feasting." Not that Gathers didn't often go into the wee hours of the night anyways. He laughs. "Well, they would, sure. But only if they actually paid for that many. Otherwise you'll just tax the wings trying to deliver them all. I'm sure that you can pull up the last order on the computer-thingy." He pulls a chair over to sits next to her. "So how're things going? Not getting stressed out, are you?"

She lifts her eyes up, for one of those cool, univiting glances. But she does look like her eyes are a bit red…like she's been rubbing them. It's not a flattering look for her! "Stressed out? Of course not. Things have been going fairly well, all things considered. Though the stores are starting to be lean again, and with all the excess rain again." Well. It's on just about everyone's mind!

It's afternoon at Xanadu. K'ael has eaten lunch and now is sitting next to Ocelara, chatting. He peers up at her. "You sure? It can't be easy for any headwoman having a newish weyrwoman around. Not sure how things are in Thea's office these days." There's a bit of a shrug about the stores. "They get low this time of year. There's always a lot of rain in Xanadu. I wouldn't let it keep you up at night." walks into the caverns with a tray, depositing the dirty dishes and tray where they go. She pours herself a glass of juice and snags a bubbly and is just about to leave when she sees K'ael and perks up, a broad smile parting her lips. She walks that direction, though behind him, "I timed this just right," she says then she smiles at Ocelara, her head tilting at the red eyes a look of 'eek' quirking her smile. "Err..everything ok?" she asks. Surely K'ael hadn't made her cry!

Ocelara glances up at the arrival of Zip, and then offers her a bit of a smile. Her smile definately comes easier for brownrider than for the bronzerider! He can't catch a break. But no, it just looks like the young headwoman has a bad case of hayfever, maybe. Or just red, dry, irritated eyes. "Trying to make out some of the worst handwriting on Pern, that's all. We can ill afford a fiasco as has happened at Eastern or at Ista of late." Too much purple fabric, too many pairs of pants. That sort of thing. "And it's my job and duty to worry about the stores and the weather…so that everyone else doesn't have to." As far as working with Thea? That does make her smile a little, "Thea and I have both known each other since the Weavercrafthall…if I'm missing paperwork I just go raid her office."

K'ael might be horrible, but he's not that horrible! Well, not usually. He has made plenty of girls cry though. Zip included.

K'ael looks extremely distressed at the brownie's opening comment. "You timed it!?" Then he realizes what she means and calms down. "Oh, you mean you got here at just the right moment." Whew. He pulls Zip down to give her a kiss hello. He shakes his head at Ocelara. "You going to go out there and hit the farms or something? There's not much you can do about it either, other than some fancy footwork with the numbers. Or try to get a better price on this or that." There's a nod about Thea. "She's not as scary as Niva, so I can imagine some of the halls and holds are trying to take advantage of her."

Zip laughs some at K'ael and kisses him back then she sits down and reaches a hand across to Ocelara, "I'm Zip," she says and then it's a pleasure to meet you ma'am," she says. She grins about Niva and then sips her juice, "K'ael doesn't much like paperwork.." she notes.

Ocelara smiles at Zip again, and notes, "I have seen you around." She offers a delicate hand to take that clasp. "Thea's Headwoman." Yeah. She and Thea are about as different from Niva and Hisolda as anyone could imagine!

K'ael peers at Zip. "That's not true. I can deal with the paperwork. I don't like computers. And they don't like me. At all." The bronzer picks up and sips at his juice a bit. "Thea and I don't get along. Not that I got along that well with Niva, either, heh. But I didn't feel the need to avoid her. Plus Niva was funny when she got mad. She turned as red as a redfruit."

Ocelara cocks her head a bit, as if genuinely surprised anyone wouldn't like Thea. But then again, everyone's allowed their opinion. "I concur with your feeling about computers. I think they make us lazy…though I can use one, I'm certainly not as enamored with them as everyone else seems to be."

K'ael never said he didn't like Thea. Just that they didn't get along. The goldrider certainly wasn't that fond of him, that much he was sure about. he grunts about the computers. "Lazy… I guess. They take me longer to do simple things, like filling out a delivery form. But they're useful I guess. Hopefully my kids get more exposure to them and learn to work them better than I can."

Zip grins, "I didn't say you couldn't…" she says playfully to him and then she laughs a little, red as a redfruit..that'd get a person whapped. Or worse. She tilts her head to look at K'ael a but curiously then wrinkles her nose, "I don't mind them really, at least it breaks up the monotony of desk work."

Ocelara laughs a little, and finally gives up on her paperwork for the nonce, "What really breaks up the monotony of desk work is a bit of conversation." She grins, to take any sting out of the tease. "Still…I know my father cut us a break with the winter lambs…but we're almost out of that as well…and I don't know how willing he'll be to sell to us again. I got word back from Eastern that they're going to be foraging for wild foods…they're having better weather than we are, if you don't count their tremors."

K'ael laughs. "Well, if you ever want a break from desk work… You can between now, right? We can take a trip. And have a little fun between deliveries." He winks at Zip. He taps his chin. "Well, what is it we need? Plants? Beasts? Conversation is also a good way to strike a bargain. We could extend our reach a little." It's easy for the bronzer to talk, he's got friends all over. "Has anyone tried talking to the other weyrs?"

Ocelara nods a little, "Yes, indeed, we're in discussion with several Weyrs at the moment. We were able to make the winter with some generous donations from the North…but we cannot lean on them forever." She digs out another piece of paperwork, "Ista, in particular, seems willing to send fruit…they've apparently had a bumper crop and have fruit 'coming out of their ears', to quote this letter."

K'ael nods. "Usually the northern weyrs have plenty of herdbeasts. Though there are easier ways to sure up the numbers of those. Work out a deal with the fishcrafters maybe to get some extra fish in. Tell the beastcrafters to let their cows have an extra round of babies. Or at least half the cows or something." He blinks, then laughs. "That sounds like Cenlia. Though I'm surprised she hasn't let all the fruit ferment into booze, really."

Ocelara smiles a little, as if a little bit more at ease with the bronzerider. "Though the problem with the herdbeasts is feeding them. The hayfields are being drowned out. They can't eat /nothing/, and it's beginning to be prohibitively expensive to import all our fodder. The fish…I doubt anyone would object to more fish, but storing it's an issue as well. We only have so much room in the freezers, and they're subject to disruption if the power goes out. Though if we could perhaps organize a flight out to places above the freezing line in the mountains, we might be able to store things there, for free…I for one want to see more salted fish like I want to be stepped on by your lifemates."

Zip grins up at K'ael, "Yeah I can between but I'd just as soon not yet," she says with a sheepish sort of look. She looks to Ocelara and starts to say something that sounds like cured fish, but then that's answered and she grins a little.

Ocelara glances up, as one of the assistant headwomen comes in; the woman's closer to Hisolda in age, than Ocelara, and doesn't exactly look like she approves of the young 'upstart' headwoman at all. But she's got something for her! Ocelara glances at the paper she's brought in, and then ohs a bit, "If you two will excuse me. I need to see to this now rather than later."

K'ael nods to her. "True. Sounds like maybe next season we need to adjust our stock a bit if it's really becoming that prohibitive. I'm sure we can find plenty of cold cold caves up in the mountains to store away some of the extra meat. Though it seems like really vegetation is the issue. Azaeth says he can start eating the herdbeasts if you're looking to clean house a bit." He laughs. "We can go on a little adventure later to see what we can find. See ya, Ocelara."

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