Permission to Cook?

Xanadu Weyr - Clearing


A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

With Kilaueth still settled on the Sands of Xanadu, guarding her clutch of 10 eggs, a majority of Niva's time has been spent out of the office, holding meetings anywhere she has to. The middle of winter brings a cold wind, though the sky is clear this afternoon, and the temperature lingers above freezing. For now, Niva is talking to a young woman wearing the knot of an Igen goldrider, their conversation quiet even as the Senior's attention wanders now and again.

M'nol enters the clearing looking more than a little distraught with his riding jacket pulled tight around his shoulders and Bloodstone perched on his shoulder chittering at him like an old auntie. Morl's body gets tenser and tenser until he suddenly turns, unseating the bronze, and snaps, "Leave me alone! I'll tell her when she gets back from her lesson with Fetch. I'm not gonna interrupt!" The bronze gives a startled squeak, then disappears /between/. M'nol sighs, then blushes as he notices the weyrwoman standing there. Ooops.

Jessamin scrambles down to the ground from astride the sassy green dragon just landing in the clearing, using the riding straps to help ease herself to the ground. She reaches up to the rider for her sewing things, offering a warm smile. "Thank you for the ride, F'lirt. Shards, I'd forgotten just how cold it can get here!" She shivers visibly as she hugs her sewing basket and bag of scraps close to her, dancing about from foot to foot to get warm. She is just turning about to make for the Living Caverns when she nearly runs straight into M'nol. "Whoops, sorry about that!"

Is it common for travelers to take up a walk along the clearing? Maybe, maybe not. But Hasha's elected to do so. She regards the blinking draconic traffic with some mild interest, shading her eyes with her hand to watch them pop in and out of existence with an inscrutable expression, her pack secured by one of its straps over her shoulder. She's got sturdy winter outerwear on over her clothes, but they're also the only ones she has. Having had her fill of watching perhaps, she begins to head toward the Living Caverns herself, pausing in brief amusement at the sudden human traffic jam.

Niva turns her gaze to the angry young brownrider at his outburst, giving him a long look like one might give their own misbehaving child, before she's hurriedly finishing up the conversation with the Igen weyrwoman, offering her a firm shake of the hand before they part ways and Niva's attention is back to the happenings of her weyr, pausing on an unknown face, moving as if to intercept her. "Looking for someone?" She lifts her voice to Hasha.

M'nol yelps as Jessa runs into him, his arms helicoptering momentarily before he falls flat on his but. He sighs and looks at her, "Hey there big sis…" He casts another ashamed look at Niva then glances at Hasha and smiles, "Hey, Welcome to Xanadu."

Jessamin flushes bright red, a more intense hue than might normally be brought on by wintry wind. With no small amount of haste, she dumps her basket and bag on the ground, reaching out to help M'nol to his feet. "Are you okay?" Being far from blind, she is not unaware of his glance, first at Niva and then at Hasha. A warm smile spreads across her face as she glances back over her shoulder to see the new woman, as well as Niva. "Western's duties to you both!"

Hasha turns her head in Niva's direction, the amusement still etched on her face. She has the grace to look a touch more solemn when her eyes flicker over Niva's shoulder knot. "Your Headwoman, ma'am." she says respectfully. "I'm on walkabout, and when I look for a place to stop, I generally offer my services for a time before I've aim to move on. And duties to Western," she adds in a polite tone, but then fingers are pressed to her lips to keep from sputtering laughter at the physical comedy. She manages a merry, "Thank you." to M'nol.

Niva spares another glance at M'nol and Jessamin as the brownrider ends up on the ground, and its seemingly a huge production to get the teenager back on his feet. A soft sigh, and she shakes her head, turning away to hide the roll of her eyes that is directed at the two. Hasha's request and explanation are met with a nod. "Headwoman Hisolda is… Rather occupied." Which can be read as taking her semi-annual vacation that was part of the conditions of her return. "What /are/ your services?" Niva does ask, however, curious.

M'nol nods, rubbing his backside as he climbs back to his feet, "I'm fine, Jessa… least when it comes to falling." He pats his pants to knock the dirt from them as he murmurs, "Xanadu's duties to Western…" He tries to smile at Hasha, but it comes out a little forced, "Not a problem. I'm M'nol, brown Faraeth's."

Hasha looks the senior weyrwoman right in the eye. "I'd be the best cook and baker you've ever set your sights on, Weyrwoman." she says with both respect and complete confidence. Which from her apparent age - no more than late teens - and relative skinny body - might seem quite a claim! "And seeing if I weren't and you had someone here who could do me better, I'd aim to learn from them. But you'll not find a more discriminating tongue." Thank goodness there were no greenriders around when she said that last bit, right? Then, to all three, "I'm Hasha." She absently taps her chest when she says her name. "Greetings to you all."

Jessamin shivers as she picks her sewing things back up again, nonplussed by the mildly disgusted look shot in hers and M'nol's direction. Her smile over to Hasha is perhaps a little sheepish, but not lacking in warmth. "Jessamin, Weaver apprentice over at Western." The chill weather has her shuddering again, and she looks about at all assembled. "Might not be a bad idea to take this inside and warm up with a cup of klah…"

"Western has ruined you, hasn't it, Apprentice?" Niva directs at the young weaver and former candidate at Xanadu. "I would hate to see what would happen were it snowing, we'd have to chisle you from the ground." The Weyrwoman replies with a bit of a snort, even as she turns to steer the wanderer inside. Pausing, she turns to meet Hasha's gaze at that claim, a smirk crossing her lips. "Well, Hasha, I expect if you repeated those claims in the kitchen you'd have yourself a very fine competition." The amused look continues to linger on her face as she steps inside to the warmth of the main Caverns.

M'nol chuckles, "It's cold?" he shrugs, "No snow, no cold." Then he grins, "A cook-off? Now /that/ sounds like fun. What's your speciality?" Even as he speaks he's turning towards the living caverns and steering the shivering Jessamin to follow.


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.

"Specialties," Hasha informs M'nol grandly, "Are for /dilettantes/." A flush off warmth comes to her freckled face once they enter the caverns. "If it's edible, I can make something of it - make something good of it. Pick a main ingredient as it pleases you, and so long as I've adequate tools and time, I promise you'll eat well." A sidelong grin to Niva. "And I'm not afraid to make that claim in the kitchen, Weyrwoman; you just point the way."

Jessamin hustles inside, with a sigh of relief at the warmth of the Caverns, and a somewhat surprised, hurt look at Niva. "Ruined? Just unused to the cold, but far from ruined. Give it a sevenday and I'd be fine." A flicker of amusement sparkles in her eyes as she listens to the exchange, challenges flying about in the air as thick as a faire of flits on a Hatching Day. "This could turn out to be fun."

Niva glances back at Jessamin, surprised at the hurt look she encounters, blinking a few times, shaking her head a little and offering a smile, trying to soften the blow of her teasing words. "Faranth help you should you ever have to go to 'Reaches." Niv offers lightly, giving her an encouraging look before she glances at Hasha again. "Perhaps we should keep you around until the salted fish is gone." And smile changes to grin at the girl's continued confidence.

M'nol grins big, "Anything, huh? Sounds like we should keep you around." He crosses the room and fills a few mugs with klah, bringing them back for the gathering, passing them out before taking a sip of his own, "So… Jessa… what brings you in from Western? I thought you were pretty settled there."

Hasha grins. "I rarely stay about longer than a week, but while you have me, I'm glad to earn my keep. If I've something to learn from your cooks, then I'm served well, and if not, you get the benefit of my culinary experience." She then notes to Niva brightly, "Salted fish is a fair frequent dish put before sailors. My da would do well enough with it and so would I. Of course, when you're feeding a whole weyr, you have to keep things simple, right? Good, hearty food. Save the fanciful stuff for banquets and small, private meals. And I'm just as content peeling tubers and slicing redfruit if that's what's needed, but it would be a waste of my talent, I promise you." She grins to Jessamin. "Maybe I should make my way challenging folk to cook-offs, yeah?"

Jessamin 's expression softens, shifting from hurt to mild amusement and chagrin at the mild jibe from Niva. "Well, that's why they make quilts, isn't it? Anyways, I'd hardly call my talents wasted at Western." An eyebrow is raised at the mention of salted fish, her upper lip curling ever so slightly in distaste. "Okay, maybe I -have- gotten spoiled at Western. Why go for salted when you can have fresh?" A near-miss as she hurries over to her accustomed chair by the fire is averted as she sits down, just as M'nol brings over a cup of klah. "Thanks! Yeah, I'm pretty settled there. But some flit eggs I was watching over hatched, and I ran into Sigam. Made me think it was about time to drop in for a visit."

"It doesn't help that, as I'm sure anyone can tell you, there's only so much salted fish one can eat, no matter *what* they do to it." Niva grimaces a little, shaking her head as the mug of klah is taken from M'nol and she leans lightly against a table to sip at it. "Rubicon's fleet is still too small to support themselves, and trade to us, it means there's just not as much fresh." Unfortunate, that. Eyes drift between the youngsters, listening to their conversations, nodding slowly, before attention drifts to Hasha. "They can always use an extra hand, particularly a talented one."

M'nol grins, "I haven't actually seen Sigam in a while myself… I keep ending up with Thea and Fetch and Phy when I'm not working." His nose crinkles a little, "What is it with southerners and fish? What's wrong with a good solid dose of bovine?"

"Nothing wrong with herdbeast at all." says Hasha agreeably. "But see here, I suppose transport's a problem. Fresh fish are like to die between, am I right?" she asks of the dragonriders. Because hey, she doesn't know such things!

Jessamin says "Maybe so, Hasha, but this is why there's cold storage." Chuckling, she takes a healthy sip of her klah, uttering a sigh of contentment. "Oh, M'nol… sounds like Sigam should be coming back to Xanadu soon, he was just humbling… err, helping out a new apprentice Dragonhealer. Forget if he said it was at Ista or Ierne."

"Nothing wrong with herdbeast, when they're safe in your own pens and not roaming everywhere, being feline food instead." Niva mutters, shaking her head at the complaints of fish. "I'm sure its been said, anyone who wants to bring back a herdbeast to augment will be compensated." The Weyrwoman sips at her drink, content to interject now and then.

M'nol chuckles, "Fresh fish are liable to /freeze/ /between/." He taps his chin lightly, "I may need to organize a hunting trip, too much fish and wherry lately…" He glances at Jessa, "He is? I… shards, I feel like a bad friend now, I just figured he was working hard and so I wasn't seeing him around… must be Ierne, though I was at Ista just a couple…" he trails off, blushing deeply, bad memories, bad memories!

"As it may, with your permission," this to Niva, "I'd take advantage of your hospitality for a few days, repay it with my labor, mayhap take a ride a-dragonback someplace else when I'm inclined to move my feet. And the rest of me. Hasha gives the older woman a grin, and says to the others, "Here now, if there's something in the kitchen the three of you can agree on, I might whip up a small something right now. You two can help, even." Because you uh, don't ask the Senior Weyrwoman if she wants to peel some tubers.
Jessamin says "Shards, Hasha, if you need fresh fruit, it'd be a small matter for me to head on back to Western for a bit to pick some." A wry grin tugs her lips upwards, her eyes a-twinkle with mirth. "Just ask poor M'nol about the lot that the Candidates sent over after the big storm here."

"Just be careful, if you do, rider. The felines are.. particularly violent this winter, I've been told." Niva grimaces at the thought, shaking her head a little. Hasha's request however, is met with a smile, and a nod. "Most certainly, Hasha. You're welcome as long as you wish to stay, and I'm interested to find out if your claims are true." The Weyrwoman smirks a little, waving a hand at the talk of kitchen and cooking.

M'nol blushes for a different reason now, "I'm… I'm not really allowed in the kitchens any more… the cupcake incident left something to be desired…" He casts his eyes around the room, looking at anything but Hasha, "Oh, yeah, Jessa finagled us some wonderful fruit."

"Are you really?" This gains Hasha's attention, M'nol will find himself scrutinized quite avidly by the almond eyed girl. "You'll have to tell me of this cupcake incident. Anyone who can follow instructions can at least manage the basics of a kitchen, even if you'd not call yourself an expert. Perhaps you simply weren't set to the right task." She looks back to Niva. "My thanks for that, Weyrwoman. I'll not disapoint. I won't even disrupt your kitchens, even if it means quelling my greatness." She wriggles her nose, a sure indication that she's at least somewhat kidding.

Niva smirks at M'nol at his explanation of the banning from the kitchens, nodding her head with a smile to Hasha. "There'll be a cubicle readied for you in the residental dorms - it's not particularly much, but its your own, and it will offer some privacy. There are.. plenty willing to help - should you need something, just ask, and they'll likely point you the right way." The Weyrwoman straightens up as she finishes the last of her klah, inclining her head to them each. "I'll leave you two to your.. cupcakes." Or discussion there of, as the Weyrwoman heads back out and to the Sands and the brooding Kilaueth.

M'nol half-smiles and nods to the weyrwoman, "Safe skies, or sands as the case may be." Then he turns back to Hasha, "Back when I was a candidate a bunch of us got together with Thea and Kire and tried to make cupcakes… I'm not sure that portion of the kitchens has recovered yet." He shudders a little, but playfully, "Flour and run /everywhere/."

Hasha moves to find a seat for a moment, she seems inclined to relax a bit from hanging onto her pack. "Thank you, ma'am." she says to Niva. She turns her attention to M'nol. "How exactly did you try to go about making them? Use a recipe, or figured you'd wing it? Your pardon for the pun."

M'nol chuckles a little, "I came in part way, but I /think/ Thea had a recipe, there were just… too many cooks and too little instruction."

Hasha nods knowingly. "Well, I daresay that if properly guided, you might find your way back into a kitchen." She then confides, "Girls like that, you know. A man who can cook fancy for them."

M'nol blushes deeply, "Phy'n I… we usually just bring food up to my weyr… 'least when she's home…"

Hasha grins. "You ever decide you want to try and cook your sweetheart a meal, you let me know. I'll show you something simple, but she'll think it's all kinds of fancy."

M'nol looks away, scratching his head, "I… maybe that'd be a good idea… I need… to apologize for a mistake I made…"

Hasha's eyes widen momentarily. "What did you do?" she asks, bluntly enough. She doesn't bother to hide her curiousity.

M'nol's eyes continue their inspection of the carpet, his fingers picking absently at a loose thread in his pants, "I… kinda ended up in bed with another woman…"

Hasha looks faintly confused for a moment. "You're a Dragonrider."

M'nol nods slowly, "I am… but it wasn't a flight… well, not /really/ a flight…"

Hasha doesn't quite seem to know what to make of that. "Huh." she says. "So your sweetheart, then. She likes herdbeastie meat, I take it? If you think you can be trusted not to ruin a good knife by chopping off your fingers, I'll show you something easy to make that'll look quite exotic to her, I'm thinking."

M'nol blushes a little and nods, "She does… that… would be nice, I think. It'll make saying I'm sorry easier…"

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