Almost in Shock

Xanadu Weyr - Guest Weyr

Rustic and simple, this one-roomed cottage sits at the edge of the forest near the feeding grounds. The decor is spartan with a wide, comfortable bed and a couch, table and chairs and small kitchenette. Kept stocked with food and drink, the bed freshened with sheets and coverlets after each use by the weyrstaff, it's nothing more than a place to give riders participating in mating flights a bit of privacy should they need it.

The late night was cold and blustery…the morning, though brighter, is nothing to be thrilled with. It's still cold (outside) and the wind still blows (outside) and the tiny, pinprick ice crystals that were falling earlier still fall (outside). Inside, it is relatively warm…someone's lit a fire in the tiny grate, and the smell of woodsmoke's strangely comforting. Someone's gotten into the small kitchenette, and made do with what was there. Someone has gotten back into his clothes, albeit somewhat akwardly…and he's still slinking around on socked feet…lest he wake her up. The smell of food cooking's pretty homey, really…meat sizzling on the small cast iron griddle, bread toasting on a stick against the fire…the quiet sigh of a young man's voice, tinged with a certain anxiety…or nervousness…

Once the passion of the energetic flight ebbed, yet still so into Seryth and Seryth into Thea that she curled close into the person with her, seeking the warmth to be found there, arms looped easily about the man, head snuggled under his chin. Her slumber has been a deep one, not disturbed when Xe'ter awoke and eased away, not even when the cooking started. Burrowed in the blankets and coverlets, even her head is buried under the pillows as she snoozes on but at least she doesn't snore. The lump-that-is-Thea finally twitches and a sound, muffled though it is and unintelligible sounds questioning.

Xe'ter clears his throat a little, as he turns the slice of meat over in the pan, "You're…ah." He pauses, his voice creaking a little with nerves, "You're…Weyrlady Thea…aren't you." Good sweet Faranth, but he sounds young…not a baby….but well. Yeah. Young. The bronze curled up with Seryth is a stranger, but he is so very SMUG…and self-sure of himself…HE knows what is best…for Xe'ter, for Seryth. He knows these things…that one. Romth. It's a name that echoes even if unintroduced in a formal way. That is one self-confident bronze! "Romth and my duties…to ah…Xanadu and her queen…s."

The lump freezes. Then, ever-so-slowly a tousled dark head emerges from under that pillow, hair tumbled across her face as the woman peers towards the kitchen. One hand, with some effort de-tangles itself from the clinging sheets to sweep the mass from her eyes - eyes of ice green peer in hazy confusion towards the source of the voice. It's a long, confused stare the poor Istan gets from a blank face. "Yeeeeees?" A rather disoriented look-round at the room tells her JUST where she is and things click into place. But still the bewilderment remains. Finally, "You're… not D'son." It's almost a stunned question, that. His age, while ten years her junior doesn't register all that much. Yet. "Likewise," she finally thinks to say, then rephrases. "I mean. Xanadu's to Ista." Squint. Poor Xe'ter. The woman is… almost in shock.

Xe'ter swallows a little…not exactly anxious, but. He pauses before he nods…so he can slip the slices of meat off the grill. They go onto one of the plates that's kept in the cabinet, and he's wordless as he pours a couple of cracked eggs onto the griddle where the meat had been. "No, ma'am…I'm…" Yeah. He said that, but he can't help but finish. "Xe'ter. From Ista." He turns his shy gaze away, and grabs a wooden impliment, to keep the eggs from sticking while he scrambles them. Yeah. That's one heck of an accend under all that…some rural drawl that's not often heard in the technologically savvy Weyr.

The poor young man is simply stared at while he scrambles those eggs as Thea processes first the personal implications of this outcome, then the practical ones without moving other than that first poking out of head from the refuge of sheltering blankets. It takes the whole time he's cooking those eggs. Surely he can feel her eyes on the back of his head? Finally she simply bundles the blankets about her, sheets, coverlets and all, slips from the bed without bothering to dress and pads barefoot to the kitchenette where she sinks slowly into one of the chairs at the table, propping her chin in one hand to study Xe'ter at a closer range. "Congratulations." Gravely said, with a hint of a question upticking at the end there. As if to ask if he's alright with having won, but perhaps another unvoiced question in there too.

Xe'ter clears his throat a little, but it doesn't hide the wince. He's silent, though, pushing the eggs onto the plate…and then grabbing the toast before it's totally charred. Despite the primative cooking…he's got a good handle on it. The plate, with the bulk of eggs and rashers of meat, land on the table before the goldrider. Only then does he sink into his seat, his shirt still not entirely buttoned up, the light sea-blue scarf about his neck just draped there. He doesn't look up. "So…what happens next, ma'am?"

Thea remains casually relaxed, chin still propped in her hand, elbow still braced on the table, even when the plate is placed on the table. Silence meets Xe'ter's question and after a few beats the answer is, "We… have breakfast? I can't eat all this myself. Do you have another plate?" She seems genuine rather than toying, as her face is serious enough despite the smile to be heard in the goldrider's tone. Since he doesn't look up, the hand clutching those sheets to her chest snakes out to lift the bronzerider's chin if she can manage it. Kindly, "Xe'ter. The next thing on the agenda is to stop calling me Ma'am. I'm Thea."

For that split second, he looks like a runner that's being gentled by a strange handler…but he manages to regain his composure just as fast, "Thea, ma'am." Heh. Yeah. Good luck beating /that/ out of him anytime soon. "I can get another plate…I didn't know how much you'd want." It's an apologetic sort tone, but he hops up too…escaping the hand with the oh-so-valid reason of getting a plate for himself. Oh. And a fork. That makes perfect sense. Need a fork to eat like civilized folk. "Used to cook my fostermother breakfast…though you'd want some."

Thea's hand remains in the air for a moment after Xe'ter moves away, then withdraws back into her blanket to re-gather the edges together and thus preserve her modesty. There's no insistence on dropping the Ma'am, not just yet. But she has other ways to train that out of him and she will be sure to employ them! As for the breakfast, she smiles warm approval, "It smells wonderful. Thanks for cooking it." She'll wait until he returns, leaning to edge the plate his way with a sheet-wrapped elbow. "Just divide it in half, if you would." Since she's… one-handed there's not much she can do. As for his earlier question, she answers finally with a dry humor, "Congratulations Weyrleader. You get a new knot and an office."

Oooh, there's the Look. He clears his throat again, and then asks, "Are you…sure?" What? He's going to suggest they break 2000+ Turns of tradition just because he's, "I'm a delivery rider…." But he does divide the breakfast evenly. "I had just dropped off…stuff." Yeah. Um. "Cenlia's going to want that payment…and uh. My son's at Ista…and what happens next?" He glances up, his pale eyes briefly worried, "Your Weyrmate…he's going to try to gut me with a shovel or something, is he?"

Thea nudges that plate closer; she's hungry! If he doesn't divvy up the food, she's just going to let that blanket drop and do it herself. Which might be traumatic for him. His question draws a blink, then a ducked head while she hides a sudden smile. It's a moment before she can sound firm, "It's Seryth's choice. She is sure." When her plate is ready, she sits up, drops her hand from her chin and snags her fork, spearing a piece of meat. "Payment. For…?" Dark brows lift fractionally. The look is perplexed. What did he drop off? As for his son, there's a crease between her brows, a concerned look given Xe'ter. "You can bring him and his mother here if you want? Or… well… you're three heartbeats away from Ista actually. Do you want to go home each night?" She seems to be wrestling with the repercussions of all this. "I've been Senior here for a little over a turn, so I'm not sure how this is supposed to work." As for her weyrmate, she has a sudden coughing fit. Might not be actual coughing though. "Uh, no I doubt it. But he may give you some glares and grouching." The bombshell is dropped a moment later: "He's your Weyrsecond, so the two of you will be working closely." Now won't THAT be fun?

Xe'ter was trying to split the eggs and rashers up….but he drops his fork after a momentary fumble. Yeah. Bombshell. "Faranth's egghole, how do I get myself into these things?" It's a soft, drawly CURSE that all but whiffs of the sea, not long left behind. "I see." He pauses again, "Xanadu…Xanadu…Weyrwoman Thea and Weyrleader D'son and Weyrsecond D'…had?" He looks up, to see if he remembers it. Shards, he cannot be long out of Weyrlinghood himself! A few turns, at most! "I'd dropped off another shipment of alcohol, at Headwoman Ocelara's behest…" That's alright, right? He's just the delivery boy! Er. Man. Er. Rider. Er, "I don't know that Ryni'd want to leave Ista…she's native there." He winces a bit, "We're not … together, though." Oh…this is going to be hard to explain on a lot of levels! Great.

"Faranth's egg-" Nono Thea will just pretend she didn't hear that. Instead she merely nods at the names recital. He got it right. (WHERE that booze shipment came from will likely sink in and be wondered about later. Watch out Ocelara!) With casual non-concern about the booze, "Ocelara will make sure it's paid for then." And the Headwoman likely will return that previously indecipherable document that came with the booze shipment right back in Thea's inbox so the Weyrwoman can sign off on it, inexplicably readable now that proddy has worn off. As for Ryni, there's a sort of gears clicking into place. "Shorynia?" The tone is one of remembered dismay, but she doesn't go there. Instead, "I wasn't assuming you're together, just that the child would naturally wish to be with his mother." Her expression is one of casual acceptance. Greenrider - flightbabies. What's to explain? The Weyrwoman does give Xe'ter a keen look, "If you have a weyrmate, that person is welcome to live here as well." Person. See? Not even assuming gender.

Xe'ter shakes his head a little, and then half-laughs, "No Weyrmate, ma'am. It's just me and Romth…and he's handful enough. And yeah…Shorynia…we Impressed together." There is, for a moment, a sort of wistfulness there… "She was my first friend at Ista, when I got Searched." He pokes at his eggs…and then begins to eat them, but without much gusto. "Shards, B'ky's gonna choke when he hears this one…"

With a slightly strained tone, Thea notes, "I met her once," and leaves it at that. But about Bky she almost repeats herself that he would be welcome at Xanadu also before the 'no weyrmate' sinks in. "Weee…elllll… he's welcome here too?" Relationships… whatever they are… need to be nurtured after all. She too, begins to eat - she's hungry enough to. Spearing a slice of meat with her fork, she nibbles at it. Her mother would have a fit about manners, but she doesn't cut it into bite-sized pieces since one hand is busy keeping that blanket in place. "Why exactly will this… B'ky choke?"

Xe'ter is matter of fact, though he briefly runs his hand over his tightly curled hair, "He was my Weyrlingmaster." He then notes, "I'm…." He looks for the right word, and then laughs despite himself, "Sort of the black ovine of the bunch. I just try to stay out of trouble and not get noticed. I promise, this'll get noticed." And then he inquires, "Do you need some…wine or something? Rum? I've got some on me…" Rum for breakfast? Yup. Istan rider.

Thea is nothing if not lost. "But noticed in a good way, I hope?" She does a mental wince here. What have you gotten me into Seryth?!! Mid-nibble, the Weyrwoman lifts her eyes from meat slice to Xanadu's brand-new Weyrleader. Blink. Booze this early in the day? Or is it pre-dawn? How late HAS she slept anway? All this flits across her face before a wary, "No thanks. Do… you?" Cringe. What HAVE you gotten me into Seryth?!!

Xe'ter looks almost ashamed of himself, and admits, "I don't. But…uh. It's a great way to keep your hide intact near Cenlia." There's a long awkward silence…and then he asks a few strangely rapidfire questions, "It's not…required…to drink a lot, is it? Or pretend I'm afraid of you? Or…act like I don't know what I'm doing just because I'm the youngest?"

Thea nearly sprays Xanadu's brand-spanking new Weyrleader with half-chewed meat with the sudden laugh that sneaks up on her. With effort though, she manages to contain it and even answer smoothly, "I've found… cupcakes have nearly the same hide-preserving outcome that booze does where Cenlia is concerned." But then, anyone who REALLY knows Ista's Weyrwoman and Xanadu's history would know certain cupcakes and booze are really one and the same. "I… don't drink save for a glass of wine with dinner occasionally," Thea assures Xe'ter with a bemused sort of stare. She needs to visit Ista more to see what on Pern is going on there, obviously. Cue more staring at the pretending question. Trying to keep her brow from hiking up past the tumble of dark hair, she comments firmly, "I don't bite. And I'd prefer you just… be yourself to be honest. I'm… still learning how to be Senior. I'm muddling through a lot of this." She lets out a long breath, still confused perhaps with the unexpected change in leadership, the aftereffect of the exposure to cold is setting in most definitely. "Relax, Xe'ter. It will work out." She can only hope? Breakfast. She'll concentrate on that. Then soothing her weyrmate and… all the rest.

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