Weyr Shopping

Xanadu Weyr - Coastal Road

This coastal road runs parallel with the edge of beach that stretches endlessly beside the Caspian Lake. From coast to inland the dunes of the beach grow smaller and smaller until they eventually peter out into nothing but small moguls in the sand. The path is eventually seen to be blocked by a river that reaches the lake just south of the point where the road turns west and crosses a grassy meadow towards a sturdy wooden bridge that can be seen in the distance.

With the upcoming wedding and the resultant change in living arrangements, there are things to settle, things to prepare for and plans to make. To this end Darsce and Jethaniel are out to look at the empty cottages in Xanadu Weyr with the aim of claiming one of them, should they find one suitable. The spring morning is sunny, the balmy air fragrant with growing things and flowers. Birds are singing, insects are buzzing. It's a perfect day for a picnic, which might be why the headwoman carries a basket with her as she and the steward make the trek out to the coastal road at an easy pace. Save for an uneasy look towards one particular weyrbarn as they'd passed it, the conversation on Darsce's part has been light, easy and more towards their personal plans than Weyr matters. They've passed by a few empty places already. But those appear in need of so much work they'd not be ready by summer's end. One belonged to a rider who met a sudden end; it's overshadowed by tragedy and thus Darsce had balked at the idea of stepping from the road towards it. The one they finally enter is… one with a garden.

Xanadu Weyr - Simple Things of Life Garden Weyr

Longer then it is wide, this garden area is rather unique in that way. A dirt path leads inward through the trees, easing past the large dragon wallow towards a two story cottage. In the garden area though there are flower beds galore, filled with not only bright colored blooms that come up nearly all year long but also herbs and vegetable plants as well. It also seems that whomever lived here before must have had an outdoor pet of some type for there's a fenced in yard of sorts complete with tiny house just off to the north of the cottage.

The cottage itself is a master piece with a wrap around porch, a swing on said porch, rocking chairs and windchimes. The screen door and front door open into a living room type area with hardwood floors. The former occupant left a few pieces of furniture here, one being a leather covered loveseat and the other a faded blue easy chair, there's also a long coffee table set between the loveseat and the large fireplace set into the east facing wall. Off to the west of the front door is a small kitchen with breakfast bar and tall stools. A door way in the north wall leads into a small bathroom with toilet, sink, and small shower.

A winding staircase leads upward to the second level where one will find not one bedroom but two. The first one is rather large with its own walk in closet and a mirror hanging on one wall. Windows and skylights allow light to fill the room. Taking up most of one wall, a large wide bed with a heavy wood frame is freshly made up with crisp, cool sheets and an eyelet lace spread. The second bedroom is about three-fourths the size of the other, the walls are painted a cheery yellow and the windows look out over the dragon wallow. The closet here is much smaller and instead of a bed being found here there is a desk and table.

Jethaniel is still using his cane, but he is - under the direction of the healers - attempting to walk with a normal gait. The attempt is both partially successful and significantly slower than his speed of movement prior to his accident. Darsce has, however, adjusted her speed to allow him to both proceed and have sufficient attention to converse with her, though the topics have been light ones. The look toward that weyrbarn did not go unseen, but it did go unremarked, merely a follow of Jethaniel's gaze to the structure before proceeding. As steward, he oversees the maintenance workers and Weyr structures; he has some understanding of the states of these homes. The documentation explains some things, but there are many aspects it does not address. That is why they are here - to see for themselves. "…accept some ongoing repairs, so long as it is livable," Jethaniel is saying as they reach the path. A continuation of his statement regarding the previous one they passed, where a partially collapsed roof has been moldering since the winter storm that brought it down. They could, in theory, continue after the wedding with the same form of cohabitation they have been conducting these past months, but it seems appropriate to have that state transition also accompanied by other changes. As such, Jethaniel has noted blocking issues on a few of these places even from the road, and accepted Darsce's objections to others without protest. A place in which she would not be happy is not suitable. This one, however, appears to have no obvious flaws, and as such, merits a deeper inspection. The garden has gained a certain degree of weeds and unintentional growth, and would require pruning and some replanting, but it nevertheless buzzes with happy insects and fills the air with the rich scent of greenery and the lighter notes of flowers and herbs. Jethaniel regards it with an expression of polite interest, letting his eyes wander the flowerbeds they pass before glancing to Darsce to judge her reaction.

Darsce seems amenable to ongoing repairs. "As long as the bed works," she tells him pertly. Because really, that's pretty much all they've had so far - his, hers… Hali is really looking forward to their wedding. Though her sister is not bunking down in Darsce's office on a pallet, she's most likely getting a little tired of using one of the empty rooms in the living caverns. The garden is eyed dubiously. Those dragon wallows…. "Those could be leveled," she murmurs uncertainly. She doesn't object to flowers, herbs or even vegetables, but she's never grown a thing in her life. "Do you garden?" This is asked with a flick of iceblue eyes to Jethaniel. Because if he doesn't, they'll need to hire one if they choose this place. Her manicured nails wouldn't survive the attempt and her motivation to learn is lacking. At least presently. The cottage itself is regarded with more interest as they approach the locked door.

Jethaniel smiles for Darsce's requirement, and nods. "Indeed so." Sleep is important, as are… certain other things that may be done on a bed. Their bed, as opposed to one whose derivation is from one or the other of them. Halimeda may, at least, also look forward to the fact that, after the wedding, she will be - for some period - the sole occupant of that room. How long? That depends on crowding conditions and order of assignments into empty space, but given who holds responsibility for those assignments… it may be a significant period. Jethaniel looks to the wallows, and nods. "There is topsoil fill available." To be dumped by the dragonload. "Or sand." They could have a private beach, water not included. Jethaniel is open to possibilities, but he shakes his head to Darsce's question. "No." He could learn, but has no particular inclination to do so. It's his brother who's a farmer, not Jethaniel. "It would, I suppose, make for pleasant views," he says of that garden as they reach the porch with its swing and rocking chairs. Quite suitable for watching avians or firelizards. "But," he glances to Darsce, and tilts his head down slightly as he smiles. "I already have one of those." His head tilts further as he reaches for keys to open the door and let them inside.

Sleep? Psh! Sleep is for the weak! Halimeda will, no doubt, enjoy her solitude as payback for her patience and involuntary accommodation of them (aka Darsce kicked her out of her own room). Wallows Darsce has no use for. That…pet(?) wher(?) house…uh, no. Unless Jethaniel wants a dog or something. So her, "Do you like dogs?" Might seem to come out of thin air, but she's thinking shedding, muddy paw prints and drool. A private beach might go unused as she doesn't sunbathe (it ages the skin). Now, if they had a private pool, she'd use that. For skinny dipping. While waiting for him to unlock that door, she casts a critical eye over the overgrown garden, neither of them really having green thumbs, it'd be a waste save for the view, yes. Jethaniel's comment draws her attention back to him, her head tipped up to see his face with a smile that is edged with uncertain pleasure. Is he flirting with her? "I'll see that it remains one you like," she says coyly and then steps into the room to have a look around. "Ooh fireplace. I like that. And a private bath! Sweet!" That beats the bathing caverns by a mile. Her pleasure in seeing that is obvious and she turns to see what Jethaniel thinks of the place.

Sleep can also be for those weak-kneed after putting a bed to other uses. Darsce might find the wallows useful for encouraging the dragonriders in her family to visit, but other than that, their purpose is limited - and perhaps she'd prefer to discourage overly long stays. Jethaniel blinks at the question concerning canines. "I am not averse to them." There is, however, no particular desire to his tone. He has had, at points in the past, amicable social interactions with the dogs possessed by other people, but this does not translate into an urge for one of his own. Stardust is more than sufficient for Jethaniel in terms of actually keeping animals; a semi-independent, generally polite creature who wishes, at intervals, for attention. As for Darsce… his comment certainly did refer to her, yes; there's a fond smile on his lips, and his gaze lingers on her for a moment, then glances to the door as he gets it open, then back to Darsce. "And I shall admire it." He holds the door for her, and even lets his gaze trace down along her back before following her inside and lifting his eyes to look around the room. "It is likely the primary heating," he says of the fireplace as he notes the size and positioning, then glances to the bath. "Though there may be a secondary boiler, unless it is using solar heat." He'd have to check the plans, but the bathroom is on the northern exposure. His expression is a thoughtful one, considering the details of the space as he looks around.

Since the riders in her family all live here and within walking (or staggering) distance, Darsce will have no desire for wallows. Asher? Will likely not set foot in Xanadu save to attend the wedding. She looks relieved that he doesn't particularly seem to want a dog, but to his confusion, she merely points towards the dog house and explains, "I just wondered if you wanted one." Shudder. She directs a smirky smile over her shoulder as his eyes travel down her backside. Well then! "I'll aim to please," she drawls before going back to inspecting the place. Tipping her head back to see the upper level, "Love the large windows and all the airy open." She'll still burrow under her pillow to hide from the sun when it wakes her in the morning, but living encased in windowless stone isn't something she exactly enjoys. She makes no move to mount the staircase, however, instead steps towards the kitchenette and peeks out the window. "Oh." It's a dull, flat word that drops into a puddle of uneasy thought. Her iceblue eyes are locked on that weyrbarn they'd passed to get here. She turns away from the view and rather than move to see anything else, asks, "Where did you say the other places were?"

"Ah," Jethaniel says to the clarification regarding the canine issue. "No." He does not want one. He could accept one, but does not, of his own inclination, particularly want one. He does look in the direction of the miniature house before entering the full scale one, but that - like the wallows - could be removed if they find the other aspects of this house sufficiently appealing. It would make room for more garden space… not that either of them are inclined to gardens, except as a view to be appreciated. Jethaniel does appreciate certain views, though he is not an expert on aesthetics. But, oh yes, the view of Darsce pleases him, and as his eyes lift to meet hers for a moment, they hold an earnest enjoyment he makes no attempt to hide from her. He was looking, yes. She's made it clear he may do so, and so he did. "There may be a view of the lake from the upper level," he comments regarding those windows, beginning to cross the room to inspect the plumbing… because it is an important thing to assess in a potential dwelling. Darsce's 'oh' stops him from that procedure, and he turns toward her, approaching the kitchenette. His eyes flick to the counter, the barstools. It is rather small, but that flaw does not seem likely to account for the change in Darsce's demeanor; nor would the discovery of a pest problem. As such, Jethaniel's gaze settles on Darsce as he nears her, and his hand reaches for hers. "There is one near the aspen grove, and another by the river." It is not necessary for his answer that his fingers curl against hers. "This one is unsuitable?"

Darsce is not unpleased in the slightest to have Jethaniel looking at her and appreciating the view. For the lake, she perks with interest; being aboard her uncles and cousins Vega Run has fostered the pleasure of vast spaces and the distant horizon. Besides, she could see the ships - particularly theirs - coming were she to be looking out for it. By the time Jethaniel's hand finds hers, she isn't looking out of that window any longer. Her slim fingers curl 'round his readily, however. "This place is nice," she says with a diffidence to her tone and then her other hand points out the window and her eyes follow it. "But I think I'd rather live somewhere I don't have to pass my- D'had's place to get home." Her eyes are apologetic when they lift to his. "I'm sorry, it's…not a bad cottage." As cottages go. But. "Could we look at the one in the aspens?"

There is no censure to Jethaniel's question. He is merely attempting to construct a list of Darsce's desiderata, because her enjoyment is a requirement on his list. So his eyes are gentle as they look to her, his brows lifted with inquisition. He follows the gesture of her hand out the window, observing what is visible there. The weyrbarn is far less recognizable for him than it is for her, though - once she states her objection - he recognizes it. "Ah," he says, eyes focusing briefly on the particular flaw she has discovered - not with this cottage, but with its placement relative to other points - then nods as he returns his gaze to her. "Of course." He lifts her hand, brushes lips to the back of it. "We can take the path past the woodcraft shop." It is longer, but will avoid passing by a certain weyrbarn along the way.

That gentleness is one of the things Darsce loves about the man the most and her apology is more for making him have to traipse all over the Weyr in order to find something suitable. She does not look back out the window towards her father's place but manages a smile up at him. "Thank you," she says, her smile growing at the touch of his lips to her hand. She's trying not to think about that weyrbarn and the sadness residing there and it shows on her face, but she isn't in the mood to dampen this venture. And so she turns to where she'd set that basket down, her steps moderated to Jethaniel's. She'll lace her fingers with his and take the path he's suggested, the walk to the next place still pleasant for the day is lovely and she couldn't ask for better company. The path takes them past the woodshop, through the meadow and into the woods. It's… quite a hike. Oh and there's… the sound of cattle lowing nearby, how interesting! Interesting is a dubious word.


Xanadu Weyr – Forest

This broad path that leads from the main clearing into the forest has been designed in such a manner so as to be not only wide enough for wagons to travel through, but also providing ample space for dragons. The path appears only worn in the center though, as most of the traffic moving through this area is that of the two-legged kind. Flowers sprout up and speckle the lush grass with bright saffron and cheeky rose, creeping all the way up to the bases of the trees that 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.

The path winds its way leisurely through the trees, deeper into the forest and a number of less traveled paths branch away from it. Southwest leads to the forest's edge near the base of the tumbled rocks that mark the wilder areas of the forest and the mountains that rise behind Xanadu. West leads to the Firelizard Theater, northeastward the path leads to the feeding grounds and beyond that the gravel road that bisects the paddocks leading to the bovine complex. East leads to the meadow where it joins both the road that crosses the bridge over the river leading to the clearing and the the coastal road that leads out of Xanadu bypassing the beach and the Caspian Lake. Here there are secluded spots where one might picnic.

The exercise is - according to his healer - good for Jethaniel's recovery. The company is simply good, and the slowness of the walk means more time spent together - which is not to say that they could not find other means to occupy it. It is, however, advantageous to compare and contrast the possibilities. Jethaniel would like to find the optimal solution, not merely a sufficient one. If none of the options are satisfactory, new ones will be found. Jethaniel keeps his fingers twined with Darsce's as they walk along. "Have you considered whether you wish a seated dinner at the wedding?" As opposed to hors d'oeuvres and mingling. It is both a matter of curiosity - there are logistics to be achieved either way - and an attempt to distract her from that sorrow. It is, after all, a pleasant day and good company, and the walk is… a rather long one. Jethaniel's limp is becoming more pronouncd by the end of it, though he still attempts to walk with the proper motions. Hopefully there will be a place for him to sit and rest, though he does not comment on this fact. He does, however, tilt his head at the sound of cattle. "Ah." The proximity was not apparent on the map. It is, however, sensical, and he nods to himself.

As the path winds into the treeline, Darsce edges closer to Jethaniel. It's not that she's… afraid, exactly, but she's avoiding the tall grass and underbrush on each side of the path. Because… critters. What WAS she thinking having the wedding in that forest glade?! She'll forget about the creepy crawlies that night though. "Mingling would be easier to talk to everyone, but I think for the guests it would be easier if they could have somewhere to sit down," she muses before quirking a curious look up at him. "Do you have a preference?" Ahead there's a fence and a road turning between it. "Do you need a rest?" she asks, focusing on Jethaniel rather than what might hop, crawl - or fall onto her from the vegetation. Because otherwise, she'd never have gotten this far.

Is it the wind rustling those branches, or something crawling through them? Fortunately, the beetle crossing the path completes the journey rather than lingering to encounter Darsce. Darsce is also likely to appreciate this fact. Jethaniel is willing to cede the center of the path to her, walking close beside her and letting himself be the one who occasionally brushes against grass or stray branches. He nods to her assessment of the merits of each dining option. "I am amenable to either," he begins, to establish the context in which he is having this discussion. "I… should not require a seat." Not by that time, at least not according to healer projections. Jethaniel is achieving those expectations, his occasional excessive ambition (and the consequences thereof) aside. "Will the social dynamics of unregulated intermingling be acceptable?" He lowers his head slightly at the question regarding his status, but he does consider it. "Not yet," he says, followed by the admission, "But soon."

Darsce's trying not to thiiiink about it! So when - it's inevitable that something is eventually going to land on her and she's not going to be prepared for it because she's done SO well putting the possibility from her mind that creepy-crawlies no longer exist in her little world - it will be traumatic! She's aware - and appreciative - that Jethaniel is allowing her to take the middle of the path. He's so good to her! To his assurance that he'll be standing of his own two feet for the allotted time, she is pleased. "As long as you aren't hurting," she says with genuine concern, "we'll be able to visit each table." Unregulated mingling nearly sends Darsce into a splutter of laughter - not for Jethaniel's wordage but because, "Asher and Jessa should not be allowed to encounter one another unsupervised." D'had? Would likely approve of Jessa's… restrictive outlook. She eyes him with concern that he is fine. Not overdoing? Well then. She won't make a fuss. They should come to that aspen grove soon?

Intentionality may change certain aspects of the world. When combined with action, it may result in vaster changes. However, Darsce's intent to avoid the concept of certain organisms is unlikely to have much appreciable effect on their frequency. They lack the capability to be aware of her avoidance, and thus will take no action to either respect or confound it. While Jethaniel cedes the path to Darsce, his attention is on her rather than attempting to conduct interference on the prospect of insects; he is unlikely to notice them in time to prevent that trauma. "We will," he agrees. It is certainly his goal to be capable of that… and also to not be in pain. Darsce's laughter brings an arch of his brow - curiosity - followed by a wry smile and duck of his head. "In that case… a sit-down meal seems advisable." One with very careful seating arrangements, in order to prevent problematic social dynamics from emerging. Jethaniel still does not have a personal assessment of the social dynamics involved with Darsce's parents, but he does not comment on that fact. Darsce has been informed of his opinions in that regard; she will, given that, arrange matters (and potential parental disapproval) as she sees fit. They're nearly to the grove - once there, they'll find the path more traveled for a time, before it turns off into the somewhat less maintained one that leads to the cottage itself. Jethaniel's steps, due to the consideration he gives them as a result of the question, become somewhat more measured and even and only slightly slower.

If certain people remain seated the potential problems might be avoided. There are several wild cards, one in the form of D'had who might be prone to wander (stagger, stumble, whatever) and another Asher, who usually resists any form of… management. There may be others that Darsce is unaware of, but she's not going to overthink this; she nods. Seated works for her. And with her mind thinking along that track, she says, "I… should have you meet my parents. We'll make the time." She says it in a 'might as well get it over with' tone. She's sort of dreading this. And she should be giving him the center of the path - it's easier walking there - but she's not thinking. So when they reach the cottage, she's looking both relieved and flicking wary looks back the way they came while waiting for him to unlock the door to this one.

Xanadu Weyr - Guest Weyr

This is one of the nicer guest weyrs, closer to the edge of the meadow and reserved for visiting ranking folk for that reason. Its a spacious stone cottage near the clearing tucked back under the edge of trees that bloom in springtime with a sweet fragrance to drift into the large windows that flood the rooms with light.

The rustic elegance of cathedral ceilings and pole beams and polished wooden floors lend warmth to the stone walls of the main room. A set of russet leather couches are arranged opposite a stone fireplace, while against the other wall sits a comfy bed and dresser with a coverlet in hues of russet, gold and teal. There is a small kitchenette with table and chairs and a private bath as well.

Planned seating arrangements will not be able to entirely prevent the chance of social explosions, simply reduce the probability thereof. It is nevertheless something Jethaniel considers a worthwhile attempt. He would prefer, on that occasion, to not be distracted from Darsce. To her conclusion regarding her parents, he nods. "When you find suitable." If that means presenting him as a fait accompli during the wedding? There is no seating arrangement sufficient to deflect the drama from such a decision, but Jethaniel will nevertheless leave that choice to Darsce. For the moment, they will continue data-gathering for a different decision. "The need for plant-tending appears a common theme," is Jethaniel's observation concerning Darsce's look back along the way they arrived. The overhanging branches could be trimmed - not that he'd have had to duck as many if he hadn't been walking toward the edge of the path, but there is still some amount of pruning that would be advantageous. He produces the key and unlocks that door, pushing it open and holding it for Darsce before following her inside. His eyes lift, and he observes, "I like the ceiling."

A fait accompli during the wedding would be awkward in the extreme. As such, no. Darsce won't do that, if it means she has to waylay D'had on his way into the wandering Wherry some evening and introduce Jethaniel to her father. This will be the lesser of two awkwards. "Your next restday?" she suggests. "Will you be able to fly by then? We can find Asher earlier and come back in time to see D'had before he's- yeah." Before he's surly and won't remember he's even met the steward. The trees are given another look. "I like shade," she says with another dubious look deeper in towards the looming forest. Maaaaybe not that much though. She steps inside, with a smile up at him as she passes, and before she looks around. "Hm, I do too," she says of the ceiling. She drifts towards the bathing room to peek idly at that. "It would be nice not to have to use the hot springs," she says wistfully.

Jethaniel nods an assent to the proposed application of his restday toward a resolution. "If I am careful," he says of his ability to fly. The healer has stated that betweening will not worsen the injury, and Jethaniel should - given his demonstrated range of motion - be capable of successfully being assisted on and off the dragon. That he be assisted has been stated by the healer as a requirement for the action. He gives her hand a gentle squeeze for that yeah - he can make assumptions as to what is not being stated aloud - and nods. "We can." And the rest of that evening… may be occupied as they see fit. He smiles to Darsce, glancing back to the forest - he is personally unconcerned by it, but has noted Darsce's lack of affinity - before returning his gaze to her and the cottage he now enters. "The stone may be drafty," he notes in a considering tone, then looks to Darsce and nods for her comment regarding the bathing facilities. This is, evidently, an important feature for Darsce. As such, it is becoming an increasingly strong requirement. "It would," he agrees, glancing in there and then looking to the kitchenette. In this case, there is no problematic view. However… "There is less natural light." Due to both features of the construction and the increased shade.

Darsce's fingers squeeze back and a wavering smile answers the kindness. It's so wonderful being understood! "Alright then. I'll send Asher a note that she's having visitors." The…rest of the evening? She'll want to get her mind off D'had, most likely. Has he got any creative ideas for that? She does indeed wish for a private bath. Odd perhaps coming from her, but not only is she not weyrbred, she's done enough modeling and having been eyed that way while doing so has left her wishing to just relax and… bathe. Without rushing to avoid the crowds in the hot springs. Weyrfolk can boast all they like about being used to nudity, but the simple fact is, they're not immune, they're just much more frank about…looking. She turns to eye the stone walls then the rest of the main room. "I like larger windows…" A glance to him and a smile, "And filtered light." The kitchenette, barely get a glance. In fact, she edges away from it. "It's… quite a ways from the main Weyr," she says at length with an uneasiness in both vocal timbre and expression. She's a long, LONG way from Ierne's bright lights. Walking that forest path daily to go to and fro? Ahhhh, could she even attempt it at night?

The juxtaposition of distracting Darsce and a private bath… is likely merely incidental. Jethaniel has, however, no objections to the prioritization of such in their search for accommodations. He nods to Darsce's plans, and takes his own look around the place, examining the details of architecture where they're visible in ceiling and walls more than the particular fixtures currently in place. He is aware of what can and cannot be easily altered to match their preferences. The windows are one such feature; the location is another. He nods to Darsce's comment on the first. The second… "It is." He frowns slightly. "I should be more capable of walking by then," he says, his tone a considering one. He steps toward Darsce, standing beside her and putting his arm lightly around her waist. "But it might be challenging in winter." Or at night, though Jethaniel is not afraid of the dark. The nightly illumination of his artificial stars is primarily for aesthetic purposes. He looks out around the cottage again, then turns his head to look at Darsce and smile. "Do you wish to continue?"

Oh yes, yes it was. Though Darsce, had she thought of it would enthusiastically endorse such a distraction. The distance away from the center of the Weyr is daunting to her. She's not afraid of the dark, per se. But of walking through a dark forest? Oh yes! While Jethaniel looks at the place, she wanders idly about, peering out of this window and that, trailing her forefinger over the stone walls. "Stone is… unyielding," she muses pensively. She's speaking metaphorically for her next words explain, "I feel so trapped in my room sometimes. Your stars… they help." His arm encircles her waist and she looks up to see him there. Her smile is a natural response to his. "Yeah, if you don't mind?" At least…she has food for their travels?

Darsce's statement concerning the stone is literally true as well, at least to a certain extent. The relative unyieldingness of various stones may be measured on the Mohs scale, though the softer ones are unlikely to be used for construction in any substantive way. The concern is, however, primarily a metaphorical one, and he nods to her explanation regarding her room before smiling slightly at the mention of his stars. "They may be relocated." Will be, in fact; they are not a permanent fixture of the quarters, and will not be left to the next occupant. He has moved them before, when he transferred postings. The precise location to which they will be moved this time depends on, among other things, the results of this expedition. "We may also seek open spaces." Thread is long gone from Pern, and the safety of the caves no longer a necessity. They can have airy windows and as much greenery as they like - which does not mean they are required to. The forest is an option, not a requirement. Jethaniel smiles to Darsce's desire to keep moving, and lowers his head to brush his lips gently to hers. "I do not mind." The pursuit of knowledge is his goal today - that, and spending time with Darsce. He is making substantive progress toward both these goals… as well as exercising his leg. Resting his leg? Not as much, but the change in usage from hike to inspection has distracted him from that fact.

Darsce has some of those unyielding stones in her family, not that she's consciously thinking of them this bright, sunny day. Of his stars, the smile she's directing up at him grows warmer and her lips are still curved when he brushes them with his. Her free arm slips around him while she returns his kiss, her smile sweeter for it and as he raises his head and says he doesn't mind, she murmurs, "You're too good to me, you know. I'm sure I don't deserve this." It's said lightly as a joke though there's a faint undercurrent of meaning it and her arm twitches a touch firmer about him as if she'd fear he might slip away even though she knows he won’t. It's not a conscious move. "Is there…anything empty in the meadow? We might find something closer there." His poor ankle! She will offer to baby him later when she realizes how much unaccustomed walking he's done.

"I have no such certainty," Jethaniel says to the claim of excessive benevolence. There's a smile on his lips, and his gaze remains on Darsce. "But then, I am not using an unbiased merit-based system, so it is not particularly relevant." Whether she is deserving or not, Jethaniel lowers his head once again in order to apply another kiss to Darsce's lips. His arm remains around her, as hers does around him, and Jethaniel is in no hurry to alter either of these facts. He nods to her question regarding dwellings in the meadow. "I believe so, yes. Those in nearest proximity to the main Weyr tend not to stand vacant, but there are others that may be suitable." His heuristic for suitability is improving. His ankle is, in an ongoing sense, also improving, though at the end of today… he may accept some portions of Darsce's offer.

Darsce listens with a smile of bemusement on her mouth - this is not the standard with which she is accustomed to being measured by. And unmerited favor is still foreign to her. So Jethaniel is awarded wide-eyed wonder as he lowers his mouth to hers once more. She returns his kiss with ardor. She can't understand how this works. But she likes it. She… is drawn to this. She wants to understand. Perhaps someday she will? It's humbling. It makes her stomach warm and does funny things to her heart. She doesn't want to alter their positions either, but they're on a mission and so, she breathes, "I love you." Stars? They're in her eyes. She'll turn within the circle of his arm and meander for the door to go see those meadow cottages. Suitable? Is looking more and more like…just being with him.

A brief summation of Jethaniel's position regarding Darsce and the results of his assessment may be expressed as his reply to her. "And, I love you." The near-symmetric nature of their words is expressive of the way that - by both acting in accordance with their own emotions - they construct a self-reinforcing system that perpetuates those merit-independent behaviors. Jethaniel does not need to comprehend it fully; his knowledge is sufficient to proceed, and he can conduct further investigations as he has the opportunity to do so. Today, however, the investigations which they have opportunity to conduct involve cottages, and so he goes with Darsce from this one to walk back along the forest path and out to the meadow. They'll look at other options there, and if the set thereof is exhausted before they find one they're satisfied with… "I do not mind remaining in the caverns for a time." Even after they're married. It would be sensical for the occasion to also be that of their move to a home that is theirs, but the most important feature of suitability, "So long as I am with you." Whether it's with exhausted possibilities or - after all this walking - an exhausted self.


Xanadu Weyr – Meadow

A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.

Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a stone wall and low rolling hills can be seen to the north. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests to the southwest or ore from the mountains to the southeast are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

Darsce will certainly agree with Jethaniel that further investigations are something to be done. To her they're an intriguingly pleasant prospect. To the caverns she'll nod - being with him is better than being without - but clearly she's hoping they find something today. And so since the meadow is on the way back anyway, they'll look there. She'll enjoy the walk back better once they've emerged from the forest, for the day is beautiful, the spring sunshine is warm and she couldn't ask for better company. The path taken leads up a gentle incline edging the face of the rocky upthrust that forms the meadow ridge. By now it's in shade and the view as they ascend is pleasant. In between comments and taking in the view, she sends curious looks ahead because she hasn't spotted any more cottages for awhile. When they turn off into the passage into stone, she's a touch confused. "Oh. Uh." Blink. "Interesting." She's neutral.

The view while they ascend is pleasant, but Jethaniel occasionally pauses for a moment as his ankle expresses its own opinion of the slope. He will, however, defer any concern and state his ability to continue… but it is fortunate they are on the way back. There will be no further detours of any significance for Jethaniel today. Not after this amount of walking. He is, however, determined to finish what he's started, and so they proceed the rest of the way up the ridge to… a tunnel. He pauses once again, though this time it is (primarily) to consider. "It may be excessively stone." And thus not superior to the caverns. "We are, however, here." As such, they might as well take a look.

Darsce still has that basket with her, and being concerned about Jethaniel's ankle isn't adverse to those pauses. She asks once if he's sure he wants to continue up that incline, but doesn't fuss other that that - she'd asked back in the forest if he'd wanted to rest, after all. Though she'll hide her concern in appreciating the view and the cooling breeze this elevation gets. Her stride will be adjusted to his, her steps swaying, graceful and easy alongside his. Once down the tunnel, she flicks a look at Jethaniel for that comment, and her laugh echoes in the cavernous wallow, "You think?" They are here, after all and now she's curious. So she moves to the carved wooden door that leads inside and waits for him to unlock this one.

Xanadu Weyr - Guest Weyr Living Quarters

The vault-like rooms are separated from the dragon space with a heavy, richly-cared wooden door, easily swung on well-oiled iron hinges. Inside, the walls here are smoothed, squared and painted in a neutral sand hue, obviously excavated by mastercraft stonemasons long ago. The domed ceiling, inlaid with the same russet wood that the door is cut from, adds a contrast, depth and elegance and is enhanced by the recessed lighting that causes the wood to glow warmly. These rooms are supplied electricity, the wiring cleverly hidden beneath the woodwork that embellishes the doorways.

The first room, large enough to meet with all of Xanadu's wingleaders is obviously intended as a large sitting room. It contains several fine couches upholstered with tapestry of earthen tones with bronze and gold woven through the fabric. They are arranged around the perimeters and flanked by multiple sandalwood end and klah tables the color of bleached driftwood. Exquisite hand blown glass lamps in coppered tones add a soft ambience to the room and augment the overhead lighting. Polished volcanic tiles from the Igen deserts gleam with an ebony sheen - each laid carefully by the hand of a mastercraftsman throughout the rooms of this weyr. Scattered here and there are thick, soft, handmade tufted floor rugs in earthy tones, handmade by desert dwellers.

The second room is a small, but fully functional kitchenette with wooden cabinets of the same pale-hued sandalwood used in the living room, as is the small matching bistro seating four, all imported from the wood shops of Lemos. A complete porcelain dish set fills one of the cupboards, while another contains a well-stocked liquor cabinet. An up-to-date heating unit serves for cooking and a cooling unit, complete with wine rack filled with chilled fine wines, keeps fresh foodstuffs from spoilage.

The sleeping chamber is sumptuous by Pern standards. It boasts a private bath mortared with the same polished obsidian tiles used on the floors, the sunken pool fed by a natural spring, thermally heated by subterranean volcanic activity. Heavy sandalwood dressers, armoire and end tables, though simply-fashioned, are at least all cedar-lined, the aromatic scent filling this room with a spicy tang. The headboard of the wide bed matches the rest of the furniture, the thick down-filled mattress and comforters provided keep the chill of stone at bay. Recessed lighting is directed up towards the domed ceiling around the perimeter of this chamber and the bath, suffusing the entire area in a soft glow.

What would they possibly do with that wallow? A giant subterranean rock garden? At least there's a path past it which doesn't require Jethaniel to walk through the sand directly. He's approaching the limits of what he can do with his ankle, but not yet at them. After some of his prior excursions, he has a fairly well calibrated sense of where they are, and believes he will be able to conclude this day successfully. He smiles for that laugh. "I do," he replies, but there's also a trace of furrowing to his brow, a thoughtful expression as they come to the wooden door and he brings out the key to open it. Inside are arched heights and sweeping interior vistas, and Jethaniel looks within before lowering his eyes to the nearest of the colorful rugs. "Ah." The partial thought he had in crossing that wallow has been completed, and he is aware of the context.

They could… remove the sand, level the floor, seal the entrance with a wall and put a door there, thus making yet another livable room of this - wow big, Darsce sees upon entering - place? But that would be a waste. Still, she's curious and though she oversees the housekeepers that freshen the guest weyrs, she's never been in this particular one. She feels for the plate that surely must be beside the door, fingertips brushing the switch to control the lights, which brighten slowly. It appears to have been unused for some time even though it is spotlessly clean. While Jethaniel's eyes drop to the rugs, hers lift to the vaulted ceilings as she steps further in. "Huh. This is… large," she says and while the spaciousness is nice, she doesn't seem to find it particularly pleasing. Her steps take her to peek into the kitchen and her low whistle precedes her, "Fancy!" But she doesn't go inside. Instead she turns towards Jethaniel. Ah? He's…looking at the rugs? At the floors? "They're… shiny," she offers. Again with the neutral.

Jethaniel is regarding the rugs - or possibly the floor - with a slight frown. This is not a statement concerning their quality. "Yes," he agrees to Darsce's statement concerning the size, and slowly follows her inside. Fancy? Also true, and he nods without looking to determine the precise reason for her comment. He is aware, now that he knows which weyr they are in, of the relative formality of the decor. "The overall quality is high." The excessive space of the wallow (to say nothing of the rest of the weyr) aside - and Jethaniel is presenting facts as an alternative to expressing his personal reaction. Though, he's not touching anything except the floor with his feet. It is, in fact, shiny. "Yes. They are." As is the entire weyr.

Darsce quirks Jethaniel a mildly questioning look. He's been fairly neutral the whole day but now he seems… hm. She can't put her finger on it. She moves into what must be sleeping quarters. Ah yes! There she brushes another switch, bringing up the lights and gasps at the opulence. She's motionless for a moment but follows that up with, "Whoa!" She's impressed! She steps to poke her head into the bathing room, "Wow, nice sunken tub," she says and while she's definitely seems to approve of that, it's overshadowed by unease. Though she does say to him, "Have you seen this?" Hah! Probably not! And though she doesn't go in to examine it more closely, she does enter the chamber to prod at the mattress of that huge bed, feeling the thickness of the feather mattress with the same detached approval. "How is it that this one is empty?" Like… she can't quite imagine who would give up something so…elite.

Jethaniel wishes to find a place in which Darsce is happy. He cannot deny that this one is luxurious and well-appointed, nor that it has quality construction. His own personal reaction is something that has been minimal throughout the day; he continues that tendency now by intentional minimization of a reaction which he is having difficulty disentangling from that he has to the person who previously claimed these quarters. He is quiet as he follows Darsce to the entrance of the sleeping chamber, putting his arms behind him as he surveys the space. "I had not." He did not enter any further than the outer sitting chamber. "The prior occupant left Xanadu. No suitable requests have been made since then."

That careful control is something Darsce is picking up on. Because she knows Jethaniel well enough to recognize the signs. She isn't sure why though, and to her it doesn't read like simple fatigue or pain. Hm. Suitable requests. Yah! She can imagine it would require someone with marks enough to obtain it. With the palm of her hand still on the mattress, Darsce turns to tilt Jethaniel a questioning look, asking casually, "Oh, who?"
If Jethaniel had, prior to his arrival here, recognized the provenance of this particular weyr, he might have left it off the list. He did not; while he saw the notes regarding requirements for assignment, there are other weyrs of approximately the same quality, and between them, steward and headwoman can meet most qualifications. It seemed a reasonable place to visit. It is adorned to a somewhat unreasonable degree, but Jethaniel's tension is not for the luxury of the surroundings. It is because he is, in a subconscious and involuntary manner, on guard, waiting for the seemingly-plausible demand or the allegedly-accidental motion that comes with the arrival around the corner of, "A'dmar."

Darsce gaks. That's the only descriptor for the sound that comes from her throat as her hand is yanked back from the mattress like it's been burned. Her interest here has been clinical because, encased in stone. It now turns to distaste. She backs away from that huge bed and walks towards Jethaniel briskly. "Here," she says as she passes him and all but dumps that basket into his watch care. Hopefully he manages to grab it before it falls because Darsce makes for the bathroom. Gross! Gross! Gross! Ew, she touched… Augh! There's no soap or towels but that's not stopping her from turning on the water and scrubbing her hands vigorously anyway. She draws a few deep breaths while washing, then turns off the faucet, flicks her hands to rid them of droplets. "I think I've seen enough here," she manages once she's able to say it in a not-screamy ICK-voice. "You?" If he's agreeable, she'll stroll casually towards the outer room instead of running but gah! She wants out!

The descriptor of Darsce's reaction, as presented in Jethaniel's behavior, is a wince. He manages to get his hands out from behind his back in time to catch that basket, though it's rather lopsided. He does not look down at it, instead watching Darsce's progress to the bathroom and pursuit of cleansing actions. "I am sorry," he says quietly as she scrubs. "I… did not recall." Not until he arrived here and saw the decor. Which rug was it he stood on? He's not sure. They may have been rearranged since then. His eyes look to hers, apologetic, as she comes back out of the washroom, and he nods. "Yes." He has seen enough. He will follow her out, still holding the basket.

Contiues in: A Place to Begin

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