Subtleties Missed

Xanadu Weyr - Store Room
The storerooms here are carved into the stone, stretching back deep underground beneath the upper hallways that serve for residences and work areas. There is, after all, little need for natural light here; a series of electric lights are more than sufficient to illuminate smoothly cut walls and the assortment of supplies kept until they are needed once more.

For some of the things here, that time will be long in coming. Broken furniture and torn clothing awaits the opportunity for someone to repair it - or else the kindling and rag piles. Other items are more immediately useful; gently worn clothing and boots are neatly arranged in rows and on racks, especially in the quickly outgrown children's sizes, and an assortment of furniture and small appliances in functional condition await new homes.

A series of side rooms connected to the kitchen are the larder which feeds the Weyr through the winter. Sacks of grain lean against barrels of salted meat and wheels of hard cheeses stacked high. Refrigeration and dragonflight make for a more flexible winter diet, but it still takes a great deal of food to provide for this many people. The food is a tempting target for tunnelsnakes, and the occasional scuttle can be heard in the otherwise quiet depths of these caves.

Toward the southern edge, near the path leading down to the hot springs, there's the laundry rooms, a set of steam-filled chambers where water and soap are scrubbed into fabric of various sorts and the dirt and grime is scrubbed right back out.

Much of the stores are easily accessed, requiring only the appropriate permissions to be borrowed from. These supplies are, after all, here for the good of the Weyr and the people living here. A few rooms - those containing particularly valuable or dangerous items - are kept locked.

Some candidates get lucky. Some get to have their evenings for their own purposes. This has just not been the seven for Stefyr or Katailea. When one of the assistant weyrlingmaster walked into the barracks soliciting "voluntolds," just about the only thing there was to be grateful for was that this was not a voluntolding that involved being bodily dragged from the barracks. And Stefyr was probably grateful to have boots and for the rain to have stayed at a steady drizzle today, but not a deluge. "Go to the stores, find the boxes of candidate robes laid out there, bring them back. Easy." Only this particular assistant trusted to the ingenuity and intelligence of Stefyr, Katailea and Khavro to be able to deduce where exactly in the stores those crates would be. Stefyr walks slowly, perhaps to spare others his long stride, hands in pockets and unusually quiet. Furtive glances are shot to both of his companions, the ones at Khavro more awkward than those for Katailea. Awwwkwaaard is the silence. The silence is awkward. (In case you didn't hear it the first time: AWKWARD.)

No, its not been the best seven. Though truth be told between the two of them Stefyr probably had the worse. Kataelia at least wasn't physically dragged from the barracks on the last event. A little direction would have been nice. Looking through the stacks and shelves as they pass through the stores the young woman spares a glance now and then for her companions and their path. "Why do I feel like we're going to finally find this crate and something's going to jump out?"

This is exactly why Khavro tries to stay busy with things of his choosing on his free time and only come back to the barracks at the last possible moment. So he doesn't get roped into doing things. "I hope something does jump out at us," he says with a pointed glance at Stefyr. "A tunnelsnake. Or a giant, feral feline. A crazed wherry." He could go on, but he doesn't.

Stefyr's mouth opens to answer Katailea, but then Khavro's opening his smart one and the words require him to roll his eyes at the curly-haired candidate. "I don't think any of those things would make the top ten craziest moments in Xanadu history, not even if we limit it to the past five turns." But he's not from here, so he might not have really solid information on that front. He looks to Katailea, brows furrowing, "Are you from here? I can't remember." A pause, "But really, there is a real chance that's exactly what's going to happen. Probably not a feral feline or a crazed wherry. But this one time, Leirith wanted me to put a wherry in a box and bring it to R'hyn, so it's definitely not out of the realm of possibility." Comforting, right? WELCOME TO XANADU.

Katailea sends Khavro a pointed glare for his comment only to shake her head a moment later for Stefyr's answer. "No," she's not from Xanadu either. "But somehow I have to agree," that it wouldn't be the craziest, "Given what I've seen so far." She'll just leave it at that. "But I's be just as happy without." Without something jumping out at them that is. Does she still have glitter in her hair? Very possibly.

"Not everything has to be the craziest thing to ever happen to matter," grumbles Khavro, not really at Stefyr, but clearly in response to his comment. He falls silent then, sort of wandering and sort of following, not really looking for what they're supposed to be looking for, honestly, even if it would make this all be over sooner.

If she's not sure and needs some, there is zero chance that Stefyr got rid of all the glitter on him, given that he was be-glittered by Ila'den and also works where all the glitter was left. He will be sparkly for months if not turns yet. Does glitter go with candidate robes? If not, too bad. "Where are you from?" It's the necessary follow up to the big man's first question, but at least he sounds earnestly interested in hearing the answer. His eyes slant past Katailea, because of course she's being used as a buffer from the other boy, as far as Stefyr's concerned, to frown slightly. "No, it doesn't." His tone is a little odd. "Actually," Khavro did not mean to start this conversation but, "I'd say that some things could be only slightly crazy, still matter, but as long as everyone's more of less okay with things that way, there's no problem." What is he even talking about? Does anyone know? Does Stefyr?

"No on said it had to be," Katealia replies, at least that's her interpretation of the conversation. And she's had plenty of glitter, thanks. Buffer though, really? Her? Considering they can both look over her head. The petite blonde does put space between the two boys though. "Nerat," is the answer that comes for the follow-up question, and one should only expect the return question of "What about you? And you?" the first for Stefyr and the second added towards Khavro.

While Khavro seems like he'd be perfectly content to talk to neither of them during this egregious chore, he can't help but snap, "I'm fine," at Stefyr's comment and glance self consciously at Katealia. There's no problem, obviously. "You're just an idiot, who can't tell the difference between what a dragon's feeling and what you're feeling. I get it." That's more mild, perhaps bitingly so, but willing to dismiss the whole thing, apparently. To the girl, without pause, "I was born in the sea when my mother fell overboard during a storm. The ship sank, everyone but us died. Dolphins came to help and everything. We're still friends." So he's not saying, then.

Snapping definitely means truth, which is probably why Stefyr lobs Khavro a dubious look. But then the rest of the words hit and the blond's cheeks are suddenly turning the shade of a ripe redfruit. "I am an idiot," he'll claim that. Fairly. Does he admit the rest? It's unclear, but perhaps could be assumed. "You don't seem okay," is mildly observed, "But then you haven't since… well, forever. I guess." Forever as far as he's concerned anyway. He will offer Katailea an apologetic look - for the conversation? For Khavro being Khavro? "He's a trader," YOU'RE WELCOME, THIS IS HOW YOU HAVE A POLITE EXCHANGE. "I'm from a farm in the region but not near the Weyr. I got here about two months before Ilyscaeth laid her eggs." He pauses to peer into a particular cavern. "Let's try in here. There's other clothing stores… You'd think the boxes would be obvious…" They did include Stefyr in the search and return party after all.

What's that look for? That's the look that those sea green eyes of Kataelia's give Khavro. "Oh," and suddenly she's feeling self conscious for asking. Where are you from? That should be a safe question. "Well I'm sorry to hear," about all of that, "But really?" Trader? "Me too, we got in about that time," being when Ilyscaeth laid her eggs, "And well…" Here she is. At least it seems like they might be getting closer - clothes at least. "Seems as good a place as any. But I can't say I've spend much," ready any, "time on a farm," she adds flashing a smile towards Stefyr.

Khavro snorts at Stefyr's answer for him. How dare. But he lets it stand. Maybe because he's not saying anything else to the bigger candidate anymore. He does side eye Katailea with a brief, "Yeah." Because it's not her he has a problem with, and he probably shouldn't alienate himself from the whole candidate class or something.

Stefyr's eyes slide to Khavro, perhaps listening keenly to see if a fellow trader's inquiry will yield more information about the mysterious, provocateur. But alas, his life is disappointment, with Khavro and possibly also this cavern as it doesn't look like there are any boxes just set out for candidates to collect. "Guess not. Next one," he invites with a gesture for the others to go along with him. "Farms are just about everything you've probably heard in Harper stories. Worth about one line to anyone who's not interested in the finer techniques of grain storage or bovine herding." That gets a grin flashed along with it to the female former trader. "My time here has been more interesting than most of what I lived at home for my first twenty turns." And since Khavro is letting him shoulder the burden of this chit chat, he'll add a new relevant topic. "What do you think of the eggs? I'd never seen dragon eggs before, let alone touched one." He extends the conversation to Khavro, in case he wants to lose the 'tude and find his manners.

"What about that one?" Kataelia says, pointing towards a crate on a shelf not too far ahead with a faded not quite legible anymore label on the side towards them. Back to the conversation at hand, trying to ignore the awkward between the boys. "Really?" the blonde sounds almost disappointed at the farmboy's explanation. "I always thought it'd be interesting. To visit once anyway. The eggs though…." For that line of inquiry she shakes her head. "I don't know to be honest. Some aren't curious, others…" she shudders a bit at the memory.

Sure, Khavro will bite on the topic of the eggs. "I don't like touching them." Surprise, surprise, the trader doesn't like something he has no control over. Besides, you know, not touching them. But admitting to something like that is growth, right? Maybe? "It's creepy. Is that what having a dragon is like? Leirith didn't feel like that. But that wasn't great, either." Cold feet, anyone?

Stefyr will slow his roll, intending to just move along to the next cavern when nothing here is obvious, when Katailea points out the box. He swings around and saunters back that way to squint at the label. He shrugs and pulls it down, sliding lid from crate enough to peer in. "Hats." He tells them. But does he put it back? Oh no, he withdraws a pink knit thing and pulls it onto his head before digging for another. "Some of them are pretty strange," he'll agree, "but most were better the second time, for me. When I knew kind of what to expect. I wasn't so… raw. Open." He tries to articulate things that are hard to say. "It might not be everyone's cup of tea." He starts to open his mouth but a glance between Khavro (the obvious target of whatever he was going to say) and Katailea (possible collateral damage), he snaps his mouth shut.

Katailea laughs. "That looks adorable," she teases with a grin, "Pink really is your color." She leans giving him a light bump of a shoulder as she peers into the box. Hats are an interesting distraction, and the longer they look for the box they're supposed to be finding, the longer they're unavailable to be voluntold for anything else. "Some of them," she agrees about the eggs. Some were better the second time around. "What?" There was something more there, no?

The curly haired trader is not pulling his weight on this venture, arms crossed now, and he doesn't even seem sorry about it. Khavro narrows his eyes at Stefyr putting on the pink hat, but for some reason what the other man says, and maybe what he can only assume he doesn't say, makes his jaw set. "You know what, y'all have fun looking for this shit on your own." He's out, yo. "And you look stupid," he says to Stefyr, a direct counter to Katailea, already turning to head back the way they'd come. With any luck, for everyone else, he'll be eaten by a monster along the way.

"If you find your balls, I'll see you on the Sands!" Stefyr calls to Khavro's retreating back. It's the kind of thing he'd probably say to another boy if he wanted to edge under his skin, but he seems to realize after the words have flown from his mouth that he's in the presence of a female. "Uh," he turns his blushing face toward Katailea, "Sorry." Then, muttered, "I don't know what his problem is. Maybe some people are just born assholes." MAYBE HE'S ONE OF THEM. He digs down in the box alongside her. "I like pink, but…" He comes up with one with feathers, small and jaunty. A lady's gather accessory, surely. And he swaps pink for that, trying to balance it on his head. "I think this one is probably more my style." He flashes a grin; see? He has a sense of humor even if some people don't.

Katailea blinks, looking from one to the other. Okay then. She said nothing! "Bye?" the word half statement, half question as it's sent after Khavro, not quite sure what to say next only the flat out laugh at Stefyr's apology. "You realize I grew up on a ship. With traders and sailors." She's heard worse is what that grin of her's says. "And some are," assholes. "Love the feathers." Pulling out one of those hats to test herself, a fedora style with a brightly striped band and too big so that she ends up having to lift her chin to be able to peek out from under the brim. "What'd ya think?"

"No?" Stefyr's word is drawn out a little, and a touch bewildered, should he have realized that? "Does that mean you'd feel more comfortable with me going on about the size of Khavro's balls instead of feathered hats?" There's too much innocence in his tone to be completely real. He futzes with the feathered hat a little more before setting it to the side and striking an assessing pose, forefinger and thumb on his chin, his other arm cast across his chest. "Hm." Then he walks halfway around her and then back. "Yes. I'd say it fits. Except that it doesn't fit. Keep looking." And that's what he'll do, too. "So why did you accept the candidate's knot if you had a life at sea with traders? That sounds exciting." More exciting than farm life at any rate. His bar is pretty low.

"Um, no," Kataelia replies flatly. She does not need to hear anymore on that subject. A slight frown and a shrug for the lack of fit on the hat and it's dumped back into the box, which she turns to lean against then. "I may have had a little to drink… and saying no thanks to the Weyrwoman didn't happen?" She's not so certain on that herself. "Try something different. See what it was like I guess," she goes on with a shrug. "Hauling boxes and sacks across the ocean from port to port? Flirting with men and complimenting ladies to get them to buy what's on your table instead of the one three steps over?" Not exactly what some might call exciting. Sure there are probably some events that are, but… "Why did you?"

Stefyr fakes a sigh. "To each their own, I suppose." No more on the topic of Khavro or his anatomy, large, small or any other kind. "Yeah, you'd be surprised- or maybe you wouldn't be, considering- but she hears no a lot less frequently than the average person. Or maybe she hears it but doesn't process it enough to register, or maybe she just doesn't care. Or maybe all three at different times. Anyway, I find it best to just go with it." He shrugs. "That's how I became one of her assistants. Mostly." That's the super short version. "Anyway, now you're supposedly," supposedtobe? "hauling boxes for dragonriders from stores to barracks. I guess it's a shorter distance at least." And besides, Stefyr looks like he probably can handle a box or two, so the load for Katailea may be light. Muscles have to be good for something around here. "How does one flirt anyway?" It might be funny if he were joking around, but the earnest inquiry of raised brows makes it downright hilarious. "I heard dragons can die if their lifemate isn't on the Sands. I didn't want that on my conscience. Now I want it for other reasons. I want to Impress if there's a dragon out there for me. Even if it's hard," which seems to be what he assumes it will be. "Do you want to be a dragonrider? Or would you be happy going back to trading after this if it doesn't happen another way?"

Katailea shrugs. They are supposed to be doing that currently. He should be good for the moving, yes, its the finding that they haven't gotten to yet. Distractions though, she's okay with, or at least not saying otherwise. Somehow she manages to keep a straight face at that question of flirting as she turns a coy smile on him and a practiced flutter of lashes. "I don't know that I'd want that on mine either," she agrees with that reasoning, turning to move on in search of that box, a hand 'accidentally' brushing Stefyr's in the process. "I," even in that single letter there's conflict in her answer, "don't know that I don't want to be." Does that make sense? "But if it doesn't happen, I'd go back." What else would she do being implied in those words.

Would that Stefyr were any other man. The smile and flutter of lashes draw a smile from him, but an innocent one, one that doesn't register the subtext of the smile or look. With her loss of interest in the box, he shifts the lid closed after making sure the hats are within, and her brush of his and doesn't even appear to register (maybe it's because one of his bosses regularly MOOSHES HIS FACE for a variety of reasons; he's inured to casual touch). "You could always stay on. Stand for other clutches. I mean, Leirith's eggs will be right along after Ilyscaeth's after all." He shrugs, evidently picking up on that implication, if nothing else. Big, blond, and not always as smart as he could look if tried a little harder. He puts the hat box back, prepared to walk on. "It's something to think about, anyway." He probably thinks she just didn't want to explain flirting to him. As far as he's concerned, the search is exhausted here and he starts to move toward the hall. "C'mon. Maybe they're in the next alcove."

Mr. Oblivious. Cute, but oblivious. Katailea sends a glance his way as she moves to fall into step towards the hall with a shake of her head. "I wouldn't know what to do with myself. I've never been in the same place this long," she admits. "We should find that box and get back," she comments then, turning the direction back to the task they were set out to complete in the first place. Before distractions.

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