Warnings and Suggestions

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.

It's a lovely spring afternoon high in the treetops overlooking Xanadu's beach: the cafe is doing brisk business, with most of the tables claimed. A young huntress stands at the hostess stand, craning her neck around, looking for any kind of staffing. The waitstaff seem to be missing from view, and while people eat and talk and laugh among the low ambient noise of clinking silverware and glasses, it looks like it's just patrons. "Is this like one of those situations where you seat yourself?" the girl — Taeli — wonders to herself, chewing with excessive thought on the left side of her lower lip. She seems to be taking this whole situation way too seriously.

It is a rather smug Ricki who is meandering up the steps to the cafe, greenrider humming off key as she meanders, her camera around her neck as she goes. Pausing as she nears the top and catches Taeli's absent question, she glances around, before inclining her head. "It is now, I think.." Another glance, and she hmms softly. "They usually aren't too strict about it, until dinner time." And she moves around the hostess stand, tossing her head towards an empty table near the edge. "If there are two of us, they might show up at the table sooner."

Wait for the wattage. Three… two… one: "Oh!" Taeli's blazing smile is broad and white and brilliant. "Yay! Yes! I mean. Of course. We should. That sound fantastic. Almost as fantastic as a sandwich. I was so frelling hungry earlier I almost took a raw chunk out of the wild wherry I bagged this morning, but you know, raw wherry isn't like raw herdbeast. It's kind of… chewy in that prawn-like way, you know? But not in a good way. In a 'oh this is going to make me hurl' kind of way. Entrails are enough without vomit being involved, you know?" TL;DR: hi, yes, let's eat together like two totally normal strangers. The huntress happily tags along after Ricki toward the table at the edge.

Is that… a flash of regret on Ricki's face? As the description of the wild wherry evolves each each passing sentence to something more and more.. off-putting, there would be no hiding the tinge of green that appears on her face, but the greenrider is quickly turning away to try and hide it as she crosses to the table, settling down on one side and settling the camera carefully in the seat next to her. "Eating alone is always sort of.. odd." She offers after a moment, even as she is glancing over the huntress carefully, debating what she has gotten herself into. "I'm Ricki, green Iczobyth's.." Are they still strangers after introductions?

Regret is a common enough feeling when Taeli's involved, but she's harmless enough! She swears! "I mean, it always feels like someone's watching you, right? Judging you. For just eating alone, which makes no sense, because it's not like you NEED someone around you to eat, you just sit there and stuff your face, people aren't really necessary for that." Taeli takes her seat with a dramatic sigh. "But don't tell my gram I said that out loud, because she'd wash my mouth out with soap." Her freckled nose wrinkles and then she brightens right back up again. "Nice to meet you, Ricki!" Her voice is twangy with the deep accent of the fisherfolk that plague the northern shores of the Southern continent. "I'm Taeli. That's a mouthful. Icz.. Icky.. Icz… it's pretty though!" she valiantly adds after her utter failure.

"I feel like your gram and mine would probably have a right old time together being grumpy old ladies." Ricki murmurs with absolutely no shame, before the comment about Iczobyth's name has her chuckling, and waving a hand. "I usually call her Iczy. She doesn't mind, much." One hand brushes against the camera next to her, reassuring herself it is safe before glancing at the menu. "It is just like.." She shrugs a little. "It makes me feel so odd, because in the caverns even if you are alone, there are enough other people you aren't alone. But up here.." She waves a hand at the tables of 2 and 4.

"Probably," Taeli agrees at the concept of grumpy old lady friends. She's swift enough to pass over the topic to the next. "Iczy," she tests out, and then beams when that proves to be entirely more mouth-friendly than the full name. "Yeah, I don't get it either. Back in the fishcamps you all eat around the fire, no matter if you're a little or a big, or if you've caught one fish or a thousand. Up here though, you just sit down next to someone and you know, they look at you like you just killed their mama." OH. OH. "Someone told me all about this thing called personal space yesterday. I don't even… like, it was weird. All I did was lean in to see this little glass thingy she had, and it was like I skinned her cat!" Can you BELIEVE that? Taeli leans back, wriggling her gangly frame until she's sitting on one of her boots, perched up on her chair.

"You'll be really confused then, when people who were all upset about their personal space are suddenly all in yours." Ricki offers with a sympathetic smile, "You think people are hormonal on their own, throw in a giant dragon and.." Hands lift up. "I don't even understand it, and I live it." A soft laugh, but then whatever else she was going to say is interrupted by the arrival of a waitress, and Ricki is taking a few moments to pick out a late lunch, motioning to Taeli to make her own choices while she glances out over the railing absently.

"Huh?" Taeli questions, nose wrinkling up - and then the rest of her face follows. "Why would they be all up in mine?" she asks, clueless as the day is long. But the waitress is there, and the huntress is picking out her choices as random as the rest of her personality. Pickle-flavored chips? Banana pudding? Is she pregnant? (No, just a teenaged girl.) ((though those are not by any stretch mutually exclusive…)) Tae wriggles in her seat after the waitress walks off, shaking her head, and then looking expectantly at Ricki for continuation. Teach the young padawan, Ricki.

Eyes widen at the confusion exhibited by the young huntress, but Ricki at least is polite enough to wait until the waitress has gone and come back with some drinks and disappeared again before questioning it. Leaning across the table, dropping her voice to avoid it carrying, she tilts her head and gives Taeli a slightly concerned look. "How long have you been here? Has.. has no one warned you?" She asks hesitantly, biting her lip, with a slightly nervous glance around her. "About greenriders? And I mean, goldriders, too, but thankfuly there are a lot less of them."

"Has no one warned me about what?" Taeli's eyes are WIDE — and they're wide-eyed enough on a day-to-day basis, okay? — and she leans forward in the terrified interest of a person watching a train speeding toward them in slow motion. "Uhhh. Greenriders? What about greenriders?" She rubs at her face in consternation and then (of course) brightens: "Oh, the one goldrider I met was awesome! Well, I mean, her gold was awesome. She talked to me," she says, her voice a bare whisper as if this is some huge secret. "She told me to call her fearless leader!" AND SHE DID! No surprise. "And then miss Risali threw up and we found out she was pregnant but that's no surprise. But. Is there. I mean. Should I be… what's scary about greenriders?"

"Oh shards." Ricki whispers softly to herself, leaning back in her chair, and glancing up to the canopy overhead. "Well, at least you met Leirith.." She murmurs before she sits back up, taking her glass and curling her hands aroudn it to avoid fidgeting. "I mean, I am sure you have heard about mating flights, right?" And then, afraid to find out if the answer is no, she is hurrying on. "Well, before hand, they get a little.. emotional, sometimes. Some of them get short tempered, and some just hide. But some… Get really friendly. Really really friendly. With, uhm, everyone." And a blush spreads over this green rider's cheeks as she explains.

Bet Ricki didn't realize she was going to be giving a birds and the bees conversation today when she woke up this morning. Because Taeli is leaning forward, now perching her chin on top of her paired fists, elbows so-improperly planted on the tabletop. She's an avid listener. "I've heard of mating flights. I mean. I know dragons mate on the wing." And it's not like this daughter of the fishercamps of the Southern coasts is unfamiliar with the average mating principles of most mammals, at least. "Friendly? Like. I mean. I don't know. People say I'm friendly? So are they going to get like me? Do they talk a lot?" Her face lights up. "I love it when people talk a lot. So this is before they… well, I guess their lifemates do their mating flight thing? Huh. Can I find them? I mean. I like friendly people." Yes, Ricki, tell the impressionable seveteen-turn-old exactly where to find allllll the proddy greenriders~

"Well, the dragons aren't the only ones doing some mating." Ricki murmurs, blush darkening as she states what she thought would be obvious. "I, uhm. They might hug you. Or kiss you. Or.." A wave of her hand, and it seems that is as far as Ricki is willing to explain. "You're probably better running the other way, honestly.." How do you tell someone they are too sweet and innocent and naive? "And, well, Leirith just went up, but if you hear anyone talking about a gold going up, you have to promise me you will go and lock yourself somewhere by yourself, no matter what." Does Ricki now have an adopted little sister? Is that what youngest siblings want?

"Oh." Taeli looks a little put out at that, leaning back from her chin-perch. Then she screws up her face again. "Is this like when the old skeezy guys send me drinks at the bar?" From the mouth of babes, y'all. "Yeah, I mean, I'm not that into all that, I guess. Okay." She reluctantly agrees to running the other way, and then tilts her head at Ricki's last demand. "Uh… okay. I mean, if you think that's what's best for me, because I definitely don't know anything about it, but if that's what I need to do. Lock myself up somewhere by myself. When a gold is going up. Got it." She commits this to memory, a diligent look of concentration vexing her fair brow. "Weyrs don't seem nearly as fun as all of the people back at the camp made it out to seem. 'No Taeli ye can't go there, they're just a bunch of degenerate perverts'," she scuffles her voice to a lower register at the end, obviously mimicking some sailor relative of hers. "I don't know what a degenerate is but it sounds way more fun than this. Not that this isn't fun. I mean. Sitting here talking with you. This is the most fun I've had in ages!" with just a wee bit of anxiety, sitting up straighter, as if Ricki might have taken offense at that last bit.

Ricki chews absently on her lower lip for a moment, pondering what to say and how to say it it seems, sipping from her glass before there is a soft sigh and she blushes again before speaking softly. "They just.. They aren't always in control. And I'd hate to see something happen to you, when you weren't ready for it." Lips bunch to one side and she considers. "Most of them are fine but.." A shrug, and then there is a soft laugh. "Babies make things hard, and 9 months after a gold flight there are a -lot- of babies.. So just.. trust me." Awkwardly shifting, she glances around, as if hoping to see the waitress bringing food sooner than later, though the hurried 'explanation' has Ricki giving a tiny snort of laughter as she waves off the teenager's anxiety.

"Oh." Taeli frowns thoughtfully at the whole notion of gold flights bringing babies into the world, and shakes her head. "Do you have any kids?" she asks, squinting. The greenrider doesn't look that old, but again — mutually exclusive they are not. "I mean. I trust you." Willing to let the topic lie, the huntress settles back further, looking up as the waitress does then arrive with their food. "Have you ever been on a boat?" comes the random question, Tae picking up one of her pickle chips and chewing on it entirely too thoughtfully as she finds herself staring at Ricki's camera. There's doubtless a question brewing there, it just… hasn't made it to the surface yet.

The question of kids brings a hurried shake of Ricki's head, the blush threatening to appear again. "No, no… Its.. My we-.. Niko and I aren't ready yet." She stumbles over how to classify the bluerider, it seems, spinning the glass between her hands as she watches it. "Maybe in a few turns. But my sister has a few." With the arrival of food, Ricki relaxes a bit, mixing a little of this with a little of that. "Ages ago, just for an afternoon. Shards, I couldn't have been more than.. eight?" A pause, and she lifts her chin to glance across the table at Taeli, pondering it seems, before settling back into to munch her food. "That might be a good idea, though.." She absently muses.

"Niko?" Taeli hones in with the targeting aptitude of a teenaged girl introduced to a potential source of romantic intrigue, trying out her pudding in the meantime. It passes the taste test, evidently, the girl digging in with as much enthusiasm as she pours into everything else. "My older brother has some kids. But we don't talk much." Her face remains downward-focused, no hint of excessive emotion given for the conversation about her family. But then everything's going to have to stop because she's staring upward. "Did you just say you haven't been on a boat since you were eight?" Her voice is AGHAST, face matching suit. "I mean, I get seasick, you know? So I don't really like to go on any boat trips, it makes me a little queasy just thinking about it, that's why I hunt after all, but man…" She sighs, wistfully. "Boats are awesome."

"Niko is…" Pause. "I mean, he's my mentor and my best friend and we basically live together but.." A shrug. "Being an adult and a dragonrider is confusing." Ricki sighs after a moment, shaking her head. "Do you talk to any of your family, anymore?" She asks, a bit hesitate, perhaps, to open that can of worms, but when has that stopped her before. However, the questioning all comes to a halt at the question about boats, the greenrider laughing as she sits back, lifting her hands in defense. "My dad is a brownrider.. why take a boat when you can take a dragon?" She offers, as if it a perfectly logical explanation.

"Being an adult is definitely confusing." That's why Taeli is going to actively avoid adulting for as long as humanly possible. Her food keeps her attention for a longer bit of time, the girl scarfing down her random array of food with a speed that makes a person wonder where the skinny child puts it all. "Oh, sure. I mean. They're upset at me right now for leaving, but what was I gonna do? Sit around and mend nets with grams all day? That's not much of a life." Her head shakes as a firm negative. "They'll get over it," she breezily says with the disregard of a young girl for an adult's prerogative. When faced with the logistics of boats vs browns, Taeli's put aback, frowning pensively. "Well.. a boat isn't about the destination. It's about the journey." She definitely stole that from someone way older and wiser than her.

"That sounds about as fun as watching clothes dry." Ricki murmurs around a mouthful of lunch, when it comes to the possibility of mending nets for life. But the comment about 'journey before destination' seems to have caught her attention, because she is humming softly. "You know, you might be right. It might be time for a boat trip. I wonder how Iczy would feel about swimming along side, or maybe flying ahead…" She seems to consider this for another moment, before remembering she is in fact sharing the table, glancing back at Taeli with an encouraging smile. "They usually do, it just takes them a bit sometimes. Grandmothers though, they seem to remember -forever-."

"I think watching clothes dry might be more fun," Taeli says with FULL EXASPERATION. "And nets just dry out your hands and all them old ladies are…" as soon as she's started rambling about this she starts looking SUPER guilty, hunkering down in her seat and darting around a look here and there to make sure there aren't any grey-haired ladies nearby, "…just talking viciously to one another about things that happened, like, forty years ago," she plaintively says. "Like who cares? Get over it, Aunt Patti, nobody freakin' cares about that one time so-and-so stole your date or knocked over your skiff." Her shoulders hunker together as if to make her smaller, but she sticks her lower lip out determinedly. "Well. If you want to ever go out, let me know and I'll ask my brother! His boat is the nicest." It also smells the fishiest but that kind of thing would never bother Taeli so why would it bother Ricki, right?

"It's even worse when they used to be someone, and now they are just… old and not important." Ricki adds on to the complaints, wrinkling up her nose as she finishes off her plate of food, pushing it towards the edge of the table absently. "Niko thinks he needs some sort of inspiration. Maybe a boat is what he needs." This might be one of those 'very bad ideas' but well, life is boring without those, right? A soft sigh, and she leans back in her hair, resting an elbow on the patio railing beside her. "I hope you won't be bored, without many nets to mend here.. just.. what did you say? Wherries? to hunt?"

"Yeah, I guess. It's just…" Taeli starts to open her mouth to go on another rant about old people but seems to think better of it and just subsides. The reason is sitting down at the table next to them, a very kindly-looking bluerider woman whose hair about matches her dragon's weathered, time-faded hide. "Oh, we always had Harpers and the like come into camp, talking about how they needed something rustic and authentic and all the other made-up words they use to say they just need to see fish guts and what real life's actually like," Taeli says, her voice enthusiastically bubbly despite the context of her words, making them dismissive rather than derisive. "Hunting is fantastic! They let me go out on my own, now, and I get bonuses for bringing in more than my quotas! I could hardly drag yesterday's snares on my own. You shoulda seen the lower caverns guy, his eyes got so big. It was awesome." She beams, proud of her accomplishments, and chews her last pickle chip.

"That.. That might be perfect, then." Ricki muses to herself at the younger girl's explanation, running her fingers absently over her lips as she considers it, blinking back at Taeli as she mentions bonuses. "Yeah? So I should make sure to ask for whatever you bring it?" A grin, and then there is a groan, and Ricki rolls her eyes. "I'm so sorry.. speaking of grandmothers.." She carefully gets to her feet, gathering her camera. "Mine is apparently looking for me, and I try and avoid her finding me anywhere I want to go back to again." Reason #1000 why ancient goldriders shouldn't be left out and about. "It was really nice to meet you.. Good luck. And… just remember what I said." And then she is leaving a few mark pieces on the table and slipping out - hoping to find Niva before Niva finds her.

"Thank you! I'll remember!" Taeli hollers after Ricki, with zero tact. She totally quails under that bluerider's evil eye from a table over, however, sliding down in her seat. She doesn't exist! Really! (She'll get out of here somehow.)

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License