Istan Boozetrap vs Cupcake Diplomacy

Ista Weyr - Southern Bowl

Compared to that of other weyrs, Ista's bowl is small, and incomplete - northwards, one wall was blown clear away several millennia ago, leaving the view clear towards the plateau, the jungles, and the ocean beyond that. Somewhat elliptical, the breadth of the bowl seems to run northwest to southeast, the bustling epicenter of the weyr being here, towards the southwest. Several large entrances have been dug into the great bowl walls - northeast are the hatching grounds and south the living caverns, these being the two largest caverns in the weyr.

To the east, a small entrance leads in to the ground weyrs - the ledges of these line the bowl wall above, often filled with dragons of gold or bronze; westward is another ledge, but with a staircase built into the wall, allowing access to the Sable Sands. The infirmary is located towards the southwest.

It's head to Ista time! Z’ion is actually overdue for a delivery of his latest special brew: the Saucy Wench as he likes to call it. (And so says the label he's been putting on the bottles.) He's actually got a case of it, twelve special bottles in total. All at a 'special price' for his friends at Ista! Of course when you're distilling your own booze you can slap whatever price you can manage onto it. Suldith glides down into the Istan bowl and Zi'on hops down. For now the bronze can carry the case of booze until he figures out where he's going. He does strip out of his flight leathers though. Much too warm for that sort of thing. And then he ponders if he remembers where the offices are at Ista. It's reaching back into knowledge he probably hasn't ever needed to use! Surely someone is around to ask, though!

It's not long after Suldith lands that the gust of cold associated with a low altitude *between* exit blasts down like a touch of winter in the middle of the Istan bowl. Where once there was just open tropical sky, now there's a pair of dragons, bronze and gold. Romth's perfectly shaded hide is no stranger to those sunny airs, and he BUGLES with as much enthusiasm as ever…it's really hard to ignore Romth. Especially because he's still, even no longer a Weyrling, blasting out that shadow-dark pressurewave that announces his mind-presence to an area. And he comes in escort, not a proverbial hair's distance from the storm-morning gold that is Xanadu's Senior queen. Not that they're aloft all THAT long. They land, Romth a protective distance from his mate, and Xe'ter can be seen atop his lifemate already removing his heavy flight jacket and leaving it on the riding strap's hanging loops. And then he's on the ground and trotting around to offer Thea a hand down from her gold's shoulders…as if she needed the help or something. Old habits die hard?

X’hil is acting a little oddly today, well, odd in general, possibly not out of the ordinary for the man personally. He's leading a near-teen boy about the bowl, stopping every now and then, and glancing furtively about. Whatever he's watching for doesn't seem to happen, as on the pair go. The process is repeated a couple of times. The BUGLE from the Xanadu bronze has the man wincing, though he attempts to herd the boy towards the bronze, though he stops a few moments later. "Ah… right. They transferred…" he murmurs, glancing sideways to the boy. "Oh, run along." the man concedes defeat. The boy wastes no time in departing, making for the kitchens. The Xanadu pair get a respectful nod, and an "Ista's greetings.", but the familiar - if probably faint - sound of bottles has the man's attention wandering to Zi'on and Suldith. Not many bringing booze /into/ Ista these days…

Watch out Xe'ter! You haven't seen Thea's cat-woman swing-round dismount, have you? It's with a secretive smile the Xanadu Weyrwoman grabs a-hold of her flight strap, kicks a leg over Seryth's far side and slide-swings round the queen's neck with a creak of leather to drop beside the Weyrleader with a crunch of gravel and a snicker. She's already taken her helmet and goggles off, tucked them in the harness atop Seryth. The gold has a longsuffering sort of look as if she could roll her eyes, she would, but now she can lower the neck she'd held obligingly high for her Rider and does so with a sigh. X'hil, the Xanadu Weyrwoman knows, his odd ways long-remembered. "Hi X'hil. Long time no see." So much for formality. Zi'on though, she's a little more circumspect since, well, they've only met once or twice. He gets a nod and they both get a salute.

Cenlia is totally around! For once. The Istan weyrwoman is.. creeping out of the hatching grounds. Literally. And casting wary glances over her shoulders every few seconds, hunching down as she slides along the bowl wall toward the living caverns, eyes darting sidelong looks left and right. Oh yeah, this is one stealthy weyrwoman. Nziekilth is, thankfully, fast asleep on the sands, which is probably why the goldrider has been able to escape at all. Clad in extremely plain clothes, one might not even recognize her for what she is, the shorts and sleeveless blouse both in a rather drab shade of beige, the girl going barefoot with those scars running along her left leg all the more obvious. As is her knot - and it is actually /hers/ today, not the weyrleader's. She's just ninjaing her way along when Suldith and Zi'on make their appearance, and those eyes light up like it's her turnday. Forget the sneaky. "Hey!" straightening, a huge grin appears on her face, and she makes a trundlebug line boozewards, "Ain't seen ya in a while! How've ya been?" The whoosh of cold air from above gives her pause, though, but the grin only grows, Cen already raising a hand to call a cheerful, "Thea!" though presumably the waving is encompassing Xe'ter and the dragons too. She;s too busy boggling at Thea's dismount there to notice X'hil and kid, until the man gives that formal greeting to the visitors, and Cen's manners kick into gear, "Oh! Right, Ista's greetings and all that!" Smooth Cen.

A wild X'hil is spotted! Zi'on is actually heading by way of the bronzer. He recognizes the knot at least. Or he seems to know where he's going at the very least. There's a wave to the approaching gold and bronze. He doesn't really recognize either of them, and isn't sure if they're Istan or not. It's actually Suldith who notices Cenlia waving them down, and the bronze gives the weyrwoman a warble. "Hey can you tell me how to get to the w—," Zi'on is interrupted from his X'hil asking to turn towards the approaching Cenlia. "Hey! I brought you something!" Zi'on doesn't bother with the formalities really either. But some might take offense. "Er, Western's duties." Suldith returns the bugle to the approaching bronze. Sure he doesn't live here, but that doesn't mean he can't be on the welcoming committee! Zi'on has to chase down the bronze as he heads over to inspect the incoming riders.

Romth lifts his large head and warbles back to Suldith, but his rider's too distracted in the effort of NOT getting kicked in the face by his Weyrwoman. He backs off, and then turns at the sound of more familiar voices, snapping off crisp, by the book salutes. His voice is quiet, but firm, "Senior Weyrwoman Cenlia, S'gam, X'hil…Xanadu's duties to Ista and her queens and the eggs on the sands." And you know what? He knows better…but he just did that because he COULD. Just the once…the slight ripple of a smirking smile plays on his youthful face like the glipse of a diving tunnelsnake on the water's edge. And either the young man's overdressed…or he took fashion lessons from B'ky before he left Ista and went out into the wide, wide world.

X'hil clears his throat reflexively at Thea's informal greeting, but, awkward as it seems to make him feel, he responds in kind. "Ah, it's been a while, yeah. A'li's been visiting here lately." Instead of X'hil visiting his half-brother in Xanadu. "…uh. Craft, y'see. Busy work." he waves at the knot on his shoulder. Not at all related to flights. Nope. A wistful glance is sent towards the living caverns. Could he flee too? No… No, he's been noticed now. "Uh," Doubly noticed, it would seem. But before he has a chance to answer Zi'on, the question is cut off. X'hil peers after the man, then grins. "Hey, Cen!" he calls, eyes shifting back to Zi'on a moment later, then wandering again. They land on Thea, the familiar face, and he seizes on something, /anything/, to attempt to make conversation. "Oh, did you get a look at my boy Gray?" Possibly not, but the man doesn't even pause for an answer. "Almost thirteen he is, can you believe it? Hilda too. Obviously." Seems like just last week he was laid up in the infirmary, with a pair of toddlers on his cot.

Thea's just dropped her arm when Cenlia calls and for a moment she looks like she's going to sprint across the space to greet her friend, indeed the gravel crunches beneath her boot soles as her feet flex. But then Xe'ter rattles off his formal greeting and there's a friendly bronze dragon coming their way. Slipping a side-long look at the young, squeaky-new Weyrleader she adopts a more formal stance. Best not break him just yet, so she waits like a lady for the Istan Weyrwoman to join them. She does look a little confused at X'hil's awkwardness, smiling politely at his comments and trying not to look a little lost herself while murmuring, "How wonderful." Suldith is there and Seryth doesn't seem to mind at all, shifting to give him room if he wants to get closer to the Xanadu pair of riders with a gentle trill of greeting. Thea offers a gloved hand to the bronze in greeting, her smile a tinge baffled at his interest, "Hello there."

Darn those wild, wily bronzers. Cenlia is totally sidling over towards X'hil and Zi'on, grinning hugely at the both of them, "Ya got perfect timing. Shards, ya dunno how bad I need a drink. Thought I was /never/ gonna get outta there," jerking a thumb back toward the hatching grounds, and dragging her opposite hand down her face, "Uggh, should just hire somebody to bring booze every hour." And is that a sidelong look she gives X'hil? It /might/ be. All this bugling probably has the poor watchdragon echoing with his own slightly sheepish welcome, though Cen makes a face and wiggles a pinkie in her ear. Xe'ter's greeting has one eyebrow quirking up dubiously, and then Cenlie blinks, ..and POINTS. "I know you!" Cue dramatic STARE. Before the goldrider promptly.. starts cracking up. "Sh- shards, ya poor sap," oh, she's totally noticed the over-dressedness too, eyeing the Xanadu weyrleader up and down, and then giving Thea a crooked grin, "Ya shown him the crossbow yet?" Breaking bronzers, it's a hobby?

Suldith heads over to give friendly nose-bumps to the Xanaduian dragons and starts up some draconic small talk. Their riders are carefully sniffed at for contaminants. Or just for fun. Thea's hand is given a very gentle nose-bump and she gets a trill from Suldith. Zi'on pulls down the crate of bottles from the bronze's transport straps and hefts it up onto one shoulder as he heads back to where the riders are congregating. "Who is Gary?" Zi'on asks X'hil, even if he doesn't really know who -he- is. Zi'on sets the crate down at Cenlia's feet and uses a pocket knife to lift the cover off. There's rum inside! "Here we go. Just have one of the candidates be assigned to bring you a drink every hour." The bottles are even chilled! From between, of course. There's a bit of a peer at the knots of the approaching riders. "Shards, I'm not interrupting some super-secret weyrleader conclave or something, am I?" Maybe not, but he is being rude by not introducing himself.

X'hil tips his head at Zi'on, "Gray. Short for Grahil, my son. Ah… I'm X'hil." he explains. Presumably the boy gets the 'Gra' from his mother. The Istan bronzerider seems about to say something else, and then the word 'crossbow' is mentioned. "Uh." He leans to one side, then the other, peering around the Xanadu leaders, as if checking for passengers. Strange man. "…yeah. It's quite a thing. …thing. Right. I have .. a thing. That-a-way." A thumb jerks towards the living caverns, the man already inching backwards in that direction. "I'll be back. After the thing!" he calls, as he retreats. Will he, though? Will he really?

Xe'ter just GRINS at Cenlia, an expression that is full of a certain sort of self indulgent mischief. But he salutes again, as Romth EYES Suldith for getting a little overly friendly with Seryth. "Yes'm, you know me. I used to help with your paperwork, and generally stayed in trouble for being insubordinate through my early Weyrlinghood." But that seems to be as much as he cares to dwell on that not so long ago pass. "You're looking…well rested." Sober? "Considering." Considering that the great dark brooding thing on the Sands can be a bit of a taskmistress, "If I can be that bold now." But it slowly sinks in. Cross. Bow. He casts a curious (is that worried?) glance Theawards. Crossbow? Really? "While I'm passingly familiar with them, I think if she brought out the crossbows, I might bring out the fishing spears. To compare and contrast…." Or something like that. Romth just snorts, bemused. Whatever, Xe. Whatever.

There's a mix of expressions that flit across Thea's face as Cenlia cackles at her new Weyrleader ranging from chagrin for him being called a 'poor sap', to sheepish at the mention of the crossbow. And is that a hint of desire to giggle about her lips as she glances at X'hil's…? Well he's facing her so she can't really see his butt, but oh boy believe it - she'll be watching to see if he still walks with a limp! "Not yet," she answers Cenlia sweetly. "I'm waiting for him to mess up first." Dark lashes flicker in a trace of a wink before she just -barely- avoids gaping at X'hil's stammering. "It's SO nice to know I still have that effect on you, X'hil," she drawls, but there's a teasing note to it. Under her breath in an aside to Xe'ter, she murmurs facetiously, "Beware the power of the crossbow!"

S’gam entrance is much less catwoman-like and much more of a mad, scrambling dash up out of the living caverns. Hair askance and clothes dissheveled from what was apparently a helter-skelter blast through the usual cavern crowd, the weyrleader jerks to a halt just inside the bowl. Blink. Blink. Both eyes stare in surprise at the collection of foreign riders before /glaring/ in the general direction of his weyr. "You told me things were being smashed by /rocks/, not that we were being visited by /Romth/." Ittisieth remains unseen, but apparently an epic game of telephone went on between the watchrider's dragon and his own. Clothes are straightened, hair patted down as Sig tries to pretend nothing happened. Nothing at all. "Greetings and duties, all. The crossbow? If you're already resorting to that threat… It's gonna be a long leadership." Wink. See? He could even suavely join in the conversation. Nothing amiss here! X'hil's abrupt and convenient departure earns a badly-stifled chuckle… And then brown eyes fasten on Zi'on's cargo. It's like the bronzerider brought a small child candy. "Oooooh." Names? Who needs names? Zi'on had booze!

"I remember ya, from that backwater seahold with the herbs, yeah?" Cen does offer Xe'ter a lopsided grin, waving a hand vaguely in the air to shrug off any concerns about boldness. "Fishing spears, eh?" is that a glint in her eye, "Oughtta do some /real/ comparin' sometime. Me, I prefer a good solid /shovel/." Oh, weyrleaders and their weaponry. Pern is clearly doomed. She totally shares a crookedly-grinned look with Thea, "Best way to keep 'em in line, that," sagely nodding and totally failing to keep the slightly cheeky look off her face. X'hil's departure, however, is given a bit of a blank look, Cenlia arching a brow at the fleeing man and commenting as an aside to the others, "Sure does an awful lotta runnin'." She can't help snickering at Thea's words, though, "Ain't ever gonna fail, that. Useful, though." Keeps them bronzers in line! Speaking of which - there's a S'gam! Cenlia spares a bit of staring for him too, which turns into a grin, "Heya, Siggy, ya hear? We got visitors an' booze!" Oh yeah, she's totally going to join her weyrleader in ooohing over the rum, telling Zi'on, "'S a good idea that. Give them candidates some errand duty or somethin' - this stuff cold?" She's already reaching down to snag a bottle, "Should haul it into the booze cellar - how much we owe ya fer the lot?" Introductions? Pfft, booze first! "You guys seen the booze cellar?" this asked of Thea and Xe'ter, "Shards, could supply ten weyrs fer a turn with what we got stashed away."

Zi'on blinks at X'hil. "Oh, sorry. Gray. I see. Er… I'm Zi'on. Uh… Western's duties or whatever." He peers for a second. "I've heard of you before. Weren't you weyrleader here for a while? That was after I left though I think." But Zi'on at least knows his leadership people somewhat. The latest batch though he's a little unsure about. There's a bit of a blink as X'hil exits stage.. left. Then he blinks at Thea. "Right…" Romth can't be too mad at Suldith, the small bronze is giving him the same sort of friendly treatment as the gold. Incoming weyrleader! Protect the rum! Oh whew, S'gam seems to come to a complete stop before it's in too much danger. Zi'on nods to S'gam. "Yep. All paid for by your weyrlady. Well, with a little extra thrown in." So really, Cenlia has booze! Zi'on peers at Cenlia about the comparison. Were these some sort of euphemisms for… something more fun? "You crazy weyrwomen. Enka just employs tickle-torture." Zi'on knows. The young bronzer lets Cenlia take a bottle and then lifts up the crate onto his shoulders. "You paid already,' Zi'on explains. "Nope, ain't seen that," he adds about the cellar.

Xe'ter nods a bit to Zi'on as he finally seems to look a little more comfortable. Maybe it's just that these are his old stomping grounds…or something. "Xanadu's duties," he offers more quietly to the Western bronzer, and then he looks to Thea again. Alright, ma'am…now it's your lead! Or maybe it's so he can get a little closer and query, "Crossbow?" Seriously? That's going to take some explaining, it sounds like! But then he ohs, and makes a gesture, "Cenlia…I don't know if you remember those flitcakes I used to make…but I've got an improved recipe…" He scuttles back towards his lifemate to get the small package attached to the straps, and then comes back. "The little burned butter and rum frosting on buttered rum rumcakes…" See? He knows how to bring a 'hostess' gift or what? Romth snorts a bit, but goes back to eyeing Suldith…albeit with less suspicion after a few moments.

"I'm afraid I'm not quite as handy with a shovel, Cen. Besides you have to get closer to use it." There's a decidedly devilish glint to Thea’s eyes now but she still manages to keep from smirking. That is, until Ista's Weyrleader shows up smoothing his hair down. NOW she smirks, "Hi Siggy. Nice to see you. How's Fyr?" Poor Xe'ter. If he thought THIS diplomatic visit was going to be by the book, he's in for an awakening. This is a side of the Weyrwoman he probably hasn't seen yet. With all the chatter and bottle hefting, she'll wait to formally introduce herself to Zion, allowing the Weyrleader to do the formalities, but she does politely peer at the bottles and of the contents she murmurs, "That looks… micro brewed?" What DOES one say about booze when they don't drink it? There's a little blink for the mention of Enka and a tiny headshake; she'll just let that one go. There's naught but an innocent look back at Xe'ter. What? Crossbow? Me? As for the rumcake improvement, she injects a trifle tartly, "No idea hwo you could add any more rum to them." Because knowing Cenlia, that girl will be assuming that’s the improvement he’s talking about and wondering that right off the bat.

"So I see," S'gam responds to Cenlia, unconsciously tilting his knotted shoulder away from the weyrwoman. Though she will be appeased with her booze, his subconscious will never be the same. "I'm just as happy to see both - the booze /and/ the people." Speaking of, Thea gets a likewise twisted smirk. "Nice to see you, too, Thee. How is Xanadu keeping you?" The Istan weyrleader glances over at Xe'ter as he goes to fetch the rumcakes before raising an eyebrow back over at Thea. "She's… she is. Fine, I mean." Way to be smooth, Sig! Regardless, his brown eyes shift to and fro slightly before gratefully latching on to the change in subject. "There's always a way to add more booze. I'd bet a good couple of marks that she dips the rumcakes /into/ her drink. You're aiding and addict," he says randomly towards Zi'on, but it's not accusing - merely amused. They were all at fault, really. Enablers, the lot of them!

Cenlia's totally working the cap off that rum bottle the second she nabs it, straightening and grinning crookedly at Zi'on. "Yeah, he was," answering for the fleeing X'hil, Cen jerks her head in the direction of the caverns, since the bronzerider is hauling the booze again, "Cellar's over on the other side of the kitchens. Converted part of the pantry." Because there was just so much booze. Her grin grows at mention of Enka, Cen commenting, "Ougghta send her a featherduster, then," snicketr, "Should tell her to come visit. Will bake her some rumcakes." Speaking of which, the girl's brows rise at Xe'ter, "Yeah? Shards, them things soiund /good/," totally appreciating the gift already, "Could open this rum an'-" S'gam's suggestion? Her eyes light up like a firestone-happy dragon in threadfall, "Should do that." The dipping the cakes into the rum. The Cenlia, is totally appeased. And she has absolutely no problem with the lot of them enabling her rum addiction, practically beaming at them all. Even poor Thea, who is offered a huge grin, "Got a point there, 'bout them crossbows. Oughtta get sme somethin' that can hit from a distance. Anyhow, /always/ a way to add more rum!"

Zi'on gives Xe'ter a sort of wave. "Hey." Zi'on seems pretty relaxed here. These are his old stomping grounds as well, though they're very old for Zi'on. He hasn't lived at Ista in over ten turns now. Suldith has taken to running around the queen and the Xanadu bronze for fun. "Nah, it's just home brewed. Triple distilled this time. Goes down smooth. 'Course it's still a little on the strong side," he admits. "If you're interested I'm sure we can work something out for a case or so. I don't make too much of it though, it's sort of a hobby now." There's a gasp to Cenlia for S'gam's news about her. "You're an addict!? Tsk tsk. You know what my da always said, too much of a good thing is bad for ya. Though… he never does practice what he preaches much." He raises his eyebrows at the mention of a feather duster. "Don't ya dare even give her the idea. I keep tellin' her. Maybe after the new junior can take up some of her duties we can get away for a little while. Anyways I gotta head back, my old lady's calling me already. Let me know what ya'll think of the rum!" The bronzer manages to calm his dragon down enough so they can slip out back to Western.

Xe'ter offers the same sort of wave…more like a lifted elbow…to Zi'on as the man starts to leave…he's holding that package of cakes, after all. "I think, then…it's probably in our best interest to find a place to sit these down and see if Cenlia approves or not." It's a little nudge, of sorts; he takes a quarter of a step towards the living cavern of the tropical Weyr. "Before they start melting in this heat. That'd be a shame."

"It's keeping me -busy-!" Is Thea's heartfelt reply to S'gam about Xanadu. She follows his subject change, shifting her attention to the booze, shuddering just a little at the mention of cake-dipping into it. "I thought they were quite… ahh, effective the way they were." There couldn't possibly be a way to stick another molecule of alcohol to them, could there? Seryth watches Suldith do laps with a patient sort of amusement before lowering her head to rest atop Romth's back. Pillow! Suldith's making her tired. Thea's eyes sort of glaze over at all the talk of rum but she does manage to acknowledge Zi'on's leave-taking with a dip of her head. So where were they? Ohyes, in this heat by now it's… rumcake smoothies?

Forehead slap. S'gam had totally /not/ intended to give her the idea… but now that he had, he was curious. "How does it taste?" A dark brow is arched up, eyes flicking to the drink to the Istan weyrwoman and back. "No. No long-distance weapons. We have enough trouble hiring wingleaders without having them quit over being shot up." He says it laughingly, but is that a nervous tic taking up in his right eye? Probably. Zi'on's depature earns a wave of farewell before Xe'ter's none-too-subtle request to move somewhere else earns a nod of willingness. "Good idea." To Thea: "I can understand that fully - running a weyr isn't all it cracked up to be. I even miss the infirmary sometimes." A lot of the time, actually, but he won't say that aloud in the present company without a few drinks. Someone misses the ye olde simple days! Snerk.

"'S good stuff," oh, Cen'll totally sing the praises of the rum, yees. Suldith is watched absently with some amusement, though Cen doesn't comment on it, her reply to Zi'on about being an addict only earning a toothy grin. Her rum. Her preciousss. As for a feather duster, queue the most unconvincing innocent look, ever. "See ya, an' bring Enka t' visit next time!" a hand is raised in farewell to the Western bronzerider, Cen then turning to grin agreement with Xe'ter, "Yeah, oughtta try this lot out. Booze cellar's thisaway," noddng her head toward the ground weyrs, "You ever tried /Istan/ peach brandycake?" That last is said to Thea, apparently intending to share as the girl continues, "Think the cooks're baking the lot've it in the kitchens." And to S'gam, there's a brightly stated, "Let's find out!" Oh dear. There miight even be a kind of sheepish look at S'gam's reminder about the wingleaders, Cen clearing her throat and hurrying toward the caverns, "C'mon! Got a load've cakes ready to get outta the ovens, I'll bet," and waving them to follow!

Romth is utterly distracted and mollified once Seryth curls her lovely golden head against his back, and then there's rather suddenly a mountainous pile of draconic shmooopyiness. Xe'ter chuckles a little at S'gam, but remains otherwise quiet. He's on a mission. Get cupcakes into people…maybe it'll make this whole 'diplomatic' thing go smoother! If not faster. Definately smoother.

Facetiously, "I'll teach you how to shoot crossbow, Cen. Can we get X'hil to stand still long enough to…" A smirky-smile curves Thea's lips as she just lets that trail off. No X'hil, she's not likely to forget that -ever- in her lifetime. She can only shake her head at the irony of S'gam's question and the Istan Weyrwoman's following pronouncement. Like, has Cen ever tasted booze and NOT said that? She's only too happy to get out of this sun though and slipping out of her flight jacket, she throws it over one arm as she steps along beside Xe'ter. Casting a quizzical glance at S'gam's missing of the Infirmary. She's totally serious (right?) with her astounded, "You don't visit there regularly?" Because c'mon! With all these bottles around? "It's… never a dull moment," is all she can say, and dryly to running a Weyr. As they step out of the sunshine and inside, she nearly stops and flees, indeed there's a falter to her steps to the question of whether she’s ever had Istan rumcake, barely noticeable, but there all the same. Weakly, "Does Pre-Istan boozecake count?"

Ista Weyr - Booze Cellar

From the moment that one reaches the bottom of the stairs, the thick sweet smell of fruits and intoxicating alcohol hits suddenly and continues to cling all around no matter where you wander around the cellar. With no artificial lighting the natural light from the glow baskets shine off the rows and rows of bottles of wine in their snug spots on their racks, the shelving reaching from the bottom to the very top of the low-hanging ceiling; bottles stacked on top of each other, large groupings of similar vintage, and the oldest most prized bottles near the top with a layer of dust settling around them. All along the walls the shelving continues, breaking only when a second rack starts— these are all shapes and sizes: ales, firewaters, rums, bourbons. Ista Weyr has it all. To a very observant eye, the faint outline of one of those old-style lifts is seen faintly in the cavern wall in the break between shelves. In the center remains several large barrels of more commonly brewed beverages, though more storage of these brews are always found back in the Sable Sands.

S'gam was juuust fine with the idea of finding out. He shakes his head just a bit for the alcoholic overenthusiasm, but he follows just the same, not about to miss out on the fun… especially on /peach/ brandycakes. "I'm sure Cai's enjoying the baking practice, if only on boozecakes. Tried hers before? Prefers regular cakes, which is a shame, but she's a genius with the rum." Yes! Shocker! One of S'gam's line isn't a fan of the booze! "Well…" Thea's innocently astounded question has the bronzerider turning colors, but he clears his throat and pushes on. "Not recently. And not for dragons at any rate." And Cenlia's been gracious enough not to knock him one lately! "You're right, though. Dull moments? Things of the past. I don't mind so much about the public relations, but everything else nags after a while." The Xanadian's falter goes unnoticed, but if S'gam's smirking a lot more than he was in moments previous, weeeeeell…

And off to booze they go. Getting weyrleaders sloshed might be a hobby in itself, really. Cen's grin only grows slowly at Thea's promise, Cen telling the Xanadu weyrwoman, "Shards, oughtta hold another weyr games, make that one of the events." A pause, a totally amused snerk, "X'hil'd prolly run fer the hills the second he hears 'bout it," along with unashamed snickering. That poor man, so easy to tease. She'll cast a look over her shoulder at Xe'ter, quirking a brow, "Heard there's all kinds of cakes an' things you could make with rum, oughtta trade more recipes sometime. Got a cousin down in Ierne who ships over rumcakes fer us. You ever head that way, should definitely try some." She apparently misses Thea faltering, glancing instead to Sig with a curious, "Cai?" And really, when has Cen ever /not/ been overenthusiastic about booze? "Ugh, better t' leave them public relations things to you," is muttered as she heads inside, "Sharding wish I could just wave a shovel at mosta them." Cen's version of public relations is really better practiced on the shrubbery, than on people. Hurrying through the living caverns, the girl snags some glasses on the way through the kitchens, and tags a drudge to grab them a tray once the currently-baking noosecakes come out of the oven. The goldrider herself is continuing on, getting a glowbasket as she heads down some stairs and right into.. the booze cellar. She finds a few crates and barrels off to one side where the lot of it gets placed. It's no council room, but there /is/ a lot of very good booze here.

It's probably a good thing that Xe'ter was 'raised' at Ista, because he's utterly unphased by Cenlia's behavior (or loose interpretation thereof). Instead, he settles the tray down the moment he finds a good, stable surface, and opens the lid. A peak inside, though, makes him smile a bit. Ah. Good. They must not be melted OR mooshed, because he lifts the container inside out, and then opens IT, to reveal a couple dozen half-sized cupcakes, each elaborately decorated with a massive SWIRL of pale, caramel-tinged frosting. Three things are immediately obvious: the heavy, rich scent of spices…those things are NOT for the bland eaters; the fragrant and obvious scent of good Istan rum…there's practically a small waver in the air over them from the fumes; and they cannot be good for the waistline! Nothing like the Iernean baker's infamous rumcakes at all. They're no bigger than two or three bites each, but they look rich. Rich-rich-rich, sugar-coma inducing rich. Pancreas slaying sweet, and thus infinately desireable.

Trying not to smirk at S'gam's coloring and with total understanding about nags, "Like irate holders, Weyr disasters and paperwork?" About Cai's cakes and with a short 'thanks a lot Sig' sort of stare, the Xanadu Weyrwoman reluctantly says, "Noooo, haven't had hers." SNAP!!! Those are the proverbial jaws of an Istan booze-trap shutting. Great. No way out of this one, is there? In spite of the sudden apprehension that's gripping her, Thea laughs at Cenlia's running commentary regarding Xanadu's ex-second Weyrsecond, ex-second (it's a long story folks), the sound seemingly hollow and sort of muffled down here in the cellar. "Poor X'hil," is all she says to that and it really sounds like she means it. All the way down the aisle, across the floor to wherever they're going her boots make little scuff-marks in the dust. That's her feet dragging to her own doom. Wavering fumes, Xe'ter?! She'll get sozzled simply by breathing! "Those…look…" what can she say that's both true and complimentary? She comes up with "…potent." Nothing about the smell, see, because she's trying to hold her breath.

S'gam coughs through a laugh at the idea of a X'hil-shooting event. Some part of him pities the man, but the larger part is trying hard not to find it funny. "Cai's my sister. Greenrider, about yea big." He measures her out at about the height of his shoulder, but honestly, she's the unremarkable, quite forgettable type. "I'll have to let you try hers," he aims at Thea while nodding for her leadership troubles. "Especially the paperwork. Isn't paper supposed to be a remotely precious resource? You wouldn't know it these days." A barking laugh escapes him for the potent comment, but his brows are raised appreciatively. "Potent, or lovely? Well done."

Cen totally gets to pouring the rum, snagging herself a glass before she scoots over to peek past Xe'ter at the rumcakes. An appreciative sniff is given, crooked grin re-appearing as she nods agreement with Thea, "Ain't C'lom's cakes, but them things'll definitely give ya a buzz." And she's totally reaching over to yoink one already, "Shards, them things're all fancy-like too," said in possible compliment to Xe'ter, "You oughtta sell these, betcha could make a load've marks," nevermind that weyrleaders probably don't have time to be stuck in the kitchens all day. There's a face made at the further mention of paperwork, Cen muttering, "Would take hauling manure over all the sharding paperwork," though the groan is more melodramatic than serious. And poor X'hil indeed. But at least Cenlia is distracted from further crossbow plotting by the cake. And the rum. She nods about Sig's sister, pausing a second to cant her head in thought, "Dun't think I've met her. 'Least, not anytime recent. Should have her show X'hil - didja know? He /cooks/. All them baskets he totes 'round, makes all that stuff himself."

Xe'ter looks pleased when Cenlia nabs a cake for herself, then grabs a handful of them himself, extracting them from the other side of the plate. He offers them, on a neatly folded little linen napkin to Thea, and then lays a couple on the napkin for himself. "I cook for fun, Cen…it's fine." He doesn't need the marks…it'd ruin the fun. "Besides, mostly I cook for Romth…he's still fascinated with human food..he says it tastes different from me than it does when he eats it." Romth…the bronzeling that enjoyed eating live tunnelsnakes as a weyrling. Yeah. "S'like fishin'. Wouldn't want to make that a livin' either…hard work if you have it, tons of fun if you don't."

"Thanks, Sig." This time it's said aloud but with so subtle an irony in the tone that he must be imagining it when Thea says it, right? Why DOES everyone and their uncle keep trying to feed her rumcakes?! But ohwait, she hasn't met C'lom yet has she? "We should train people to do it for us? Pay them with these." She waves a hand at the cakes while Xe'ter is parceling them out, takes the napkin he hands her with nary a blink and passes it smoothly to the Istan Weyrleader. "Here you are," she says sweetly. But then, she has to ask Xe'ter, "How does Romth like rumcakes?" Chipper, yep. Distract the man!

"You might not've. She impressed…" S'gam pauses, squinting as though trying to remember the years or clutches or… well, anything. "… Well, it was a while ago. Time flies." Browraise - they're getting quite a workout tonight. "Does he really? I honestly should've guessed. Huh. Well, we'll have to introduce them sometime. Cai loves to teach, if she has a student that's apt." He clears his throat in a manner that hints he isn't. Chef Ramsey, Sig is not! "Romth tries human food?" This is apparently news to the weyrleader, whose head tilts to one side curiously. "Actually, I guess that's not all that weird. Ittisieth's just… the kind that wouldn't." The stick's too far up his bum! A cheery smile greets Thea's sarcasm regardless. "No problem! Resistance is futile." He does accept that napkin, but keeps it hovering between the goldrider and himself as he takes a bite out of one. What? She's not going to escape the peer pressure that easily! Muhahaha.

Cenlia pauses, cupcake lifted halfway to her mouth, and just kind of stares at Xe'ter, "..Fer yer /dragon/?" More staring. "You tried gettin' him drunk yet?" curious minds want to know! Cenlis moves over to a nearby crate, and plops her butt down, taking a nibble of the rumcake, while she tries not to grin at poor Thea handing off the rumcakes to Sig. "Should try some," is said to the other weyrwoman, Cen tacking on lightly, "Looks like a lotta work went into these, fer fun or no." Mmm, peer pressure. Another nod, this time to S'gam, has Cen agreeing, "Shards, how long's it been since we was all in Xanadu?" this said to him and Thea, with a grin to Xe'ter, "We was, all of us, back in Xanadu backwhen. Shards, you seen the greenhouse yet? Used to take care've that thing." And now she's doing a whole /different/ sort of gardening over in Ista. More nodding about introducing X'hil to Sig's sister, Cen popping th rest of the cake into her mouth and munching before sidling over to sneak another. "Sometime, really oughtta visit there some, once Zeek ain't cranky as a wherry inna stewpot."

Xe'ter laughs a little, "No, I've never given Romth anything alcoholic. He doesn't like it when I get more than a bit in me. Nay, he likes to taste what I taste…always has. Of course, at first, he liked to SHARE what he tasted…and I can say that I'm painfully aware what the flavor of wherry offal tastes like…whether I wanted to or not." He smiles, wry…but then goes into a genuine listening position…perhaps he really /is/ curious about the backhistory. After all, he's only so old…and he came to Ista for the clutch he Impressed at! He's very very casual as he reaches out, and puts another one of his cakes in front of her…isn't he JUST the sharing sort?

Romth projects to Seryth, « Mine says that the cakes he gave yours are safe. Trust him. »

He can hover that napkin all he wants, but they're alllll his as far as Thea's concerned. "My pleasure," she tells him with the sweetest of smiles. It could match Xe'ter's confections over there even while trying to maintain a firm resolve. Right up until Cenlia says a lot of work went into them. Well, she can't very well be churlish, now can she? With a masterful attempt at keeping her smile plastered to her face, she reaches to accept the napkin that Xe'ter offers over. Then taking a deep breath, she reaches to place a few more, picking randomly from the box. "Thanks Xe'ter, I-" She gets a certain communique from Seryth, apparently by the way her eyes widen, drop to that box, back to her napkin and then lift to the Xanadu Weyrleader's. Ooops? Really, these are tiny what can three or four do? It's all in the name of diplomacy! "You should come visit. You're both welcome anytime. You could see the hole we just found." That found them? Lifting the cake, she braces herself and pops it in her mouth.

Romth senses that Seryth is warm and cozy on her pillow-bronze there in the Istan sunshine and very sleepily passes on her Rider's message, a hint of mist that might float down after the last bits of a gentle rain lacing her words, « She says thanks for telling her before you got here. » Totally missing? Any trace of sarcasm. Someone's not cooperating. Is that a… purr coming from the gold?

"An age and a half," Sig responds to Cenlia, chuckling reminisciently. "At least, what, eight turns? Maybe nine?" Of all the things the bronzerider /can/ keep track of, time apparently isn't one of them. He 'huh's quietly for the information from Xe'ter, still intrigued, but seeming to understand it better. Ah dragons - they'd never cease to amaze him! "Thank you," S'gam says, not quite as sweetly as Thea, but still with a sprinkling of amused sugar. He munches on his cake for a moment before glancing down at the timepiece on his wrist with a 'meh' expression. Solution to nagging responsibility? Eat another rumcake. "You found… a hole?" Oh, the innuendos he could make… instead he looks politely interested, if not skeptical. Who just… /finds/ a hole? Xanadians, evidently.

"Hearin' Zeek's like drinkin' a bottle of rum an' then gettin' a shot've whiskey in the FACE," Cenlia comments absently, taking a bite out of another rumcake before she adds, a little wryly, "Prolly dun't need to drink half as much to get drnk, with a dragon like that." She does make a face as Xe'ter goes on about what Romth's eaten, "Eugh.. shards, yer lifemate's.. somethin' else." She's just going to down some of that drink she poured. "Shards.. it really been that long?" is asked of S'gam, "Hard to figure we've known each other the whole time. Ten turns from now," turning to Xet'er, "Yer gonna rememebr gettin' good an' boozed atta beach party with us. Should done one again sometime when we visit Xanadu. Ariadne's over there now - betcha anything she's a whole lotts fun at a party." A pause, and then the goldrider tacks on, "None've us're tool old fer truth or dare neither," giving the others a crooked grin. "Should try Zi'on's rum," those glasses are totally nudged toard the bronzers, and Thea, of course. The other woman gets a grin, though, Cen nodding, "Yeah, definitely will. Soon as Zeek's off the sharding sands. Wish I could just-" eyes light up slightly, "..Dun't suppose one've ya wants t' kidnap me fer a sevenday? Ain't like she's gonna /leave/ them sands an' come after me." She can dream, anyway. Sigh. "It like this when Seryth's gotta a clutch?" is asked of Thea, before there's a bit ob a blink, "Er. ..Hole?" A glance is spared for S'gam, then back to the Xanadu weyrleaders. A lot of interesting things are being imagined in response to that, judging from the look on her face.

Xe'ter grins a little, despite himself. He lets the questions hang, just a moment, then notes, "This cellar's the second scary, dark hole I've found myself in in under a quatro of sevendays. Sevenday ago, there was an earthshake down at Xanadu; I was off at Rubicon with that uppity Holder, trying to make some arrangements about our refugee situation, and whole area rattled around like a bronze falling off his ledge. By the time I got back to the Weyr, Thea'd led a 'rescue' crew off into the middle of nowhere in the woods…and there's this hole big enough to cook a gold in like a stewpot. And then the next thing ye know, there's another tiny shake…and we all wound up IN the hole."

With that mouthful Thea's got, her eyes widen. She's just sort of stands there without chewing for a few beats while she tries to keep her eyes from watering by not blinking. It's…. not working. Swallowing mightily, she manages a hoarse, "These are sweet," as a sort of compliment to Xe'ter along with a half-apologetic look. Innuendos about holes go right over this holdbred gal's head. Nodding after Xe'ter explains, she adds totally without guile, "We still haven't explored it yet." A quick aside to Xe'ter, "We should get to that soon!" Cenlia's comment about Nziekilth catches her attention and her eyes affix to the younger woman with a sort of fascination. Someone get the Harpers! Did she HEAR that right? "Why don't you try having her talk to you more then? It might be the same as." Made in all seriousness. AA has nothing on this! She merely looks at the nudged glass and smiles. Nice try! The second cake isn't so bad. She nibbles appreciatively but Cenlia utters her wish to be kidnapped just as she's swallowing. With a sputter, "You can't leave your clutch!"

S'gam chuckles for the description of Zeek's mind, head bobbing. "And I thought I had it bad. But yeah, it's… scary to think we've known each other for a decade." Even he makes a face for that! When did he become old?! Xe'ter's story has him frowning, eyes showing mild alarm. "Shards. Was there anything at the bottom of that hole?" Well, obviously nothing pointy and stabby like he feared, or they wouldn't be standing here now, right? Thea answers that shortly besides, Sig nodding absently while trying to wrap his mind around the earthquake knocking them in. "That had to've been frightening…" Shudder. But since the topic had shifted to the clutch… Sig's eyes go distant, lips pursing before he flicks a glance towards Cenlia. "Speakin' of, Itti keeps sayin' that people wanna go up to the galleries to see the clutch, and…" Well, she went through all the trouble to sneak OUT, no sense letting a few silly weyrfolk ruin the weyrwoman's sanity-time. "… Well, they can't argue with the weyrleader telling them no." Beam. "So if you guys will be around later, I'll be back. If not, we'll swing by sometime." Wink. "Take care of yourselves, and mind you don't fall into any more holes." That's actually said with a bit of concern before he snaps a lazy salute of farewell and strides off the way he came.

Cen is doing some serious staring at the Xanaduans, though there is a distracted, "Ain't.. the same as real boozin', talkin' to Zeek. Is like gettin' tipsy without the taste've it. Or bein' able to get sloshed proper." Alas, it just doesn't cut it! THough poor Cen, figures she'd end up with a lifemate whose mindvoice is pretty much booze. The explanation of the hole, though, has her totally choking a bit on the rum, cough-sputtering a, "Sh- shards, anybody got hurt?" and paling quite considerably at the mention of earthshakes. "One we had back some turns, with the volcano erupting offshore, was pretty awful. This weren't volcanic, was it?" looking suddenly quite a lot more sober. Yeah, there are some things Cen just doesn't joke about. "You need any hands, dealin' with that, we got plenty over here could send over," noddign to them, but is briefly distracted by S'gam, a look of concern crossing her own features. Her weyrleader /is/ given a vaguely grateful look, though, before she turns back to their guests, "Speakin' of, might wanna take a look at the eggs before ya leave. Shards, them things're.. dunno if it's just Zeek or what. Last batch was sharding.. disturbing, an' this lot ain't lookin' any better. Some've 'em.. downright creepy." Her own shudder follows, along with tossing back the rest of the rum in her glass.

Of the hole and whether there was anything in it, Thea quips to Xe’ter with a snicker, "No, it was bottomless! That's how we got here." She had to say it. Blame the rum! Not that she's had all that much. She snorts gently for that alarmed look on S'gam's face. “Thirty isn't old!” In fact, fifty's looking younger and younger to her every turn. But she says nothing to that regard, instead trying not to look sad-faced at his leaving. There's a slight stare at the 'without the taste' from Cenlia and a slow, "I…. see." She doesn't but then the taste of the strong stuff never appealed to her. "Creepy eggs? Okay, let's go have a look." She pops that last cake in her mouth while waiting for Cenlia to lead the way. Immediately wishes she didn't, but hey. There are scary-looking eggs to go see. And boozecakes to get away from.

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