Ear'ly Birds

The trees grow thickly here, avians nesting in their branches and flitting about after insects. Flowers sprout up and speckle the ground between, the green of small plants and their blooms of bright saffron and cheeky rose that creep all the way up to the bases of the trees and adorn the fallen leaves and mulch of the forest floor. Those trees rise upward in their aged magnificence, gargantuan limbs casting often welcome shade, the general atmosphere and scent of the path is one of freshness and wild abandon.
A path winds its leisurely way through the trees, wide enough for wagons to pass. As it goes through into the forest, a number of other trails branch away, both more and less traveled. Many of them lead to private weyrs, but there's a few more trodden paths - notable among them a road to the feeding grounds, set against the western slopes.
The forest grows wilder the further north one goes, deep growth and ancient places, and the road splits in two against it. One branch leads to a clearing with a large stone building finished with wooden cladding, while the other turns back toward the meadow. Just before it emerges, a trail veers off to the Firelizard Theatre.

The air in Xanadu might finally be not freezing, but Rhodelia isn't taking any chances. She's braving the early spring air, but not without an oversized sweater. With no work this particular morning, her feet have taken her wandering down to the forest paths somewhere close but not in eye-sight of the feeding grounds. In the distance there's a loud grumbling, which causes the woman to stop mid stride, staring down one of the paths the sound may be coming from, although with all the trees its kind of hard to tell where the noise originated.

Spring is, after all, well-known as the season where expected warmth can melt away the ice and snow… and unexpected cold snaps can bring the blizzards back for one more go-round! Which… okay, are maybe not entirely unexpected, given that the season's known for them, but still. D'lei is, likewise, neither entirely unexpected nor wholly expected as he walks the forests of Xanadu, taking a path less-traveled by that ends up… well, by rather a coincidence, it ends up coming out near Rhodelia! His head tilts to the side, glancing to her as a possible source of grumbles… and then to where she's looking. "Could be… well, a lot of people, really." A half-smile.

"That's what I was afraid of," Rhody responds with a glance over her shoulder towards D'lei. A higher pitched squeak joins the lower grumbling but quickly disappears. "Although there could be worst possibilities. Might end up just being a rowdy wild porcine and maybe some piglets?" People can usually be persuaded with or distracted if you end up finding some food or booze. Wild animals? Rhody already has a pretty poor track record with some wild life and she wouldn't want to push her luck too far. "Escaped all the meetings this morning?"

"The hazard of possibility," D'lei agrees with a slight grin, then grimaces. "That's less a just, and more… well, I suppose the dragons would appreciate the excuse to do some vigorous hunting." Or at least, some of them would! So, see, it comes back to food again, just from a slightly different angle. D'lei grins again at the question, crossing over to lean himself lightly against a tree and peer down a path. "Not all of them. But… some, at least."

Rhodelia just shrugs at possibility. "Not like a lot need much of an excuse?" Her back still hasn't turned away from the probably-sound-originating pathway. The rumble-bellow noise might be getting closer or just louder and so she takes a step or two back closer to the Weyrleader just in case. "I don't think I wanted to go down that ways anyways." As for meetings, she gives a nod. "Good. Who thought of scheduling early morning meetings anyways?" Probably her at some point, but not because she had any choice! Schedules get complicated, fast!

D'lei hehs. "I suppose not. But it'd at least help stop complaints." Because while dragons do need to hunt, not everyone is always sanguine about them doing it outside of their officially zoned areas. He gives a bit of a shrug, a sideways glance to Rhodelia as she eases away from that path, and then a grin. "I believe the first morning meeting was invented by a chap called Ear'li Byrd… a name that would be far more infamous if anyone had been awake enough to remember it."

"It'll never stop complaints," Rhodelia should know. She may have tried, for about a sevenday. Then got buried in a mountain of complaints about efforts to stop complaints. No good deed goes unpunished after all. She gives a snort for the dad-joke style faux history. "Poor Worm just didn't know what was coming for him when he accepted that first meeting. Setting a precedent and all that."

D'lei outright puts his head back and laughs, then turns his grin on Rhodelia. "And so you have learned the true nature of people. You'll never escape working in administration now… you're in too deep." He's grinning, which might mean he's joking, buuut this is D'lei, so he's probably also not-actually-joking. At least, not about that. For the other… he nods, pseudo-somberly, about… "Poor Worm. He deserves a place in our hearts, or… at least on our meeting agendas." A moment. "…not that I could, of course, officially countenance any worms - living or dead - being placed in the vicinity of Black Rock's agendas. Particularly not for that Kailor fellow."

Rhodelia eyes widen a little bit as the joke strikes just close enough to inspire a little bit of horror. "Or at least not without filling out three volumes worth of paperwork. In triplicate and then filing them away properly to make sure my replacement gets off to a right foot." It's like the trials of Hercules but all in bureaucratic forms and never ending red tape. Her eyebrow does raise a bit at the last disclaimer. "But unofficially… would it be a shame if that journeyman what's his face that's been working on breeding grubs to be re-purposed for something or other were to end up in the same room at the same time with that Kailor fellow? Scheduling slip ups do happen from time to time…"

"And then running away," D'lei adds with a nod. "Without a forwarding address, so they can't possibly find you to ask you just one question about the procedure you already wrote out in excruciating detail… twice." A crooked grin, and then a shake of his head, because if she is in too deep, he is underground staring at magma. Dig up, D'lei! Dig up, to the levels only populated by things like… grubs. A tilt of his head, a nod… and then a laugh. "I mean, I do think he's right that there might be real benefits. And I really do applaud his enthusiasm for his work." Even if the work of grubs is maaaybe not something quite that fascinating to everyone except that journeyman. And it's probably not actually necessary for him to carry around quite that many samples of his work at… pretty much all times, from what D'lei can tell. "Still. Unofficially… that does seem the sort of unfortunate mix-up whose remediation might require buying a drink or three for whoever should happen to have caused it."

He may jest, but it's not like Rhodelia hasn't snuck out in the middle of the night without a forwarding address and found her way to another continent! But that was turns ago, really! She just gives a very solemn nod like that's not a possibility she's ever considered. As for the totally theoretical meeting-mix-up that may or may not happen, there's a twinkle in her eyes and a grin on her face. "Someone may or may not also suggest to the journeyman that weyrfarmer was doubting how big the grubs can really get. If he's going to go to the effort of carrying around some specimens, he might as well make them the biggest. Although…" The grin dims just a smidge, "It will mean that someone will actually have to set through a discussion about all the grubs again." But the price might be worth it?

She's done it once, she could do it again! …but now that she knows what to expect, is it worth it? (If so… Western awaits, and the tour of continents can be complete!) But, presuming that's not the plan… D'lei grins. "His big chubby babies…" he muses, and mimes pinching a cheek… or… whatever the grub equivalent is, he certainly is not the expert on them. His head tilts to Rhodelia as she goes and brings practical downsides into this, and then… a laugh. "I mean, aren't we bound to have to do one of those at some point?" he says, and gives a shrug. "He's still doing that research. He's going to want to show us results, or ask for another test field, or… something."

That would require Rhodelia to actually have a plan, which is something she usually tries to avoid, at least when it comes to her own life goals or lack of them. Xanadu will probably have to deal with her trouble-attracting ways for a little longer yet unless she gets kidnapped by Renegades or something. She winces at the thought of the grub-babies, turning even a little green. "Ugggh… do you remember how their sides just… wiggle?" Cause she does and that's not something she wants to see ever again. And the bigger the grubs are, the more unnerving the side jiggle is. "It's probably only a matter of time before he's asking to put some in the greenhouse. It's there now after all. And what better 'controlled environment' could a farmer ask for?"

"Mmm… I think of it more as… pulsing," D'lei muses. "The way it's sort of…" He makes some gestures with his hands. They are somewhere between disgusting and obscene, and certainly fail to capture the true… experience… of observing those grubs. There's a crooked grin, and then a hrm. "…a second greenhouse, right next to the first one?" All the better to compare! D'lei grins for a moment, then pauses. "Okay, he probably would want one of those." So much for jokes. "But honestly, when those grubs get full-size, they'd take up the entire pot and leave no room for dirt, let alone plants. They kind of need an entire field…"

Rhodelia squirms at the more descriptive words for the grubs, shaking her head in all the nope. "That… no. No." If she ends up hurling, it might be D'lei's fault. Just nobody mention undulation and they're probably good. "The gardeners probably wouldn't object to a second greenhouse." If they had their way, all of Xanadu would be greenhouses! Plants everywhere in all seasons! "And while the biggest ones probably wouldn't do for indoors, the smaller ones would help with need for fertilizer and stuff, right? Isn't that the whole point?"

There's a grin from D'lei at Rhodelia's expression, but he is merciful and ceases in his attempts to describe and demonstrate those… activities, and the grubs that perform them. The Weyrleader's expression changes to a wry smile as Rhodelia continues with that greenhouse-theorization, and then he tilts his head toward her. "So, what you're telling me… if I'm hearing correctly… is that we actually do need a meeting with that journeyman, and the weyrfarmer, and whoever else they tell us, because we need to talk about what's being done with those grubs in indoor environments. And we genuinely do need to have him bring the very large grubs, because how big they get is actually relevant?"

"Yessss?" Rhodelia reluctantly admits that maybe this is some actual work and not just a big joke. Although the 'we' that needs to be included in that is definitely negotiable. "I feel like there's probably a need to talk with Black Rock too, but I can't remember it." She may have wrote it down some where. And then lost the note. Her filing may have improved lately, but it's still FAR from perfect. And these two thought they could actually escape work for just a morning! Off in the distance, that mysterious rumbling makes a reappearance, possibly mocking. Whatever it is clearly doesn't have anywhere important to be.

The 'we' that needs to actually be in the meeting room almost certainly doesn't include Rhodelia. At least, not unless she wants to see the expressions on faces as well as… the grubs that cause them. Tradeoffs! D'lei nods, wry grin in place as he does, and then hehs. "When don't we need to talk to them?" D'lei maybe spends more of his time than he'd like flying from one Hold to another to soothe ruffled feathers and negotiate deals… and that's when he's not playing host to whoever wants to come see the Weyr and expect fine treatment for the trade goods they do their best to not give. He grimaces faintly, and then gives his head a shake. "It's not urgent, or if it is, someone will let us know. Possibly by catching on fire." A shrug, a grin, and then - a turn of his head toward that rumble. "You're not urgent!" he informs it, with a raised voice to broadcast his assessment to… whatever it is. "Hardly even an incident, let alone a crisis!" Famous last words? Maaaaybe.

Rhodelia opens her mouth and closes it. That was probably a rhetorical question about Black Rock anyways, but they probably don't need to be informed when there's any other number of minor emergencies that come up that affect anywhere far, far away from the hold while still being this particular Weyr's problem. "If it was fire, I probably would remember it." And Galaxy would already be on the job. It's almost as if D'lei calling out to the noise just makes it madder or something. The rumbles argue and get louder, mixed in with a very draconic screech as well. Rhodelia blinks. "I'm pretty sure that's the feeding grounds…" And while she hadn't seen a sudden influx towards the grounds, she's eyeing the skies as if it's only a matter of time before there's some dragon shadows passing overhead.

"Mmh," D'lei says, and he tilts his head to the side with a thoughtful cast, as if to remember a fire or three. Infernos he has known! …and dealt with, given his own days in Galaxy. As well as those ones that just… happen. Mysteriously or otherwise! "It'll be in the notes." At least, if they haven't been lost… or used to start a fire. Which happens with remarkable frequency, particularly when Risali is offended by their contents. D'lei grins a bit as he hears the increased rumblescreechrawrs from what are probably the feeding grounds, and tucks his chin. "Still not a crisis," he says. "I might upgrade it to disruption… though I'm still not going to grant it incident. Not unless it proves itself." By… what?

"If anybody can find the notes," Rhodelia amends. Or read them. Wherry-scratch might be quick, but isn't always legible the following day. Let alone burnt wherry-scratch. D'lei might be as cool as a cucumber at the not-a-crisis rumble-screeches from the feeding grounds, but Rhody is infinitely less familiar with all the sounds of what is or isn't normal dragon eating. Feeding grounds aren't the ideal place to just go for a walk if you don't have a lifemate out there feeding, after all. She continues her shifting further down the path back to the Weyr proper, slowly backing away. "I wouldn't doubt it. As soon as you start doubting something, it has a way of breeding like THREE incidents and possibly even a predicament."

D'lei hehs at the addendum, then tilts his head toward Rhodelia as she edges away and gives good advice for him to ignore. Because, well. He's not exactly sure that this is, in fact, a non-crisis… though, if it does involve dragons, he'd probably know by now if it were currently an active one, because if it gets bad enough to make Garouth take notice, well, that brings a bonus D'lei along for the journey. "I'll let you go look for those notes, then," he says, with a grin as he offers dignified excuses for departure. "And I'll go see just what this… incident… might be inciting. That'll show it, getting some official attention to make it feel important so it doesn't have to turn into a disaster just to get noticed."

Bad is all relative, but that particular incident is definitely getting more inciting as the moments pass. With a much louder screech, finally the raucous takes to the skies. A very vocal green followed by equally vocal crowd of blue and brown suitors. A few might already have a few scratches from some pre-flight tussling. Rhodelia gives a nod. "Right. And besides… seems like I have a meeting or two to schedule. For an afternoon sometime soon." She's no Ear'ly Bird, no siree! But somebody might end up owing her that drink or three as journeyman, grubs and holder will all be meeting before whenever the actual meetings do occur. With a nod, she'll turn tail and scurry back to the Weyr. Just because she knows something happens, doesn't mean she actually wants to be anywhere near it if she can help it.

"Seems like you do," D'lei agrees, and grins. "Funny how those keep happening. It's like… I dunno, there's an entire Weyr's worth of business and a great many people who want something done about something else." His hands spread, and his shoulders lift in a shrug. "No accounting for it, really… though it does lead to a great deal of accounting." A crooked grin, a vague thing between a wave and a salute, and then D'lei ambles his way down the path to make sure that the screeches and rumbles of that flight-in-process don't end up with more than the usual amount of work for the infirmary. Or at least, that if they do, he knows about it!

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