Dealing in Questions

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt. The stone is carefully leveled but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area is the one near the Kitchens, where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.

There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.

Breakfast. It means there are plenty of people milling about, collecting their morning cup of klah and gathering sustenance for the morning's pursuits. The candidates are no different, sprinkled throughout the line or scattered about at tables as they find a place with friends, old or new, or complete strangers. Sometimes a seat is a seat and it's good enough. Katailea slipped out of the barracks perhaps a bit earlier than some and has already found herself a plate and a place. Its a subtle move of a finger that pops a button open as she feigns disappointment that the man beside her has to leave to start morning duties. If there's a leering look in her direction as he leaves, well she got her pastry.

Some Candidates have been awake much longer (okay, not THAT long!), if they had the unfortunate luck of pulling kitchen duty - which may involve helping prepare that breakfast everyone is enjoying. Keruthien steps into the caverns from the direction of the kitchens, stifling a yawn with the back of his head. With sleepy-squinted eyes, he'll drift immediately for the klah pitchers, pour himself a brimming mug and only lightly sweetening it. Food? Who needs food!? He's likely snacked a bit here and there during his chore, so this'll do. Another stifled yawn and he'll plunk himself down at a table without so much as a breath of hesitation. It just so turns out that he ends up seated across from Katailea. "… morning." he groggy mumbles and promptly takes a shallow sip of klah. Only to pull a face and wave a hand in a slightly panicked manner. Ow. Ow. Ow. HOT!

Katailea has been there. That early morning helping to prepare all that food, but not today. A "Morning" in return for that muttered greeting is uttered in response even before she's looked up from her plate again. That takes a second longer, just in time to catch that face. "Careful," its not like she can really offer much other help in this matter than the simple reminder for the next sip. "I think they just put out a new pot." Sorry she wasn't sooner with that warning. "Kitchens?" its a guess to the chore Keruthien drew for the day. "I didn't see you this morning."

She's forgiven! Since it's not her fault and Keruthien isn't the type to hold grudges, regardless. Eventually the shock of too-hot first sip of klah passes and he can exhale heavily. "…It's fine. Just forgot for a second there." That he isn't last to the meal ticket for once! Blowing carefully on the surface of his drink this time, he'll cradle the mug between both his hands, elbows propped on the edge of the table and looking like he'd be content to just… doze off on the spot. "Yup. First shift and I got more later today. It's not the worst of the chores but not my favourite. I'd rather be at my Craft work…" But hey, he figured he'd try to at least do SOME chores and not just shirk them all! Is that some tiny shred of regret? Maybe. "What's got you up this early?"

Katailea nods, simple acknowledgement of his comment as she chews and swallows. "Definitely not the worst," she agrees on the ranking of kitchen duty among the other candidate chores. At least he has craft work he can shirk some of them for? "I'm always up this early?" Okay, maybe not always but she does tend to be an earlier riser than some of their bunkmates. But speaking of craft work… "You're a smith, right?"

"Journeyman! Just recently, though." Keruthien answers that one easily, along with a lazy smile as he takes another shallow sip of klah — without incident this time! Setting the mug aside, he'll slouch comfortably in his seat, while fixing her with a curious look. "Early riser, huh? Nothing wrong with that." Even if he looks like he's going to complain about it! "You're a… Trader, right? Sea craft?" Did they have this discussion before? She can blame his lack of memory on groggy sleepy brain. "Why you ask? You needing something Smithcrafter…y?" the last is said with some hesitation and slurring, as he realizes that's not really a word mid-sentence.

"Congratulations on that," Katailea offers, a sincere compliment and respect for the achievement. "Guilty," she replies with a shrug for being an early riser as she takes a bite. There are plenty of days she'd rather be able to sleep in, just a little. "Mm hm," the sound of confirmation comes with a nod, the blonde lifting a hand to catch a crumb of pastry from her lips, brushing it from her fingers to her plate. "Trader," she clarifies after that bite is swallowed. Did they talk about it? If they did, she doesn't remember either. "Curious I guess," her answer as to why, "But … maybe?" Yes, but hesitant to ask perhaps.

Keruthien tips his head in thanks to her congratulations, an easy going grin following suit. Who wouldn't like to sleep in? Probably him. Even if he's visibly tired! There's too much to do, to let the day slip by sleeping! But maybe getting up before dawn is a bit much. "Maybe? Hmm. Well, how about we cut a deal?" he suggests, with just a hint of teasing mischief. His klah is reclaimed, sipped for added effect of anticipation and then, clearing his throat, he'll lay out his 'proposal' to her. "I'll hear you out on your need, if you answer a question… actually, it might be more like two… for me. Deal?"

Before dawn is a bit much, but what would sleeping in an extra hour harm? Its not wasting the day. Katailea tilts her head in consideration of that proposal. "That hardly seems fair," is her answer on that deal. "I could ask any smith and they'd hear me out for free." Its their job. Right? "You hear me out and if you can do the job, say.. before the hatching, I'll answer three. If you can't but can point me to someone who can you get one."

"And how isn't that fair!?" Keruthien counters with a scoff of laughter, giving her a look for her returned haggling. Even so, he mulls over it, while nursing some more of that klah while it's still hot. "Mhm. Well, not every Smith will hear you out, especially if you come at 'em all vague about your business! AND, I'm asking for the price of questions, not actual marks," he teases lightly, and then sighs. "Alright, fine. So what's the job you got in mind?" Really, this was an easy win for her, because Ruthien is definitely too curious for his own good.

It might not be, but it seems like a fair enough deal to her. After all, it depends on what those questions end up being. Answers could be worth more than the marks with the right people in the right situations. "Seems fair enough," Katailea replies after he's agreed. "And I'm not sleeping in the barracks with most smiths." If she were actually going to a smith the request would likely not have been vague in the least. "I have a locket, but it won't stay closed anymore and a couple of the links on the chain are loose."

Keruthien lets out a long exhale, relief clear as day in his expression and the way his posture sags. "Oh! Is that all? And here I was getting all concerned you were gonna ask me for a dagger or something and I'd have to pry some hard details out of you." Namely? WHY. Lockets though? Much more reasonable. "Do you have it on you now? I could take a look. Sometimes the fix is easy enough and doesn't require too much fiddling or repairing the original."

Katailea laughs, "No, no daggers today," she teases as if to say if there's reason for one in the future she knows who to turn to. A nod then as she leans back and looks down for a moment to fish the piece of jewelry out of her pocket. Keeping it close but not wearing it least one of those links give out and she loses it. Its nothing terribly fancy, a fairly standard heart-shaped thing on the end of a simple chain. The somewhat tarnished gold in otherwise decent standing given its older than either of them. "Here," she says then, offering it over to the smith for inspection.

Smart decision! Keruthien holds out one of his long fingered hands and once the locket is secured, will bring it closer for inspection. He tests the links, making a few sounds under his breath in thoughtful scrutiny. "Hmm, these aren't too terribly damaged but will be the easy part in replacing. The locket…" he drifts off, inspecting it closer. "Is very old. Should be doable, though, if you're okay with the original metal being modified. Clasps are tricky that way! Are there images inside?" Without thinking, he goes to open it, even as he clarifies with her.

"I know," Katailea comments to the matter of it being old. That much is obvious even to her, but doable to fixing is good to hear. "You think so? I mean if you have to I guess that's fine. I'd rather have it close if it can be fixed." A nod for the question of images, "There's one," she confirms but doesn't comment on it any further as he takes his look. There is a picture in one side that's likely been there for as many turns as the locket itself is old. A rather handsome young man with a roguish smile, late teens or early twenties. The other side empty as she said.

Keruthien inspects the inside just as carefully and skillfully as the outside, mindful not to dislodge the picture within. That too is studied, as she doesn't seem to mind. His brows furrow for a moment and he seems to be fixated on that image for quite some time before his expression smooths out. Did he recognize the man? Probably not, but something might be nagging at him. The locket is closed - or as much as it will go. "Want me to hold on to this, then? I could probably finish this in the next day or so." If she can trust him with something so valuable! He grins, slow and mischievous-like. "So," he drags it out a bit. "Can I ask my questions now?"

Katailea doesn't question that look on the man's face as he inspects locket. He's just looking at what needs to be done. Right? Right. The locket does close, the clasp just won't keep it that way anymore. The blonde nods, "If you can have it done that quick, sure." He'll need it one way or the other to actually do the work to it. Trust… well she does know where he sleeps. Its that grin that has her casting him a look. She's totally going to regret these questions. Isn't she? "That was the deal."

Of course she's going to come to regret it! Keruthien chuckles, gently gathering the chain and locket properly and tucking it away safely in an inner pocket. She can at least have some comfort knowing that he's handled jewelry before and she won't get it back in even worse condition than before! "Alright, then." Down to business! He grabs his mug, tapping his fingers along side it and tracing the rim, all while staring directly at her. "How do you know D'had? Is he related to you, by blood or by marriage… not to YOU obviously but one of your relatives?" That's two questions! He's saving the third, of course.

Katailea is watching closely as its tucked away. There is that at least. And then they're staring at each other. He's thinking and she's waiting for what he's thinking and is this uncomfortable at all…? Just about to tell him to just ask something already and there it is. The questions so far from what she could have thought they might be. Confusion colors the question in the look she sends Keruthien, but she'll answer all the same. A deal is a deal. "I met him at my grandpa's funeral. I see him once a turn maybe when we're near the Weyr he's stationed at," she replies to the first question, and for the second. "I'm not." The burning question however, "Why?" Because really, what's it to him that she happens to know some old rider.

"Huh… Your grandfather's funeral?" Cue a look on Keruthien's face as he tries to figure out any potential lineage lines there (it's like that classic meme, y'know). Only he doesn't have enough of the pieces and so there's no immediate match in his head. There's an exhaled breath, a shake of his head and a rueful smile. "Because he's my grandfather. So you knowing him, made me wonder if we weren't related somehow. Cousins, maybe or, y'know… half-siblings! My family is all sorts of extended, so…" His shoulders lift in a shrug, hands splaying helplessly.

Katailea is still trying to figure out where he's going with all this. A shrug lifting her shoulders as she lifts her own glass to her lips to take a drink, but not before sneaking in the comment "He's a good kisser." Because that's what comes to mind? Really?!? At the revelation of who D'had is to the man across from here there's an "Oh," as she sets down her glass. Oops? Sorry Keruthien, was that too much? She's unapologetic however. "Well no," a shake of her head to being related, but that question was already answered.

Wrong time to be drinking klah! Keruthien had taken a healthy swig from his mug, while waiting on Katailea's answer. Only he's probably got the wrong idea, AGAIN, but that doesn't stop him from choking a little as he sputters in surprise! Luckily for them all, he can hold it in and doesn't end up dribbling klah everywhere. Still, he's coughing and trying to catch his breath, all while speaking rather incredulously. "You KISSED my grandfather!?" WHAT!? "You're like… You're YOUNGER THAN I AM!" Because that's the issue here! TO HIM. "Then… then how do you know him? If you're not related but he seems to know your grandfather? Friend of the family, then?" Is that it?

Was that TMI? Katailea can't help but laugh even as she's asking "Are you okay?" Please don't choke! Yes, she did do that thing so she can only shrug and smile unabashed. "I was sixteen. It seemed like a good idea at the time, I didn't think he'd actually kiss back. It's not like I slept with him." Oh so innocently said, and yet.. not. There is that, it could have been worse. "And that's three questions," the blonde concludes with a smug grin. It might have been better if she were able to answer that last question with a no, but she did manage to steal that last question from him. As to the how, since she already answered that one, "I told you, I met him at my grandfather's funeral. I guess so." Friend of the family is the only thing that makes sense.

Keruthien waves off her concern. He's fine, he's fine! Except for the way all his mental thoughts have come to a SCREECHING halt. Katailea definitely wins the 'how to break Ruthien's mind' award! Especially when she admits to it. His mouth drops open, gaping at her in utter astonishment. "But… why!?" It can't be helped, he's kind of frozen on repeat while staring at her blankly. Eventually, he'll snap himself out of it, scoff in nervous laughter and just peer at her sidelong. "Alright, then!" No more questions? HE HAS SO MANY! Chasing down a lingering cough with the last of his klah, he'll shake his head and get to his feet. "I gotta go get cleaned up and maybe get started on your locket." Which is making him WONDER NOW! Thanks a lot, Katailea. "Two days, tops. Okay?"

Katailea shrugs, still grinning for the smith's reaction. At least she's not saying any more on that experience. "I really don't know, Keruthien." How his grandfather knows her family. "If he's your grandfather you seem pretty lucky to me." Of course he has questions! Who wouldn't after that? The deal was three questions though, and he ran out. Doesn't mean he can't ask more, just that she's not contracted to answer them. Your welcome! "Okay," she agrees to the timeline for the work on that locket with a nod.

"I dunno about the lucky part!" Keruthien's speaking broadly of his whole family and not just the one connection. He's never really been shy at admitting his family has… issues. "Alright, we've got a deal then! I'll keep it safe. Don't you worry!" He's probably going to take her little CONFESSION to his grave too! With a parting shake of his head and a lopsided, small smile. "Later! Enjoy your breakfast." He needs to go clean up and… maybe scrub his thoughts while at it.

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