The Question Girl

Xanadu Weyr - Petals and Pots Garden Shop
Upon entering this rustic shop, the smell of flowers is the first thing that one notices as well as the subtle musty scent of fertilizer. Selling everything for your garden needs from flowers and plants to pots and tools, the whole shop is lined with shelving filled with various things, arranged neatly by type. On the back wall trowels, rakes, shovels and clippers hang from nails, while underneath them clay pots, glass vases and bowls are stacked on the floor. In the middle of the shop is a small table that is filled with tiny glass perfume bottles with glass stoppers, each bearing a label that says 'Handcrafted by Tsenik'. These contain different fragrances, depending on the shape of the bottle. A variety of hanging baskets dangle from the ceiling, tumbles of lush vibrant flowers or vine-type plants trailing from them with price tags on the pots.
A sign can be seen near the entrance that simply states "Woo your significant other, send a hint to your brother or say hello to your mother with a surprise delivery!"

Being retired means you have a lot of free time. Well, not really, but when you have nothing to do you truly have nothing to do. And so Elara and her aging gold Wiyaneth decided to get out of the dreary rain of Fort and visit somewhere warmer. So they've come to Xanadu, and while Elara is browsing through flowers in the garden shop, the old queen has found herself a ledge and is basking in the sun, her injured wing soaking in the warmth that eases the pain - at least for a little while. Elara is dressed in her usual skirt and tunic with a vest over it, and her Weyrwoman's knot, though it no longer shows her as Senior. It was hard to remove that piece. An old brown firelizard rests on her shoulder, chirping his agreement or disagreement with her choices as she moves around the store.

Harmony's entrance into the garden shop is a little bit more explosive than her last visit — i.e., chased into the shop from the blowing snow outside, her attire is sans much winter garb. It looks, rather, like the girl has made the mad dash from the residential areas to the shops for a last minute errand. Platinum gilded strands are set about her face in disarray, cheeks are rosy, and her clothing is a confection of sunlight-through-sapphire colored hip-length sweater, and snowy white pants. "Shop keeper! Shop Keeper!" Her voice is high and airy, but tinged with the entitlement that comes from the spoiled-rotten child she's been raised to be. "I need—-" Finally, Elara is spotted, and she stutters to a halt. "Good evening," the petite teenaged baker senior apprentice says, able to turn on the pretty little charm and smiles. Green eyes glance to the woman's knot, "Weyrwoman."

Elara turns a little bit, the older woman watching Harmony's entrance with an arched brow. When she's noticed, she gives her a small nod and a little smile. "Good evening, dear. I'm afraid Tsenik had to step out for a moment, so shouting won't do you much good."

Were Harmony a few turns younger, her little foot would have stomped in frustration, but as it is, the girl manages to hold herself back. "That's too bad," she says, managing to sound sincere, because she is. Sincerely unhappy that the shopkeeper is away! Her mother may have spoiled her — and it certainly shows! — but she did instill the right behavior towards ranked folks. "My name is Harmony, baker /senior/," can you just *hear* the pride in that? It fairly drips off that single word! "Apprentice." Oh yeah. Total pride.

Elara continues to smile warmly at the girl, as she turns a pot around to look at the plant from the other side. "Well met, Harmony. I'm Elara, Wiyaneth's rider and former Senior of Fort Weyr." There is no pride obvious in her tone - it doesn't drip the way Harmony's does - it's a simple fact, but fondly stated. "What is it that you needed?" she asks curiously.

"I wanted to get some long ivys for some decorations. I've got to make a dinner banquet table look pretty and wanted to do a winter theme." Harmony pauses, then adds. "It's for a class credit. Or, well, extra credit." Not that she /needs/ it, her expression seems to assure the older woman. "Well met," belatedly offered, but the girl's attention is very self-focused. "What brings you to Xanadu?" she queries, curiosity blooming, finally, in finding out more about the Fortian transplant.

Elara nods, glancing around and pointing. "Like those? Those are lovely. And Wiyaneth and I just decided to visit Xanadu for a little bit. One of our browns sired the clutch here, so I thought I'd come check in. And this little store is so charming. Not that I'll get anything. It wilts going between. But it's still nice to look." She smiles. "What is your baker specialty, Harmony? Have you chosen one yet?"

"Yes…" Harmony says slowly, her green-eyed gaze turning to look at the ivy. "Something like that." Back to Elara, she tucks strands of blond hair behind her ear. "Did they?" The question comes from someone who knows only just bare bones — and recently learned at that! — of the problems that Xanadu's had with their eggs. "I've heard the eggs are — in the dragon healer's area. My sister is a dragon healer." Pride once again fills her voice, "Grade /three/." At least the girl *can* show that she can think about someone other than herself! "I had to go to For the other day," finally added. "Had to practice my baker's delivery skills and I specialize in soups and chills. Though I have a fairly good hand at sweets too, just prefer the savory tastes."

Elara nods her head a little bit. "Ahh, yes. I prefer the sweets, myself," she chuckles, "but I do appreciate a good soup. We have them a lot at Fort, especially during the winter. So cozy and warm, and you really can tell if a soup has been made with love and care."

"A good soup will put meat on your bones and warm the soul," Harmony says, a touch of stars in her grey-green eyes. Expression softens, and talking about food is one of those rare times that the spoiled girl recedes to show a hint of the woman she *could* become. "I make a mean chili too," pride here comes in the natural warmth of her light, airy tones. Finally, her expression subtly alters back to reality when she remembers that someone is here, watching. "Sweets are very popular," the baker allows, "which is why I've kept my hand in it."

Elara smiles a little bit when she sees the girl's expression and hears her tones. "I can tell you're passionate about it. I am passionate about Healing, too. And Fort, of course. But I'll spare you the rapturous talk about pre-natal exams and tithe trains."

"I am," simply said that. Harmony's gaze sharpens on the former senior, "Are you a healer too?" Dragonhealing totally counts as healing in her eyes when it comes to her sister! "My sister is pretty passionate about her dragon healing."

Elara nods, "I am. Pediatric is my speciality." And she smiles, gentle and fond, and moves to another table to look at the plants over there. "I think it's good to be passionate about whatever it is that you're doing. If you're not, you shouldn't be doing it."

"Hmmm." Harmony hides the wrinkle of her nose at the word pediatrics behind the bushy leaves of a pretty, flowering plant. "I agree. Someday, I will be known all over Pern for my cooking. You are looking at a future person of Import." You know, Pern's own Top Chef. Or Chopped Champion. Or Savory Genius. The girl definitely does not lack ego. "How come you're not senior anymore?" Rude or not, the girl's question comes all the same.
Elara smiles kindly at the girl, nodding her head. "I'm sure you will be," she says. She doesn't find the question rude, though her smile does take on a sadder note to it. "Wiyaneth was injured trying to rescue a stranded dragon. She broke her wing, so we stepped down."

"Ahhh." A touch awkwardly, Harmony shoots Fort's werywoman a curious look. "Glad she's okay." She's not a girl one would ever lean onto for any show of sincerity when it comes to the woes of others! But that's okay, in the awkward, there is true sincerity. Even if only a little. "So what do you do now?" Since Elara didn't take offense to the first question, might as well forge ahead! The younger teen trails the older gold rider, looking at this and that, pausing to stare at a flower critically. It's pink hue seems to have drawn the young baker. "Like junior stuff?" Beat. "Besides healing."

Elara smiles, "I help Fort," she answers. "I assist Dtirae, our current Senior, and do the jobs that I'm best at. Mostly diplomacy and the day to day running of the weyr. Working with the staff, and that sort of thing. And the Healing, of course."

"My father is a brownrider," Harmony interjects, the topic relating to but no where near the current topic of Fort's weyrwomaning. Orthogonal at best. "And my sister works with dragons, but my mother. My mother is a very good baker. She's the one that's urged me into baking, but I think I have more skill than my mother." This teenager can't let a conversation linger too long without it coming back to *her*. "My mother, though, thinks the same thing and makes sure that my ever need is attended to so that I can continue to succeed." Breath. "So," the topic is allowed to meander back to Elara. "Do you miss being senior?"

Elara ahhs, smiling and nodding as she patiently listens to the girl talk about herself. She doesn't seem to mind. "You're fortunate that your mother helps you out. That's nice. And I don't so much. I still get to serve my weyr. Wiyaneth does, though."

"I am very lucky," Harmony intones in agreement. And quite obviously a very loved child. "Why my mother makes sure that I have the best of everything. She even got a weaver to personalize my wardrobe for me." One finger flicks at the leave of a plant, eyes watching it dance, before the girl queries. "Isn't it always possible you might become senior again?" The question leaves plain the thought on the baker's mind: Since obviously Elara's dragon can fly now, or she wouldn't be here!

Elara glances curiously at the girl's wardrobe, and just nods a little bit. Huh. That's a waste. "Temporarily, yes. But permanently, probably not. Weyrwoman succession is usually decided with mating flights, and Wiyaneth hasn't risen to mate since her accident. I don't think she ever will again." Which is sad, and it's plain in the woman's voice. No more Wiyaneth-babies.

Oh the ire should Harmony figure out Elara's thoughts on her oh-so-personalized wardrobe! However, the girl is neither the sharpest tool in the shed nor is she the most observant. In a word, Harmony is oblivious. "Why not?" baldly asked, her own preoccupation with herself momentarily consumed by her curiosity in Elara's dragon's "condition". The sad tone of the woman's voice isn't really noticed. See above! Observation skill check: fail. "Can't she fly? Why wouldn't she mate?" The baker teen isn't being cruel — it's not intentional cruelty, anyway. It's merely a lack of maturity, a self-preoccupation, and the spoiled expectation that everyone owes her answers to her burning questions of curiosity!

Elara shakes her head. "She can fly, yes, but it's limited and it causes her pain. Think of it this way. Have you ever sprained your ankle? You /can/ walk around, but imagine trying to run a race on a sprained ankle. A race that takes half a day. It would hurt her far too much to have a mating flight, and I think she knows that."

"Huh." Harmony does listen to Elara and the flash of pity in her eyes is *real*. "That's…" When you're at a loss for words, turn it back around to something else! "At least she can still fly and stuff." The 'and stuff' is said dubiously, but still, the teen is trying. "It's too bad dragons can't just do it on the ground," the apprentice offers, an appeasement to poor Elara and Wiyaneth's sad condition! Tucking her hands into the pockets of those snowy-white pants of hers, she meanders down the rows of pots and plants and stuff. Maybe at a loss as to what to say next that won't sound… well, too uncaring. It is a sad tale of woe, for sure, which is not something Harmony does all too well at processing!
Elara chuckles softly. "It's just not their way. They're dragons. The air is their home, not the ground." Just then the door chime jingles, and the store owner returns. "I will leave you to your ivy, Harmony. It was a pleasure, take care."

"Pleasure, ma'am," Harmony answers back in farewell, but her attention is already on the shopkeeper. "I need…" With that little bit of a farewell, the girl is already launching into her list of demands for what she deems is a Very Important Project. Elara's lingering or leave taking is barely noted, though, as her own priorities take precedence! This and that, the laundry list is very long and probably will take up most of the shopkeeper's time.

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