R-SQUAD ASSEMBLE: OPERATION MACARON
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Rustic Treetop Cafe
Perched on the cliff overlooking Xanadu's beach is a gnarled and massive skybroom tree. The bark and outer layers are sturdy enough to support the thriving, brushy top, but the interior, which is hollow, contains a spiral staircase that leads to a cafe built on a high platform amongst the branches. With a panoramic view of lake, sky, Weyr and the mountains beyond, the treetop eatery offers both sheltered seating just inside the trunk and tables on the wide deck that encircles the old tree.
The cafe's decor is comfortable and rustic, but closer inspection shows the smallest embellishments to be artfully combined into one detailed masterpiece. The wood of the doors, floor and walls of the trunk have been stained a dark mahogany that lends the space a sense of intimacy. Tables in various sizes have been carved to mimic driftwood, the chairs and benches padded with oiled sailcloth cushions to provide weather-proof comfort. Each table has an aged brass lantern filled with shells and agates gathered from Xanadu's shores, the sparkling natural mosaics holding tapered candles upright in their embrace. Lamps hang from the ceiling on silver poles, the thick frosted glass carved into intricate pastel shells or swirling white-capped waves. At night the colored glass softens the glowlight to enhance the ambience.
During the day, the retractable doors allow leaf-spattered sunlight to fill both the outer deck and the smaller interior with green and gold light, as well as allowing pleasant breezes to cool the interior. On clear nights, farviewers perch on the elaborately carved railing are free for use to enhance the gorgeous view of the stars over the Caspian Lake, the Sea of Azov beyond and the rock formations of the Weyr.


Rhodelia is a woman on a mission. A very important mission that is clearly the only reason why she just power-walked from the administrative corridor down through the beach and finally up to the Treetop Cafe and has nothing to do with that relatively brisk (for Xanadu) winter wind blowing through today. The chilly assistant makes a beeline straight towards the counter closest the kitchen, rubbing at her arms for some extra warmth. There's a quick exchange with the first worker she happens to snag which just ends in some head shaking and a very loud "What do you mean you don't have them?"

And R'hyn is a man on a mission! Definitely! Most certainly! It is a mission that has him making ground eating strides from his weyr, not the freakin' cold of winter sinking its claws into his bones despite the bulky flight jacket and rather comical heaping of scarves around his neck. The bronzerider definitely isn't darting into the first building he sees to get warm again, nope. Alas, his progress into its depths of the cafe is rather halted by this servant-snagging commotion, amusement sparking in blue-grey eyes as he does what all busybodies do in situations like these: "What don't they have? Am I about to be really upset?," asked as he pulls scarves down enough for the words to make sense, gaze alighting on Rhodelia and freezing. He remembers their last meeting. "Ah, it's you." Vividly. "'Scuse me while I…" Glance around, checking for incoming plagues? Mayyybe.

It is an extremely bundled Citayla that's already settled next to a window; her scarves might be gone, but the goldrider hasn't relinquished her coat, yet. You'll have to pry it from her cold, dead hands. Poor Rhodelia: the subject of a lot of attention, because Cita's got some ears on her. "I hope it's not the scones. It's not the scones, is it? I don't know if I can stomach meetings without them." The rider asks, expression woebegone. The scones? Probably the sames ones she's scarfing down two of, just now, with a mug from the pot of fragrant tea settled on her table. "Tea?" The healer asks, brightly, kicking out a chair on either opposite side of the little table. An offer? Demand? WHO KNOWS.

Rhodelia and R'hyn might just be two peas in a pod with the whole trying to outrun winter in comically large amounts of knit-wear, whether they want to admit it or not. Rhody is more a walking pile of sweaters instead of scarves though. She was hoping to have a quick in and out, but turns when suddenly all attention is on her. There's a quick look back to the server. "Can you check? Again?" And he wisely chooses to be anywhere but there, leaving poor Rhody to fend off questions herself, even as she tries to not so subtly skeedaddle behind a table. And maybe a plant. The more things she puts in between her and the riders the less questions that come her way, right? "Noooooooo… it wasn't scones. It was those cookies that one of the holders likes so much. The fancy ones that start with an m or something. I put an order in over a seven ago…" At least she thinks she put an order in, but they definitely were for a meeting. As for the bronzerider's sudden glancing, she peers over from behind that fern. "Scuse you while you what?"

They can make a club. Call it the R-squad. Only membership criteria: a deep, abiding distaste for being cold and a certain willingness to keep knitting aunties in business. It's honestly too late for Rhody, though, fern or no fern. R'hyn is fixing her with a very direct look and a smile that would be unpleasant if only his eyes weren't twinkling. "Macaroons? Shells. I hope you aren't meeting with who I think you're meeting with today. You'll need a better disguise than that." Totally missing the point that Rhodelia is hiding from them. He's thick. Bless him. "Won't she?" This is asked of Citayla as R'hyn approaches her table, stepping around kicked chairs to press a kiss to her temple. "No thank you," said to the offer of tea, "I hear they have a spiced gourd klah that's to die for. I was worried it'd been sold out before I got here." One hand tousles the goldrider's dark hair, douchily aiming to set it all askance as his gaze flicks back up to the nearby fern. "Making sure you left your horde at home," he says, tone dry, but she must pass muster, because he pulls the nearest chair out juuuust a little further in invitation. Him? He's going to continue right on past it, ambling for the counter to place his order.

Citayla looks content to sit and observe the chaos, expression close on sphinxlike. Well. It would be, were it not for the bland little smile lurking around the edges. As a foundational member of the R-squad, she might look a little ridiculous in her coat in the cafe, but look. At least she's got scones to scarf down like some sort of ravenous wherry. "What's the worst that could happen." The goldrider ventures, thoughtful, like the answer to that isn't 'horribly offend a holder'. "They get peckish? A little rumbly? I'm sure they won't be…too unreasonable?" Are you, Cita? The healer turns her vague smile on Ryn after a minute, head tilting and eyes narrowing — "Spiced gourd, you say? Faranth, that sounds better than this." Wistful, she sighs, taking a fortifying sip of whatever fragrant concoction she's got going on. They probably don't want to know what's in it, but she's still setting up extra cups like they're totally going to help her drink it, no or no no. The hair-ruffling can't even touch her groove, and the goldrider only smirks vaguely in Ryn's direction as he heads towards the counter. "Keeping watch, presumably. Get me another scone."

Rhodelia might suggest that the R-squad would also need R-names, but exceptions can certainly be made depending on strength of winter-hatred. As R'hyn provides the answer of what the exact cookie name was, Rhodelia nods enthusiastically. "Yeah, Macarons! They were supposed to have some seasonal ones. Like gourd spiced. And klah. And mint…" She tiptoes to try and get a better look at the kitchen, but still no sign of the worker's returns or her missing pastries. As for what they would do, she shrugs. "If it's anything like last time… make passive aggressive comments the entire meeting about lack of preparedness?" Honestly, those comments did border on straight up aggressive. Hangry holders can be mean. While the seat itself might not be invitation enough to draw a Rhody out from her hiding spot, warm beverages certainly are and so she'll slowly head towards one of those extra cups. "What horde? My 'lizards?" They're probably only mostly off burning a few things.

Rhodelia might suggest that the R-squad would also need R-names, but exceptions can certainly be made depending on strength of winter-hatred. As R'hyn provides the answer of what the exact cookie name was, Rhodelia nods enthusiastically. "Yeah, Macarons! They were supposed to have some seasonal ones. Like gourd spiced. And klah. And mint…" She tiptoes to try and get a better look at the kitchen, but still no sign of the worker's returns or her missing pastries. As for what they would do, she shrugs. "If it's anything like last time… make passive aggressive comments the entire meeting about lack of preparedness?" Honestly, those comments did border on straight up aggressive. Hangry holders can be mean. While the seat itself might not be invitation enough to draw a Rhody out from her hiding spot, warm beverages certainly are and so she'll slowly head towards one of those extra cups. "What horde? My 'lizards?" They're probably only mostly off burning a few things. (re)

Honorary membership, perhaps? Because even R'hyn is unclasping the buttons of his jacket, warming quickly now that they're indoors, the act of which exposes that it's not many scarves but rather one atrociously long one that's heaped upon his shoulders. "Ugh," R'hyn groans as Rhodelia provides examples of just what hangry holders might do, "yes, that. Or worse, hold a room hostage until some are delivered. 'Can't think on an empty stomach.'" The bronzerider pitches his voice in imitation of the holder, the noise that follows maybe a laugh or maybe a hairball he's trying to raise, catlike. It's hard to tell. "Things I don't miss…" That. "I'm sure he'll be pleased by the variety, though. I've never tried the gourd spice…" Squint. Maybe he'll have to. Later, though. Fingers gun at Cita for that scone order, and it's not long until he's back, depositing a plate containing three onto the table's center. Seeming content to lean one hip against the goldrider's seat instead of claiming his own, he snorts at Rhodelia's questions and shakes his head. "The bugs," is whispered loudly, eyes flaring with drama, very much hinting he'll forever associate her with the event. Poor thing. Unlike Rhody, he keeps very, very well away from whatever Cita has going on in that tea concoction, hands folding around his mug, holding it up close to his face, clearly enjoying it in its entirety.

Do you know, Citayzleat doesn't even have one R. How did that happen? Citayla, completely unaware of the sheer lack of goodness of her name that's been exposed so cruelly, looks a little misty at the idea of macarons. "Oh, those are worth whining about, maybe. The berry ones." The goldrider sighs, wistful, squinting towards the kitchen. "Think we could fly some in from Ierne?" Look. Keeping the holders from holding them hostage for the next sevenday or three would totally be worth it. "Be worth sending somebody on Comet out, just to…prevent any mishap." Look, Cita totally has your back, Rhody. Sometimes. When it involves wherry-rude holders. The tea that Cita looks so happy to share is quite fragrant — herbacious, even, floral notes over the top. Faranth knows it's some sort of medicinal. Tasty enough that the healer's not making any terrible faces, at least. "Yeah, lucky you, off with Search and Rescue." The feigned bitterness is delivered deadpan for Ryn, but he's forgiven, because he returns with more baked goods. "Faranth, don't remind me. I still check my boots thrice before I put them on." The rider twitches, dramatic.

If she's sharing tea and scones, Rhody can certainly be talked into honorary memberships for the R-less Cita. Because unlike a certain other R-name, Rhodelia will usually accept drinks from strangers and since the weyrwoman isn't exactly a stranger, she'll be taking that glass and a big sip of it. Those widen eyes might be the first sign of a little regret, but Rhodelia is a pro at something (what exactly remains to be seen) and will try to get the sip down without making any of those terrible faces. "Sending someone to Ierne is a good backup plan. Or… if we don't want wintery flavors, could probably get a half dozen volunteers to go to Ista on a pastry run." Getting them back in a timely manner would be another story entirely. And while the tea might not have earned any faces yet, R'hyn definitely gets a nose wrinkle. "They weren't my bugs. Bugs are gross." It's a scientific fact.

Does R'hyn even see that nose-wrinkled face being pointed up at him? Perhaps not. His gaze has lifted from his mug, riveted on the entrance with the kind of look on his face that speaks to mingled distaste and defeat and- "If it isn't Lord Macaron himself." It's said under his breath, enough for them to hear but not the figure occupying the doorway. At least, one hopes. Tact might not be R'hyn's strongest suit when it comes to those he honestly dislikes. And yet… "I'm going to regret every instant of this, aren't I." And yet shoulders are squaring, breath is being sucked in, the bronzer demonstrating all the hallmarks of a person gearing up to take one for the team. "If you have some volunteers in mind, it might be worth it," he comments towards Rhodelia with what he tries to make a smile, but is really more of a grimace. "As for the bugs… Well, I guess we'll see." Forever dubious! Or maybe he's just teasing, since he flicks her a wink before stooping to press another show of affection to Cita's temple before walking away. Arms spread outwards halfway across the cafe, loud greetings offered to the holder as he makes to bluster him right back on out the door. Cue Operation: Macaron!

Citayla is too busy chugging her tea like her life depends on it to notice any encroaching holders — the goldrider has a more 'drink the healthy thing FAST' tactic. It seems to work for her, anyways, since the tea is gone before her scone. "Maybe both, just to be on the safe side. I don't want to hear it, out of them." She grumbles, maybe a little mutinous. Does she notice that Rhodelia doesn't seem too fond of the tea? Oh, absolutely not. She's been a healer too long to note any tea-sadness. "You're sharding right, they are. All over everything." The rider isn't even giving poor R'hyn the satisfaction of The Bit, when he's jumping straight in front of that charging wher for them. Cita spots the holder just in time to see Ryn's Steeled Nerves, and she Gets it at the same moment. "Absolutely. Think of the children. They'll remember you fondly." She mutters, definitely down with letting her poor 'mate charge into battle, if a little mournfully, hand squeezing elbow as he stoops. Look. Delegation is important. Also: "…Rhody, we should go. Or, you should. Before he sees you. I'll, ah, be along." Maybe she oughtn't have chugged that tea, says the slightly greenish cast to the healer's face as she makes an abrupt beeline for the back of the cafe. Alas, poor Cita.

Turns of practice have allowed Rhodelia to perfect the Oh-Crap backwards glance and then duck. Maybe the fern she was trying to hide behind early might be more effective this time? As R'hyn charges right at the problem-holder face on, she'll mouth a thank you in his direction and she'll remember him fondly. RIP, R'hyn. Cita's advice gets a firm nod as well. "I'll go out through the kitchen. Maybe I'll manage to find them before I even leave the building." Everybody cross your fingers because it's time to DISPERSE. To be continued another day…


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