Getting Up to Business

Xanadu Weyr - Beach
The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.
The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.

Having a few free hours before beginning her duty shift, Kera is enjoying her morning on the beach. The sun shines brightly as scattered clouds drift lazily across the sky. The stretch of beach the apprentice is occupying is out of range from others enjoying the warm sands. Well out of kicking range at least. She's currently kicking a ball against the cliff wall. Lining up, and kicking as hard a she can, *thunk* against the wall it goes, only to rebound back towards the girl. It goes by her into the water, but that's okay, cause Minimur is on the job. A brown lizard chitters excitedly, dropping seeming out of the sky when he sees the ball goin g towards the water. Diving, he swoops over trhe water, giving it a half body smack that sends it back out of the water to roll near Kera's feet. "Nice save Mini! Good job." And again, she lines up the wall and starts kicking it once more, sidestepping quickly to get in front of it.

A bit beyond the kickball stage of life himself, Grayden seems to be using the seaside less as a place of sport than of leisure. He sits on one of the staircases that lead away from the sand, specifically the one that leads from the beach to the treetop cafe, he's found himself a decent makeshift bench four steps up from the bottom. Here, with there being little foot-traffic at the moment and a wide enough passage that he won't be in the way of anyone that does happen to be heading up or down, he sits in partial shade, leaning against the railing. There's an apple core tossed a few feet away that, given it's new and barely brown, was likely his, and he looks over the top of a book open in hand toward the sound of a nearish voice, blue eyes squinted against the glare and passing briefly over Kera - then back, as the probable source of the noise. Although unlikely to join, he watches her occupation from a safe distance for the time being with the idle interest of someone making a go at people-watching.

Kera gets herself in front of the ball just in time to stop it from going by. Nudging the orb with her foot, she settles it on a raised bump of sand before hauling back and sending it flying towards the cliff-face. And on she goes, getting excercise, and away from her books for a little while as suggested by her Journeyman. The ball is kicked, the cliff sends it back, repeatedly. Occassionally, the ball makes it to the water, where Minimur rejoins Kera's little game and returns the ball. Everything goes smoothly until a wild kick send the ball nearly straight up at a steep arch. Lifting a hand to shield her eyes from the harsh glare off of the sun, Kera eyes the ball, it's current path and peeks towards where she thinks it will come down. The stairs to the cafe, not so bad…wait..there's someone sitting….. She waves her arms to get the man's attention "Look out!!" Her efforts aren't needed though, cause a brown streak come rushing in to give the ball a bodyblock, causing the ball to pretty much fall straight down.

Thankfully, for Grayden, he was already kinda watching what Kera was doing anyway. The fact that the ball is heading his way is already on his radar before the shout, and he's braced with a hand on the railing to lever himself up to his feet should gravity put him in peril… but no. The firelizard has intervened, and his hand lowers while his eyes do, trailing the ball back to its landing on the sand. In the wake of these aerial acrobatics, he claps a short round of (perhaps ironic) applause, though it's unlikely the sound carries far enough to be heard by either Kera or her pet.

Kera makes her way towards the ball, bending to grab it up as she walks by. Minimur wings around til he lands on his apprentice's arm, sidling til he settles on his shouldery perch. Tucking the ball under an arm, she reaches up the rub the lizard's knobby head a moment "We better go appologize Mini." A snorting sound from the brown seems to say 'I didn't kick the ball.' But he's along for the rider away. Approaching the steps, she lifts a hand in greeting "G'day sir." Eyeing his 'lordling' appearance, a polite dip of her head is offered "Sorry about the near scare. Thankfully, Mini was on the job…or ball as is the case." The mentioned brown sits a bit straighter on Kera's shoulder, his chest puffing up a bit when he knows he's being praised.

Grayden's 'lordling' appearance doesn't seem to extend entirely to his demeanor. That is, he seems to have no expectations that Kera will treat him deferentially, doesn't rise to receive her obeisance or anything of the sort. He continues sitting, shaking his head to dismiss the need for her apology even before the words are completely out of her mouth. "No harm done," he confirms pleasantly enough, pale eyes fixed for a moment on the firelizard as if to include him in the conversation without, you know, actually talking to a firelizard.
Kera gives a relieved smile as it seems new complaints will not be filed concerning her. At least til midday meals. After that, who knows. There are still plenty of candlemarks left in the day for trouble to find her. "That's good to hear then. I do appologize again for my wild kick." Shifting her sandaled feet on the sand sheresettles the ball under her arm when it tries to slip free. "M'name's Kera." Now why did she do that? Now he has a name to complain about. Hmm, is it too late to say her name is Sherry? Most definately. Gesturing to her little brown escort "And this is Minimur." The small brown churls happily, giving his own version of a greeting. It's midmorning at the beach, Kera is talking to a man sitting on the steps leading up to the cafe.

Grayden sits on the fourth step leading from the beach to the cafe, a book he was once reading now closed and held by its spine in one hand, looking very much at his ease while talking to the girl. "I know," he begins after Kera's offer of her name, a glance at the firelizard once again when that one's introduced. But it's back to Kera when he points out, "We've met, actually." At least he seems to find it amusing rather than insulting, a small pull at the corners of his mouth like he's fighting a smile.

It is often desirable to not have complaints filed. Not always; in some cases, complaints are an effective means of causing change, either self-directed or from exterior causes. An ideal complaint expresses a problem and contains indicators of the means of resolving this problem. Jethaniel receives many complaints throughout his day, from and pertaining to a wide variety of persons. Only some of them approach the ideal utility of a complaint. He does not, at the moment, appear to be receiving any, at least not from exterior sources. Jethaniel is making his way across the sand at a slow hobble. He has a support boot on his left foot, and a cane in his left hand to match it. His right hand still has a light brace on it. He is not carrying anything - not directly, but there's a young fellow following him with a clipboard and pencase. Jethaniel's pace is a slow one, a step - cane - step that involves rather more focus than moving at that speed ideally would. The scribe is being very patient with the fact that he's crawling along behind the Steward. Maybe trekking across the sand was not the wisest of plans? Jethaniel is, nevertheless, here, and slowly approaching the cafe steps.

Kera lifts a brow at the man and simply nods. "I remember sir. I also remember that you did not introduce yourself then either." Also, there was the question of him being a criminal or not. She takes a step back from the man, eyeing him suspiciously before her gaze drifts around the beach. When she's a few paces away from the steps, she drops the ball and starts nudging it about with her foot. Catching movement fromt he corner of her eye, she spots the Steward hobbling closer, followed by his assistant. Her eyes widen a bit and she waits for him to come closer before speaking up. "G'day sir." Frowning at the man she lowers her voice a little, as if the Weyrhealer could hear from from the distance. "Shouldn't you still be resting sir?"

"Didn't I?" Grayden seems a little surprised that he left out the introduction last time, brows lifting dubiously, but he shakes off the matter with an oh-well shrug. There's no time to rectify the situation now, for Kera's already turning her attention to something crawling along at a snail's pace, which gives Grayden a moment to lean forward, looking below the railing to spot Jethaniel and his one-man posse on their way over, that pull at the corners of his mouth stretching tighter - only to be replaced by a wholly professional expression by the time he pulls himself to his feet, descending three stairs to end just one step up from the beach. He lets Jethaniel field Kera's greeting/question before trying anything of his own.

It might have been a nice lazy morning, perfect for kicking balls and reading books without getting in anyone's way, but such things never last, do they. Just after Jethaniel and his friend approach from down the sand, so comes a woman from the opposite direction. She's little more than a dark outline in the morning sun, but sharpening into a shape of wind-tossed hair, a dark leather jacket and too-snug trousers with a striking vertical striped pattern that might be downright eye-assulting were there greater contrast between the black and gray lines. As it is, they just highlight generous hips and skinny legs before tucking into a pair of boots. The dark smudge of kohl around her eyes might help with the glare, but Arabet still squints a little as she draws toward the stairs, a dull but watchful gaze for the congregation that's developed there.

"On the contrary," Jethaniel says to Kera. There's a small smile on his lips, but his tone is a bland one. "I am informed that a moderate degree of exertion is, at this stage, conducive to recovery." Does that include limping his way across sand that could shift underfoot and send him tumbling? Probably not, but he hasn't fallen down yet. His clerk glances to Kera for that, but doesn't bother saying anything. It's not his job to argue with the Steward. Rather the opposite, in fact - he's here to recede into the background except when needed. Jethaniel maintains his smile, though - now that he's stopped - he is putting slightly more weight on the cane than would, according to his healer's assessment, be ideal. This will likely lead to strain in his back and shoulders. His medical discussion with Kera can constitute his greeting to her, and his notice of Arabet is limited to a mere glance along the way to Grayden, whom he acknowledges with a slight nod. "Good morning."

Kera looks Jethaniel over critically, not missing his stance, or the way he leans on the cane a bit too much. She nods though, not about to argue, her gaze takes in the long trek the Steward made along the beach, spotting a woman strolling closer, before peering back to the two men by the steps, Jeth mostly as she gestures to the steps "That was a long hike from the Weyr." Her feet shift a bit and she offers a small smile "It wouldn't hurt to take a little…breather." Not to mention the ache that might be bothering the man from his foray through the sandy little dunes. She leaves it at that, turning her attention back to the fancy dressed man, maybe he'll introduce himself to the Steward.

Spidey senses a-tingle, Grayden follows the glance of Jethaniel's toward the figure emerging against the glare, taking note of its general shape and then, ah, there's the flash of recognition before he turns back to return the Steward's, "Good morning," with a nod. "I hope you're bringing me good news?" He flicks a quick look to the scribe, like maybe the kid knows something, but clearly expects the answer from Jethaniel instead of his employee. There's a slight step sideways, leaving better than half of the stairway open for passage - maybe for Kera, maybe for Jethaniel (though that seems unlikely!), maybe for Arabet? Alas, there's no mention of his name for the girl's benefit; everyone else must already be in-the-know.

As Arabet's path carries her closer, Jethaniel's gimp accessories do get a second glance, the cane, the boot, the brace, the assistant in tow. She says nothing of it, but a hand comes up so her thumbnail can drag thoughtfully along the lower edge of her lip. Her gaze shifts to Kera with similar consideration as she nears enough to overhear the exchange of good mornings, and news perhaps, without staring at either man. She starts up the steps with a twist of shoulders and hips to slip past all the people standing around, a more direct gaze for Grayden in the process, blue eyes knowing but her expression unchanged.

"I am aware of the distance," Jethaniel tells Kera. He is assuredly aware, in every muscle expressing strain for having been used in suboptimal ways and to an extent to which it has become unaccustomed. He does not, however, move, either to seat himself - the required admission aside, standing from that position would be a logistical challenge - or to walk past Grayden, though he is theoretically capable of stairs. He is simply not engaging in them, as they are not essential. Strictly speaking, neither is coming out to the beach; he could have requested Grayden's presence in his office - that assistant (limp-free!) could have easily been sent and brought the other man back in the time it's taken Jethaniel to arrive here. Had he done so, Jethaniel would also not have had an audience to assess his current state. However, Jethaniel has come here, and being here, he stands up just a little straighter for his state being assessed by Arabet, though he does not look that way again. He nods slightly to Grayden's question. "I have reviewed your submission." He doesn't give the other man a name either; Kera will have to continue wondering. Perhaps she can get the information from Arabet? Jethaniel keeps his attention on Grayden. "It is acceptable; the Weyr is willing to proceed."

Kera steps out of the path when the woman starts up the steps. Jethaniel's comment towards her is met with an agreeable nod. It's not her job to make sure patients take it easy when they leave the infirmary. Her helpful suggestion made, Kera offers a nod towards the group, only one of which she knows, and starts nudging the ball with her foot once more. When it seems the talk is turning to business, which is none of hers, the apprentice gives them space for privacy while she returns to her and Minimur's little game. A quick wave is offered to the group in general before she wanders away to resume her excercise.

Grayden's got every right to look satisfied. In fact, 'smug' seems like an expression he wears so naturally that he leans a little in that direction, though it's harder to catch when he steps down the last stair and offers a hand (for shaking, not for assisting) toward Jethaniel, thankfully not requiring the man to let go of his cane for the gesture. "Excellent," he summarizes concisely. "Shall we go up," with a nod toward Arabet, who's using the stairs for their intended purpose instead of just loitering, "and settle matters?" Assuming that's why the man dragged a scribe all the way out here. "I'll even buy lunch." He might have included Kera in that generous offer, except she's wandering off.

After few steps up and Arabet pauses, watching Kera's nod and wave from the corner of her eye, and then turning to lean her hip against the handrail so she can cast her gaze out across the beach from this vantage, idly keeping the girl, her ball and her firelizard in view as she squints across the shine of sand and water, feels the sea breezes lightly tossing her hair from her neck. And if she happens to pick up a few errant words about submissions and proceeding and settling matters, well, that's just happenstance. But she does take a beat to look Grayden over from behind, down and up again, avoiding any direct eye contact with the steward who might observe such things though not bothering with anything particularly furtive. But by the time the two men turn toward the cafe, if they turn toward the cafe, the silent woman in the unusual trousers is continuing up the stairs, destined to get there before them.

Jethaniel has not been in the infirmary for some time. The nature of his departure… ah, but healer-patient confidentiality is a useful thing. It is certainly true that there comes a time when it is the responsibility of a patient to make progress; a healer can only provide assistance and advice to that process. Jethaniel reaches out to shake Grayden's hand. His right is still in a brace, though it's a lighter one than previously and the handshake is closer to a suitable briskness. The suggestion of their ascension brings his gaze past Grayden to glance up the stairs. Jethaniel is theoretically capable of climbing stairs. He has even tested that theory, over small problem sets. He has not yet conducted a test at scale. Given the way he has already exerted himself in crossing the beach, it is likely not advisable for him to do so. A healer would - has - advised him so, if he chooses to note that fact. As such, Jethaniel says, "Certainly." He makes a gesture to Grayden of, 'after you'. It's courteous. It also means Jethaniel's slow, awkward pace up the stairs is not going to receive as much observation. He has to lead with his right leg and hop the injured one up, while leaning on the railing - and also, after the first few, the cane; his injured wrist is unlikely to be enjoying that, but he only winces occasionally. The scribe can watch, as he follows, but the scribe has already seen Jethaniel's limp in some detail.

If Grayden was a swell guy, he would have thought of some decorous way to suggest another place for lunch, where Jethaniel wouldn't have to climb the steps at all. But Grayden's lack of swellness is in its prime when he turns to accept the lead-the-way suggestion, taking the stairs easily. It might put a cramp in Arabet's progress toward checking him out (or not, really), but he maybe makes up for it by slowing down where she's stopped to ask, "Going in?" With the tone implying 'hope so.' Won't they be a fun trio~

Having turned to head up already, Arabet can pause to glance back when Grayden speaks, the sly flick of a smile as her only answer, amusement in her glance for the implications of his tone. But really, is there any question that she's going to the cafe? Her gaze skims past Grayden's shoulder to the man taking such care and laboring so over his ascent. As entertaining as it might be to watch someone limp and wince their way up the stairs, there's no such amusement for Jethaniel and she isn't inclined to wait around to enjoy the show. Instead, "Are you buying me lunch, too?" comes a teasing, throaty question for the man who offers to splash his cash around. She doesn't wait for his reply, though. She just finishes with the stairs and disappears inside the cafe.

If Jethaniel were not far too tired of his office, he would have summoned Grayden there. He has, however, only recently been encouraged by his healer to go outside, and pleasant, non-muddy spring days are sufficiently infrequent that he considered the opportunity a favorable one. He may currently be reassessing that decision, but he does not make any comments to that effect while climbing the stairs, keeping his expression as close to neutral as is possible. Grayden and Arabet will certainly have some time to discuss their seating arrangements and mutual presence. By the time Jethaniel joins them, they'll have had enough time to not only sit down (whether together or separately) but possibly even order a drink. If they so choose.


Xanadu Weyr - 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.

Since she doesn't stick around to be sure, the answer to whether or not Grayden's generosity extends toward Arabet will have to be answered by the fact that he picks out a table with four chairs, even nods to offer her one of the extra seats. We'll assume, so as to move things along a bit, that there is indeed time to sit down, to collect the attention of a waitress, and put in a drink order before Jethaniel and his scribe make their way in - but not much in the way of small-talk or explanation during that exchange. Courteously, Grayden waylays the waitress long enough that she can take orders from Steward and scribe, too, and then it's to business with, "I'm assuming you'll want something in writing?" And he pantomimes the act of his signature.

Perhaps Grayden can even be so gentlemanly as to do that thing propping the door open from behind her as she enters the cafe? But let's not get carried away. Arabet steps through the threshold, a upward tilt of her chin as cool eyes adjust to the change of light and survey the spread of available tables. Grayden can go ahead and choose one, and with that chair pulled out for her, Arabeth favors him with fleeting but indulgent half-smirk before she settles herself down, slinging the bag from her shoulder to rest on the floor and nudging it close with her boot. She gives her hair an idle toss as she makes herself comfortable, eyes tracking Grayden while he goes about masterminding the delay of the waitress. Klah? Yes, is emphatically stated by the close of her eyes and a nod. So no, there isn't much small talk. She just stretches herself leisurely in the chair, a knee against the table's edge and a leg extended beneath it as Jethaniel and his friend rejoin and the discussion ensues. She busies herself rotating a metal cuff about her wrist.

There's also time for Jethaniel to pause, just outside the door, and take a breath as he ensures the neutral composition of his face. As such, while he is certainly still limping while he enters, he does not appear overly put out by the trip up the stairs. He was simply slow; that is (his demeanor intends to indicate) all. He inclines his head to Grayden as the man provides a waitress, and politely requests one of the iced tea variants - and no, not the kind wherein tea is a euphemism for liquor. He is, apparently, not taking that kind of business lunch. The scribe takes whatever seat's left over, and while he looks wistful that it's not that kind of business lunch, follows the Steward's lead and otherwise continues to be unassuming. Jethaniel returns his attention to Grayden, and a slight smile quirks the corners of his mouth. "Quite so. There are a few details to be considered, as well. For instance - at present, a portion of the Weyr stores are being used for inventory staging. That could continue, if reflected in the lease." For, of course, an increased cost. "I have prepared summaries." He turns to the scribe, who opens a document case and provides a sheet describing a series of such options and their effects on prices and contractual obligations and all that sort of thing. It's offered to Grayden for review of the details. There are always details.

Grayden sets his book aside and leaves room in front of him for the papers, smoothing a hand across the table first to clear it of phantom crumbs or sticky stuff or wet spots or whatever else restaurant tables tend to pick up. When Jethaniel starts talking about leases and details and yeah, he shoots a look toward Arabet, amused but no indication about what he finds funny in the whole situation. He waits until there's something in front of him, adds an absent, "Thank you," for the summaries (not at all surprised, by the way), and begs a pen from the scribe. His perusal will give everyone time to get their drinks and even be asked what they'd like to eat - leaving Jethaniel, Arabet, and the scribe to cope with each others' presences without him long enough to go over the details. The tl;dr version of Grayden and the contractual issues are: any place he can be less dependent on the Weyr for supplies or personnel (and thus pay less to the Weyr), he'd rather negotiate out of the lease.

It's not that Arabet has no interest in the business arrangement being conducted in front of her, but somewhere around the time that the young scribe looks so wistful about the nature of their drinks, he also catches her attention and it's to him, across the table, that she spreads a slow, conspiring grin, a little stretch of one brow. The two of them, silent parties. When the drinks arrive, she nods her thanks to the waitress and puts in an order for a simple grilled sandwich as she adds a bit of sweetener to her mug, stirring lazily. When she takes her fist sip, it's while staring steadily at the scribe, staring so directly that, depending on just how he takes such things, it might be a bit unsettling. And after that, she reaches to take up Grayden's book, ho hum, what do we have here.

The pen is provided promptly, and Jethaniel will answer any questions Grayden has, but in general, he's quite willing to let the man peruse things at his own pace and take the options he prefers. This is a business lunch. The things he won't be yielding on is that the venue will follow Weyr rules and procedures, where applicable, and maintain a suitable adherence to community standards - that being the harper-ish, contract-speak version of Thea's demand that it not be turned into a seedy gambling den. Grayden's desire to take on personal fiscal and logistical responsibility, as it is not in violation of these precepts, Jethaniel facilitates. The terms of the contract itself, once the details are sorted out, are not terribly remarkable; it contains a mostly standard set of clauses and mutual protections, a fair rate of lease, and a great many details only of interest to those involving themselves in the contract. The scribe, despite being here, is not really involved. He's supposed to be furniture, and so when Arabet first looks to him, he gives a little nod, then darts his gaze away. It comes back, though, and he ends up looking at her and offering a shy smile… then getting a bit uncomfortable and lowering his gaze to the table as the stare continues. Jethaniel appears oblivious to this interaction, watching Grayden's progress through those details - though he does order himself the grilled wherry skewers, when the waitress asks.

The book is a dog-eared piece of adventurous fiction, and Grayden sends a glance after it and up to Arabet, just to make sure she knows that he knows that she's got his book (and will be wanting it back). Oh, and he asks for some fish dish. Then it's back to business, the whole thing eventually signed and given back toward the scribe, whose discomfort was also completely off Grayden's radar, along with the pen. "Have the two of you been introduced, by the way?" he adds with all of that done, sitting back in his chair with an air of satisfaction, a contented host, hands folded loosely while he looks across the table between the pair of them. Assuming the answer is no, he adds, "The Steward Jethaniel. The… trader Arabet."

Since Arabet doesn't go stuffing Grayden's book in her shirt or anything, chances are that she knows he's seen her quiet hand slip it off the table without fanfare nor any effort of stealth. She glances over the title, flips a few pages to wherever the current placemarker is folded, skims a few lines. Her attention may wander, from the scribe to the book, and perhaps it would seem that Arabet doesn't attend too closely to the harper-speak or the mutually beneficial terms, but then she does shift her gaze toward Grayden from time to time in a way that might best to described as distracted. Though distracted from what is anyone's guess, since the when the scribe cowered so quickly under her stare, she eased off. It's the round of introductions that shifts her focus to the all-business steward, and she lifts her fingers from the book, fanning them in a subdued flourish of a wave as she slips on a polite smile just for him. The trader Arabet, that's her. Her looks to catch Grayden's eye with a spark of awareness that says she hasn't forgotten how he chanced a guess at her profession, and correctly, so soon after meeting.

Jethaniel's not doing much in the way of writing, but he does manage, with that braced right hand, to initial and sign where appropriate to stand counter to Grayden's signature - though Jethaniel, being Steward, is doing it as a proxy for the Weyr, as rock and dirt are not usually capable of putting their name to things on a non-geologic scale, and humans only have so much in the way of patience. Once the humans - those being Jethaniel and Grayden - have resolved their business, Jethaniel inclines his head to Arabet as Grayden provides an introduction to maneuver them toward the social portion of this lunch. "A pleasure to meet you," he says, his smile a polite one.

Lovely. Everything's signed, everyone's introduced, and Grayden is spared the difficulty of trying to unite two people - Arabet and Jethaniel - who seem to have nothing more in common than species because, at this opportune moment, the waitress returns with their meals. One for you, and one for you, and one for you, and did the scribe order anything? I forgot. Anyway, food always helps pass time when people have nothing left to discuss.

Arabet looks across to Jethaniel, a moment of plain study from those unyeilding blue eyes before her chin lifts. "What happened to you?" she asks, no sign that she's at all concerned that the details of how he's ended up so battered and broken might not be something the man wants to share with strangers over lunch. And she remains slouched as she is, knee propped and Grayden's book open and held upright before her, a shield that hides nothing, at least until the meals arrive, and then the book is tipped against her chest, leaving plenty of space before her for her plate. Her knee slips, boot finding the floor, and she sits up just enough to take another drink from her mug. While Grayden so happily busies himself with his food, she eyes the scribe, as if, with a little silent pressing, he might spill the beans about Jethaniel before the man himself has a chance to do so. But she doesn't press. She just waits.

Jethaniel appears unperturbed by Arabet's gaze, returning her inspection with one of his own. Her question does not surprise him; it is a somewhat obvious one, and if he was sufficiently intent on avoiding it as to permit it to disconcert him, he would not have emerged in the first place. "I slipped and fell during an ice storm last winter." His tone is a matter of fact one, and his grey eyes do not lower during the admission. "I expect, as a trader, you are familiar with adverse conditions." Are they going to talk about the weather now? It is somewhat traditional, under these circumstances. "They certainly correlate to delays for our regular traders." And then Jethaniel looks away to his plate, maneuvering bits of roasted wherry off the skewer so that he can eat. The scribe may be awkward, but he wasselected for being able to have read access to moderately confidential material. He looks down at his plate - something small and boring - and doesn't say anything. Like he hasn't, this whole time.

Grayden doesn't eat much, on account of he needs to maintain his girlish figure and all, but he does work his way through a portion of his meal while Jethaniel details just how he came to be so battered. There's a pause after slipped-and-fell, with brows knitting and head tilting, but then he chews a bite, wipes his mouth, and lets the story finish before pushing back from the table. "Excuse me, but there really is no time like the present." So saying, he makes his way around the table - pausing to tap his index finger against the cover of the book, a dull thumpthump on his way by but no effort to reclaim it, just to note that he hasn't forgotten it - and disappears around a corner to start introducing himself.

Yes, a terribly obvious question. And a befittingly mundane answer. He didn't slip and fall in an ice storm while rescuing a kitten from a tree on his way to delivering life-saving medicine to a beloved grandparent? Ah well. Arabet doesn't nod or smile or particularly acknowledge the reply in any way, she just tucks in to her meal. Almost as ladylike as Grayden. As for familiarity? "Yes," she says. "I'm familiar with ice." She rubs crumbs from her fingers with a brush of her thumb — unnecessary since she just picks up the sandwich again. "Do your regular traders come through often?" she wonders, so easy and casual it might just sound like the beginning of a perfectly normal conversation. But her eye does slip aside as Grayden makes his excuses, and down at his hand when he taps the book she has resting open against herself. That he leaves without it seems not to surprise her at all, but she does take an interest in his path around the corner and the murmurs of introductions she can barely hear before he disappears altogether. She wets her lips, takes another bite and goes back to waiting on Jethaniel's response.

No kittens were involved in Jethaniel's injury, though a firelizard did play a minor role. His actions may have contributed to the sparseness of power outages, but that's hardly going to make a good story. Nothing to compare with that adventuresome book Arabet is holding for Grayden. She is, however, familiar with ice, and Jethaniel nods to this statement as he eats his meal. His own care for the procedure is related to his injuries; he attempts to minimize his awkwardness with the fork, despite the fact that he's willing to discuss the accident. "There are several caravans which do so," he says to the question of traders. "As well as a series of ships which make regular stops. Xanadu is somewhat of a transfer point for trade within our coverage area." An antiquated concept, that, but still a useful one. Perhaps it is also useful that Jethaniel is dining here at this juncture; this experience can provide him with a point of comparison when - a few sevendays hence - he returns and assesses the change made by the new management, which Grayden - as of now - is. Technically speaking, the Weyrwoman could overrule the Steward, but she won't. The final version of the contract, being consistent with the preliminary one he discussed with her, will receive the appropriate formalities. The more practical aspects are what Grayden is, in fact, off to see to at the moment. Cost-saving measures and all the rest, which are not entirely compatible with treating traders to lunch, but that problem - as with many others - is for Grayden to concern himself with, not Jethaniel. The Steward nods to that departure. "Indeed not." It is a vacuous truth that each moment is distinct. What Grayden chooses to do with that moment is up to him.

It is probably safe to say that the circumstances of Arabet's lunch may have more to do with Grayden's satisfaction from a productive business transaction, or perhaps considered the laying of prospectively fortuitous groundwork, rather than having any direct connection to cost-saving measures. But, indeed, that is for Grayden to determine and Arabet, herself, is not one to look a free lunch in the bologna, as it were. "So those on the ground are largely local," she presumes of the traders who see Xanadu as a hub. It doesn't seem to effect her either way, just something of idle note while they make progress on their respective meals. "And they adhere to your…" Oh, what was the phrasing she overheard during the discussion of Grayden's contract? "Community standards?" She lets an eye skim across the cafe, the little niceties in the form of table adornments and lanterns, like they might be representative of said community. With the first half of her sandwich gone, she sits back with her klah, leaving the latter portion untouched.

The regulations for the composition of the bologna are more likely to be found under procedures, rather than community standards. Jethaniel does, however, appear to find his own meal satisfactory, as he continues to eat it. He also continues to converse with Arabet. "Proportionately, yes," he says of those traders. "There are, however, several regular caravans with greater range, mostly on the route between here and Southern Hold, with a few to Eastern Weyr." He can name them, if she seems interested. Jethaniel, as Steward, pays attention to these things, but they're the sort anyone who cared to keep track could note. Traders are not generally inclined to keep their travels secret; in fact, the opposite is often true. Her inquiry as to the community standards makes his eyebrow rise. "Insofar as those standards are applied to all visitors, yes. It is difficult to conduct trade if one has made oneself unwelcome in the vicinity." His fork selects a piece of food, then pauses. His tone is mild, curious. "Is there some particular aspect with which you are concerned?"

Thankfully bologna was only a fun turn of phrase, elected for being the lunch meat with the most comedic impact, as what Arabet has in her sandwich is probably just chicken. And in case stopping halfway through her lunch is indication that she's unhappy with it, after drinking down a bit more of her klah, she starts to wrap the remaining portion of sandwich in a napkin. As for the caravans, she would appear, perhaps not to be disinterested and if he chooses to name them, she'll choose to nod, hit or miss with whether or not she recognizes any among them. And for community standards, she doesn't seem terribly concerned; emphasis on that point is managed with a lift of her brows as she shakes her head. "No reason to be," worried about any particular aspect. "Just curious. Some places are more disturbed by visitors than others." She rolls a thin shoulder in the shape of her jacket and bends to take up her bag, slipping the book and the wrapped sandwich inside. "If your man comes back," she says with a flick of her glance in the direction Grayden went. "Tell him thanks for lunch." She eyes the scribe again as she stands from her chair.

Jethaniel would prefer to not be pelted with any form of lunch meat, and as such, he will not dispute Arabet's assessment of their impact. He nods slightly to her lack of reason - mere curiosity is, apparently, an appropriate justification, given that his brow lowers to a neutral posture once more - and then Jethaniel smiles. "Ah. Xanadu is not, perhaps, the most cosmopolitan of locales, but we are familiar with a wide variety of visitors, and are, generally speaking, quite glad to offer our hospitality to them, regardless of their particular situations. We are not easily disturbed; we simply prefer courtesy." He does not comment on Arabet's decision to wrap and take her sandwich, nor to bring Grayden's book along. It is none of his business, and as such, ignoring it is also a matter of courtesy. Jethaniel inclines his head slightly to Arabet's request. "Should he do so, I will pass the message along." The scribe looks down, looks back up at her, and gives a teeny tiny wave. Jethaniel takes another bite of food. Sooner or later, he'll send the scribe off to deliver messages and drop off notes, and eventually he will - presumably - also depart.

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