Spooky Buckets

The greenhouse stands along one wall of the garden, the trees surrounding its immediate perimeter cleared away so full sun falls upon its length for the entire day. Its frame is comprised of white wrought-iron, strong despite its decorative appearance, built to support the thickly-crafted glass panes that substitute for side walls and high ceilings. Two stories high, the oblong building will someday be one part jungle retreat, one part hothouse garden, with a long center aisle built to house plants from the weyr's denizens. Colorful signs advertise requests for favorite plant orders to be placed, the small forms attached to each placard meant to be torn off and submitted to appropriate caretakers.
For now, the various gardens are in their fledgling stages, plants imported from foreign locations roped off while they take root in their new habitat, and other, more common plant varieties rising from beds in varying stages of growth. White wrought-iron staircases lead up to a wide catwalk skirting the upper reaches of the greenhouse. Benches and circular tables are stationed under the perimeter of domed ceilings located on either end of the building, where palms planted below will soon reach skyward and provide some seclusion. The potted presence of flowering herbs, plumeria, and night-blooming jasmine fill the air with a fresh, spicy, sometimes heady scent, ready to be enjoyed by the weyr's populace.

Who needs +today anyways? It was a dark winter night, and while that might not NORMALLY seem like a time for folks to be out and about in greenhouses well, novelty has a way of drawing people in. And by people, that's mostly Rhodelia. Whether she should be there or not, the bundled up assistant and her trusty glow basket have managed to finagle there way into the greenhouse and she lets out a sigh of relief as the warm air hits. "Almost not winter!"

"Why wouldn't you want it to be winter?" says the pot to the kettle, OMINOUSLY FROM BEHIND RHODELIA. Indeed, there sits Risali, huddled up in a chair that's been draped with the strippings of her winter-wear, besocked feet settled on the seat of her chair, knees pulled up to her chest, hands wrapped around a steaming mug of Klah or hot chocolate or a COMBINATION OF THE TWO (which is so very ill advised in the heat of the greenhouse). "There's snow, and there's warm fires," except this is Xanadu, so there are always warm fires, "and there's…" A beat. "Snow." That last reiteration of the word is said slowly, as if the goldrider was trying to find a different something to be found in winter, but had no better options than a repeat of that one word. It's her slow sip that fills the silence as grey eyes lock ACCUSINGLY ON RHODELIA. To be sure, Risali's hair is a mess of tousled locks, her clothing is rumpled, her eyes say that she should probably be asleep but here she is because SOMEBODY WAS RUDE AND SET IT TO BE NIGHTTIME. And is that… is that paperwork? QUICK, RHODY. FIND A PLACE TO LOSE IT BEFORE RISA LOSES HER MIND.

"Because it's cooooooold!" Rhodelia whines even as she's trying to pretend she totally wasn't startled by that sudden-Risali manifestation. She just jumps like that for the fun of it. For the aerobic activity and the fun of juggling a nearly dropped glow basket. And while the weyrwoman might be eyeing her accusingly, Rhody is going to eye right back as she takes a few steps closer and doesn't just peer at the paperwork, she takes the top sheet WITHOUT EVEN ASKING to get a better look! "I thought you said you were going to leave this until tomorrow? It's not tomorrow… yet."

"But that's also why it's the best," Risali emphasizes, even though she is also hiding from it, shut up. "As much as Leirith would encourage us all to run around naked to assert how badass we are, you can only remove so many clothes when it's hot." But is there any limit to LAYERS, I ASK YOU? says Risali's eyes, eyes that narrow (and look remarkably unapologetic for startling Rhodelia) as her assistant steps in and takes that sheet of paper uninvited. Risali sips her klah-cocoa instead, pretending for all the world as if she is unbothered by the fact that she is being chastised by her assistant (she's not) before she — "Yes, alright, fine. That's what I said," comes with a hint of exasperation before Risali is reaching out to tug that paper back, back into her pile where she neatifies it once more. "But D'lei and K'vir are both gone tonight and my parents have the kids and the house was too quiet so I couldn't sleep." A beat, a dip of her shoulders and another sip of Klah as she LOOKS AWAY, and then looks back up to Rhody. "Why are you here anyway? It's not tomorrow yet, but it's close enough."

"Leirith would also be the one trying to convince people to joust with their dangly bits," Rhodelia is just going to guess on one possible outcome of how the gold would try and entertain herself with that situation even as she's busy handing the paper back to the top of the paper and taking a seat on the path (NOT THE BEDS, cause she doesn't want too much gardener yelling in her future). "I think I remember my brother and his friends diving into a frozen lake one turn-over eve." You know, back when she lived somewhere when the year ended in winter. She raises an eyebrow as Risali lists all the way it's too quiet and then quickly glances over her shoulder as if expecting a very familiar draconic shadow to fly over and change all that. "So this quiet was a case of a little too much of a good thing?" She gives a shrug for her own reasons why. "It was quiet and I couldn't sleep?"

From the back of the otherwise empty greenhouse comes a sudden crash and a muffled curse, "Why?!" Yep. That was a bucket being dropped. A second crash-slide-rattle is the sound of the offending bucket being kicked. A bucket without a handle rolls toward the two women, followed by Kasle with the missing handle clutched in one hand. The young gardener stops short when she sees the other two and blushes, "Oops… Sorry." She makes a face, "My…" She clears her throat, holding the bucketless handle up as a totally lame explanation, "My bucket broke?"

"I would say don't give her any ideas, but…" That wince says it's already happened. On many occasions, Rhodelia. BEST NOT TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT, REALLY. Or look for Leirith — which is what the inward draw of Risali's brows say before — « I TOLD HER THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING BUT SHE IS A DISAPPOINTMENT. » — Leirith interrupts anyway. And yeah, she does not keep that line of communication to herself, or to her rider, or even to just her and Rhodelia. If you are receptive to that migraine-inducing thrum of bass and drums, if you don't have any defense against it, Leirith's house-party is indiscriminate in its MENTAL INVASION OF A BADUM AND A TSSSSSH. It's probably why it takes Risali a moment to realize that the other clatter wasn't from her dragon, and while grey eyes watch the progress of a stray bucket, Risali says, "Are you avoiding actually answering me by giving the same answer, Rhodelia, or is that really why you're here?" And there's a kind of intensity to the way those grey eyes, for just a moment, jump back up to Rhody and hold before — WEE WOO WEE WOO. There goes Risali, awkward despite the fact that she's the Senior Weyrwoman as another presence makes themselves known and the goldrider immediately brings her klah-cocoa to her lips while watching Kasle from the safety of BEHIND IT. A beat, two, three, four and — "I think you uhm…" A shift, and Risali is getting out of her chair, besocked feet carrying her to that bucket that she leans down to pick up and awkwardly extend out. "Dropped this…?" AT ALMOST MIDNIGHT? IN THE GREENHOUSE??? That's what her expression says, Kasle. Like her and Rhody are not also here. At almost midnight. In the greenhouse.

The blaring drums of Leirith are expected enough, but when there's a very physical clattering, Rhodelia awkwardly jumps up into more of a crouching position. At least it would be easier to run if necessary than from the ground. Luckily, that clatter was well timed to right when she's supposed to be giving her own answer. "I think that's a ghost…" And then a few moments later there's the young gardener appearing with the runaway bucket. "Or the bucket could be the ghost." This is totally a real possibility and not absurd in anyway.

"Sorry…" Kasle winces and accepts the bucket with a sigh, holding it against her chest and shifting from one foot to the other, "I, uh, was just getting a couple seedlings transplanted." The bucket does appear to have been full of dirt recently. She looks between the Weyrwoman and her assistant for a moment, blushing and still wincing a little from the mental shout, "Sorry. I'll…" She laughs nerviously, "I'll just get out of your hair. I should be getting to bed anyway." And the girl flees!

"I —" But KASLE IS GONE. Risali? She settles one hand on her hip, the same hip that juts out with the hint of her usual confidence-in-attitude, and then Risali is tilting her head and dipping her chin and blinking down at Rhodelia. "Well, she almost saved you," from having to answer, she means. But there's a huff of what might be exasperation, or a hint of amusement, or perhaps a dismissal of her own curiosity. "Though, you don't have to tell me anyway." And now she's turning on her heels to take those couple of steps Rhody-wards, sinking down into her own crouch with her thighs once more tucked in against her chest and her chin dropping to her knees, that mug still in-hand and held aloft. "… Do you want me to go get some alcohol? We can drink, and maybe dance, and if we wake to find we trampled some of the plants in the morning, well…" Well, then they will just know that they had a good night instead of WHATEVER THIS IS, won't they?

Rhodelia blinks as the gardener just runs away. That's normally Rhody's special move! Then there's more blinking as Risali is suddenly there. "I don't think I could tell you even if I wanted too…" Because that means she'd need to figure it out first and the whole walking was supposed to avoid that. "But drinks do sound nice. And maybe some snacks!" It is definitely not a ghost this time as Rhodelia's stomach makes a small noise voting for food. "As long as we don't have to look back at those until actual morning…" She points to the papers even as she starts walking towards the direction of wherever booze and food might be. Sounds like Risali's got herself a bargain!

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