Distractions of Fish and Babies

Xanadu Weyr - Greenhouse
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.

It's a cold morning, for spring — getting close to lunch, but the air from the south blows frigid, chasing in low clouds. The promise of rain in the air doesn't spell anything good for the cold, either. Citalya is well outside of the cold, cloistered in the warmth of the greenhouse among a growing number of Weyrfolk. They're a varied bunch, now; several 'brats learning with a harper, a chattering bunch of riders. For her part, the healer is perched on the balustrade next to the pool, baby on her lap, trowing little bits of vegetable matter in the general direction of the fish. The baby isn't quite big enough to really grasp this, but it is staring wide-eyd at the fish closest to it, while Cita keeps up a running stream of consciousness. "Willow? No, no, Skyllar, I think willow is more suited to outside, don't you? Helpful, though, sure…"

Stefyr must not have drawn the short straw this morning when it came to work assignments, given that the broad shouldered blond man is working in the cozy warmth of the greenhouse and not outside. He's not working just this moment, though his hands carry the accumulated dirt that is evidence of his morning's labor with one of the new beds down below. Just now, he's strolling up to the pool to dip his fingers in (not too near the fish, mind) to scoop up a little water and rub it between his hands to work off a little of the grime. It's probably not what it's there for, but at least the gardener doesn't stick his hands back into the water to rinse them. No, instead, he's rubbing them across his thighs, depositing a little more dirt to the practical trousers as the trade off for slightly cleaner hands. As he has happened to come up rather near the goldrider and baby, he offers a friendly smile, nod, and "Ma'am," of greeting. "Enjoying the fish?" might be a question asked equally of babe and caretaker.

The warmth of the greenhouse is infinitely preferable to the outside, certainly — although, neither Cita nor the babe seem to have lost their outer layers. Look. It's cold, outside, and you never know. The stream of happy chatter doesn't slow as one of the gardeners approaches — "Red fish, look, it's red," — but the rider does smile, lifting her free hand cheerily. "Good morning," Cita greets, chipper, tossing a few more bits of greens to the fish. "Oh, we are, aren't we, Skyllar?" The baby squeals, waving his fat little arms, which…is probably an affirmative. "They're so bright, and colorful. I'll never get anything done, with them here, I think." The rider grins a lopsided kind of grin, then tilts her head. "I'm Cita. You're a gardner, here? You're doing a great job, I'd say. This place is turning out lovely."

"Only one of many," is really no false modesty, only fact, on Stefyr's part. "And really, I've only been in the Weyr a couple of sevens, so I can't take much credit as yet." He might eventually though says a stretch of his lips that teases at the idea of a smile but isn't quite one. "Were you aiming to get much done? With all respect, it's not been my experience that babies are a productivity aid." It's not meant to be offensive, but again, only factual as he sees it. He does crouch down then, though, to be more on a level with the baby and makes a face. This is helping with productivity, isn't it? "Fish, too, are a known hazard of productivity. I think I find myself regularly distracted from my duties." There's something in his tone that suggests an attempt at comical exaggeration, though the follows the remark up with a stuck out tongue and bugged eye look at the baby, so it's hard to say if the tone of voice just goes with the face or is, in fact, a joke meant for the rider.

Cita hums under her breath, nods in a wibbly kind of way. "Of course! You're all incredible, really, you've gotten so much done in here. I can't wait to see how it is by the end of summer." The rider offers, glancing around the greenhouse, gaze lingering on the various beds before coming back to the pool. "Ah," Cita waggles little baby arms back and forth, snorts under her breath. "You'd be surprised what you can accomplish, carrying them around. Oh, I can imagine that they do, though. They're so funny, how they know to come to the surface when there are people around. For the food." The rider huffs, amused, while the baby makes a noise close to a cackle, hands bouncing up and down without coordination. Cita shakes her head, eyeing the squeaking kid for a moment, then — you guessed it, returns to tossing food to the swarming fish. "Have you been planting, today?"

Stefyr's expression turns exaggeratedly thoughtful, possibly just exaggerated for the baby, or maybe just because the next thing he blandly replies is, "I can imagine a great many things, but I can't imagine productivity carrying a fish in tow." He grins good-naturedly up the rider, "Babies though, I do know some about keeping doing with them in arm. Cousins and brothers and all their babies." His explanation is brief and comes with a little roll of his eyes. "Haven't had a chance to say hello to many tykes since arriving, so it's been nice to meet you," that to Skyllar and the rider, both. "It's sort of funny how the things you think you won't miss are the same things you end up missing the most." That might be a little deep for a chance meeting of this variety though, so there's a quick clearing of his throat. "I'll leave you to your enjoyment of the fish. I've got to get back if it's going to meet your expectations by summer, ma'am." There's a teasing edge to that not quite smile, too. Then with one final nod and smile, the gardener heads back to collect his tools at the bed he was working at and move along to his next task.

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