Meeting Mishaps

Xanadu Weyr - Garden
An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place.
On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.
Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.
The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also alluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic.

There are certainly plenty of other places in Xanadu to swim than this little garden fish pond. The lake, the sea, maybe a few creeks and rivers even, but that doesn't change the fact that at this very moment, a clearly white knotted individual has rolled up her pants to the knees and splashing her way through the pond with the single minded determination of a woman on a mission, not the joyful splashing of a recreational jaunt. The fish certainly don't welcome this intrusion, orange and white scales flicking in the light as they dart for cover. Only once Rhodelia reaches the water lilies does the woman slow down with an "Ahhh-hah!" The sound of victory as she reaches for a white, possibly feathered or maybe not creature that somehow got entangled all in the mess. Just a normal late afternoon sight in the gardens, right?

Normal for Xanadu! Though not so highly unusual. It’s been awhile since he has much time to wander through the Weyr. Usually there isn’t much in the way of wiggle room when on official business. So it’s a haphazard guess if that’s what drew Fort’s Weyrleader here this time or if it was of a more personal vein or both. Tricky thing, that! Th’ero has finished his self imposed tour of the greenhouse, likely startling a few of the workers in there when they recognized his knot and its colors. He’s alone too, which is odd in itself but not worrisome! Or is it!? What’s he playing at? Having rounded yet another corner, he’ll spy Rhodelia splashing through the waters. It has him slowing his pace, then pausing, to observe with a cool indifference (it’s curiosity, honest). His greying hair has been brushed back, with some strands braided and tied at the back of his head to keep the unruly mess more… stylish. His well groomed, however and, despite the sombre-note of his near all black riding leathers, there’s nothing too terrifying about him — just imposing.

Worrisome or not, Rhodelia will bask happily for at least another moment more as she tucks the not a creature, but a very wooden avian look alike under her arm. When she turns around and spots that silent observer has appeared without her notice, she does startle back slightly, but not even a full jump. This is a public space after all and some people being around should be half expected, even if she had been splashing too loudly to notice their arrival before hand. Even if she hasn't gotten a good glimpse of the knot yet, the all black riding leathers in the heat of summer and that air of sombre-ness certainly clues her in on something as she wades her way back. "I'm sorry if you were hear to feed the fish, sir. I think they'll be back before too long though?" They are fish after all, they can't really be expected to go very far, just hiding for cover at the moment.

Ugh. Fish. The thought alone has Th’ero unintentionally wrinkling his nose slightly in disapproval, along with a rather grim set of his lips that vanishes when he exhales heavily. Tension dissipates a little, as he relents slightly. She IS a Candidate, after all (and he’s not blind to miss the knot). “No.” he states bluntly, to the point, with a heartbeat length pause before he adds, a little more tactfully. “Thank you.” There’s no way to miss the way he scrutinizes her either, from head to toe, as though already making his judgements of her character in those mere seconds of interaction. “Why…” Just a slight note of hesitation, as though weighing whether he truly wishes to venture down this conversation; thus, the rest is said with an air of tiredness and subtle exasperation. “Were you in the pond?”

If the mere thought of fish made the man wrinkle his nose, he should definitely be glad he's wearing boots and not stepping bare, wet feet into the ground where countless avians have DEFINITELY pooped at one point or another. Luckily, its all been covered over enough so it just looks like regular dirt, and Rhodelia steps right into it without flinching as she walks back over to where she left her own sandals. The benches might be too far away, but she settles on a conveniently placed rock to try and dust off as much dirt from her soles as she can with her hand, well worn duck decoy resting at her feet. "I had to reclaim my pet, sir." She gives a tap to the duck's noggin. "Wouldn't want Leirith disappointed in me." The foreign bronzerider might be not from around here, but Th'ero should have enough experience to know what Leirith ideas lead too…

“Ah,” There’s definitely familiarity in that singular response from Th’ero, even before the rest is voiced dryly. “Of course this would be her idea.” Does he have experience with Leirith? It stands to reason that… yes, he might’ve had some encounters. ONCE IS ENOUGH! Velokraeth finds it all very entertaining, by the way! But something still isn’t adding up and as a man of logic? He’s got to ask the obvious: “So how did your…” Ugh. His smile is a touch strained. “…pet, end up in the pond? Did you place it there?” It’s obviously a decoy avian and logically they are in water or places where avians gather. She said it was “hers” however, so he is seeking to figure out how it ended up OUT of her possession. Even if some part of his mind is grumbling that he really should be going about different business.

Could it really have been anybody else's idea? As for the how the fake-avian got in the home for real avians, Rhodelia has an eyeroll. Not for the man in front of her, but rather the memory of those folks unseen. "I may have trusted in a really unreliable 'pet-sitter' when I had to attend to some office paperwork." And filing other unsuitable things out of the paperwork, thanks STEFYR. But finally her shoes are on her feet and she's looking up and the very delayed reaction as her eyes settle on that knot. She's been a candidate enough times for it to be an instantly familiar one. The steps of recognition are visible as her eyes widen, a brief bout of horror which is knocked aside as she jumps up. "Ohhh… shiii-shard—- Sorry, Sir! You weren't here for a meeting, were you?" She may be holding her breath hoping with all hope that the man was in fact not waiting on a meeting she may or may not have scheduled appropriately.

Office paperwork? That earns her a furrowed brow-look from Th’ero as he mulls that tidbit over beneath his otherwise expressionless features. THANKFULLY they’re not actually in the offices where certain items are being unsorted because there’d be some painful staring and blunt questioning (or just disapproving stares). “Or they had the sense to return the item to its rightful place?” It’s sarcasm, masquerading as blunt honesty. He doesn’t get it. Of course he doesn’t get it! It takes him half a day to warm up to the concept of ‘fun at random’. Unless it’s mud wrestling! But only at festivals. Then recognition seems to strike Rhodelia and Th’ero keeps himself from sighing again and merely lets her work through it. Don’t worry, he’s just perfectly content to patiently wait there! “I was, in fact, but never mind that.” Because he’s already got severall ideas of how that got mixed up and yes, he’s enough of an asshole to be judgemental (or just not surprised anymore). Xanadu just had a Leadership shuffle! It happens. Th’ero just happens to be one of those types who expect some normalcy after a standard set of time. “It gave me the chance to explore some new venues…” He turns just enough to nod towards the greenhouse, to make it the example.

"I think it belongs in a trash heap, in all honesty," Rhodelia picks up the duck which has DEFINITELY seen better days despite the ugly-duckling tranformation someone tried to give it, this duck is definitely still a duck and not a swan. "But beats having the spiderclaw with the knife stuck to it. Again." Where does Leirith keep finding these things? It's a question for the ages. She winces at the confirmation that the man had been waiting for a meeting that she's almost certain was not in the greenhouse. "I think there had been an unexpected call out to Hannista Hold this morning… Risal- err, the weyrwoman should be back any moment." Damn those Hannistans and their needy ways even if they totally haven't called the Weyr in a sevenday. She does pick up on the nod towards the greenhouse and gives a nod. "It's winter back in Fort, right? The farmers seem excited for the concept of winter for once. Want to see how big hothouse grown produce will actually be in the cold months." An experiment that can only be brought about with time. "If you would like, I could show you the way to the caverns or the Treetop Cafe until our Weyrleaders return?" Look at her being official and trying to desperately stall for time. Sorry, bosses. She can only delay Weyrleading Weyr-father-in-laws official business for so long.

Th’ero just keeps himself grimly expressionless under Rhodelia’s tale of having a spiderclaw with a knife once (secretly, he probably approves of that more than the decoy avian)! He’ll bite his tongue on further comment, because it’s not his place to make comments on how things are run; at least, not to Rhodelia’s ears. He’ll save that FUN for Risali and R’hyn, later … or not. His eyes narrow, brow furrowing deeply before he nods. Her reasoning has been accepted, albeit dryly! “If they’re preoccupied with that business, then there’s no need to hurry it along. Hold relations are important.” Which he knows all too well and the burden of fostering good political relationships. “Yes, it is.” he replies bluntly on Fort’s current season, though he at least seems vaguely interested in the rest that she shares. It’s hard to say if he’s tucking that information away or not! “I’d rather not venture anywhere too crowded.” For reasons he doesn’t elaborate on. “Perhaps you could lead me to the Archives? I would not mind waiting there.” Is that a trap? Maybe it is. He doesn’t give a single hint to any internal thoughts or emotions, aside from a cool, detached, look that lingers on her.

Careful just how that message is delivered or Th'ero might find himself the proud new owner of an armed spiderclaw or some other equally terrifying pet. There may be a few to spare. Rhodelia nods seriously as the probably fictitious excuse seems to be working, while she tucks the duck under one arm and awkwardly rotates between trying to put the other behind her back or on her hip before eventually settling into a pocket. "I do know the way." To the archives that is! "And I'm pretty sure the harpers will have finished the morning lessons so relatively quiet as well." There may need to be some finagling of the archivists in order to get a tray of refreshments allowed in, but those wheels are already turning in her head even as she tilts her head towards the path back. "This way?"

Dipping his head shallowly but respectfully, Th’ero will allow Rhodelia to take the ‘lead’, while he follows alongside her but a half pace behind. His hands come to fold behind his back, as they walk leisurely from the gardens and the wonders of the new greenhouse. “That would be ideal,” he agrees, about the finished lessons and potential quiet the Archives will offer. Normally, business would conclude and their walk to the Weyr proper would be one of silence. Instead, Th’ero will broach conversation once again. “There is one favour I wouldn’t mind asking of you, if time allows?”

Quiet though the start of the walk might be, that doesn't stop Rhodelia from nearly constantly looking over her shoulder to verify that their visitor is still there. There's not sneak about the glances either, obvious enough one might wonder if she'll get a crick in her neck. When the weyrleader actually brings up a question, she pauses mid-stride. "A favor? I'm sure I can find some time?" As bad as this assistant might be about letting some meetings slip, she does have enough practice at rearranging a day's duties to fit in the unexpected after all.

Th’ero adjusts his stride when Rhodelia pauses, so they don’t awkwardly collide with each other. Stepping slightly to the side, he’ll look distantly pleased that she’s agreeable to his sudden request. Which will become rapidly clear that he’s intending to use her as a messenger runner. How… delightful? “While I don’t expect you to know all your fellow Candidates well,” he’s speaking logically and half through assumption. “There is one among you I’d like to speak with. If you could fetch Keruthien for me?” GOOD LUCK, Rhodelia and do NOT mention it’s Th’ero looking for him! Ruthien knows better. Ruthien will hide and make her task a living hell! “I would appreciate it. It’s a matter of family business.” In case she was wondering and not that he was weirdly responsible for something cross-Weyr.

The eyebrow that raises as soon as Keruthien's name is mentioned definitely speaks to Rhodelia knowing that particular candidate. While she might have questions about what this need to talk with him might be, she's also wise enough not to actually voice them. The assistant gives a very firm nod before resuming her stride and leading the way to the archives. "If he is where I think he is, I should probably be able to get him to the Archives before Risali and R'hyn may be back." Or you know, they may actually awkwardly run into either weyrleader in the administration hallway and not returning from a hold visit. Either way, there will be people.

Wouldn’t that be awkward and lead to some LOOKS from Th’ero! Perhaps luck will spare Rhodelia this time and fall out of favour more so with an unsuspecting Keruthien. Can she do it, though? Send him obliviously to his “fate”? Stay tuned! Satisfied, he nods his head and gestures in a ‘shall we’ manner with one hand. “Good. You have my thanks, Candidate.” His voice is as dry as ever, his expression stoic and there will be no further prompting from him as they continue on. Rhodelia can certainly try for some conversation and he will answer; brisk and to the point, but… he’s not such an ass as to ignore her.

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