A Greenrider, A Candidate and a Harper Enter a Cafe...

Xanadu Weyr - Rustic Treetop Cafe
Perched on the cliff overlooking Xanadu's beach is a gnarled and massive skybroom tree. The bark and outer layers are sturdy enough to support the thriving, brushy top, but the interior, which is hollow, contains a spiral staircase that leads to a cafe built on a high platform amongst the branches. With a panoramic view of lake, sky, Weyr and the mountains beyond, the treetop eatery offers both sheltered seating just inside the trunk and tables on the wide deck that encircles the old tree.

The cafe's decor is comfortable and rustic, but closer inspection shows the smallest embellishments to be artfully combined into one detailed masterpiece. The wood of the doors, floor and walls of the trunk have been stained a dark mahogany that lends the space a sense of intimacy. Tables in various sizes have been carved to mimic driftwood, the chairs and benches padded with oiled sailcloth cushions to provide weather-proof comfort. Each table has an aged brass lantern filled with shells and agates gathered from Xanadu's shores, the sparkling natural mosaics holding tapered candles upright in their embrace. Lamps hang from the ceiling on silver poles, the thick frosted glass carved into intricate pastel shells or swirling white-capped waves. At night the colored glass softens the glowlight to enhance the ambience.

During the day, the retractable doors allow leaf-spattered sunlight to fill both the outer deck and the smaller interior with green and gold light, as well as allowing pleasant breezes to cool the interior. On clear nights, farviewers perch on the elaborately carved railing are free for use to enhance the gorgeous view of the stars over the Caspian Lake, the Sea of Azov beyond and the rock formations of the Weyr.

The Rustic Treetop Cafe has beautiful views of Xanadu on any day that Xanadu has beautiful views to offer, but one of the most perfect times of day is sunset. The panoramic view offers the avid beauty-lover a fine view of painted skies, tonight a rather spectacular display with the streaks and puffs of clouds to break up that big stretch of sky. This beauty is likely what has brought a certain young woman whose hair is rather reminiscent of some of the colors being cast in the sky. She's settled at one of the tables with the best vantage, slippered feet on an adjoining chair, though there seem to be no shortage just by Tejra despite the choice location. It may be that the guard firelizards not even yet half-grown that patrol the table's top are responsible for this dearth of company, or perhaps it's just their sometimes prickly mistress' charms doing their best work. She looks harmless enough, ignoring the blue and green babies that scrabble over top of each other, tussling on driftwood tabletop, while her pale gaze rests on the horizon, arms loosely slung across her chest as she leans back in her chair, the image of lazy repose.

There are some people who simply /will/ not be dissuaded by rogue firelizards. N'on, it appears, is among their number. He wanders back toward the tables with the better view, eyes largely locked on that view except the occasional necessary break to avoid running into things. It's just one of those glances when he spots Tejra, and his mind is apparently made up. His adjusts his path to as close to a beeline as other tables will allow, and without bothering to stop for permission, plops himself into a chair at her table. At least he has the good grace to give a friendly little smile and wave.

Trying to avoid things, and people, who might be in the way of getting to a place with a better view. That seems to be the objective of more than one visitor to the cafe this evening as Katailea skirts her way around the tables in a path that brings her nearer to where N'on has invited himself to join Tejra. If she's blocking anyone's view when she finds a place to stop, she hasn't realized it but then a glance takes in closer surroundings and the blonde sends a smile towards the pair. Hey! She knows one of them at least.

Tejra's pale gaze hooks on N'on as soon as she turns her head at the sound of his weight hitting a chair. It also comes with sudden hisses from both firelizards, still completely entangled with each other so of absolutely no real threat, cute as kittens trying to be fierce, at the rider's sudden proximity. "Hey," is not to N'on, but to the firelizards, one of her hands stretching out to hook into some part of the middle of their mess to wiggle them to distract them into docile state. Being as how her hand is about half the length of each one and she's clearly the one they look to, the technique works tolerably well, bringing their focus back to each other even as the redhead tells them in her melodic purr, "Be nice. We're glad to see N'on is still among the living after his brush with plague, or worse." The words are provided an appropriately dramatic intonation. "Did you suffer any ill-effect?" She lifts her voice in question to the greenrider but lets her eyes slide over to the next new arrival, who earn the brief ire of the pair of three month old firelizards only to be re-settled by the woman's graceful hand tickling soft bellies. "Candidate," she offers in greeting, though the word has a funny edge that might be a touch of mockery.

N'on can't help a deep amusement at Tejra's dramatization, and even rolls his eyes a little. He makes a little thumbs up sign at her, then looks up toward the third person to invade the space. Katailea is offered a little wave, a welcoming gesture whether intentional or not, and starts pulling out his notepad to write a note. A greeting for either woman? Nope! His order. Gotta be prepared in a cafe, you guys.

"Hi," its a simple greeting that Katailea sends to the pair of them, a hand lifting in a brief wave in return to N'on's. The woman tone in the title she uses to address her earns perhaps a slight look, but if it came across as mockery the blonde chooses, for present, to ignore it. And while she might have asked after the greenrider further given the other woman's previous comments, the response he's already given seems to be enough and finds the blonde turning her gaze back towards that view, if only for the moment.

N'on's notepad draws Tejra's attention as he brings it out and then her lips purse, eyes fluttering shut so that her eyes aren't allowed to roll where anyone can see them doing it, and then she opens them to fix a bemused look on the greenrider. Her eyes go from the greenrider, to the candidate and back, and back again. Amusement builds in her fine-featured face and then she simply reaches out to scoop up the tangled firelizard ball and draw the pair closer, starting to help untangle limb from tail and so on. Really, this silence could go on. And on. And on. But Tejra can't seem to resist. "Three weyrfolk settle in for a lovely spell in the weirdest tree during the prettiest sunset and they talk about…?" She looks from one to the other of her new companions. "I've started us off. Someone else's job to fill in the blank."

N'on glances up from his note to find Tejra watching him, and his head tilts just a touch. Tej seems to bring out the canine in N'on… Nevertheless, he finishes up the note, tears it out, and leaves it on the edge of the table for when it's needed. Then, his attention is fully on his new dinner companions. He glances between the two women a couple of times, and then signs to Tejra, "Ask her how archery goes." The pronoun is a point to Katailea, so she will at least know she's being… talked about? Or at least that the crazy man is pointing at her. You know, one of the above.

Katailea only made the journey from else-weyr for the view? She wasn't planing on meeting either of them up here, or anyone in particular for that matter. It's certainly not that she's shy that she hasn't struck up conversation already. Perhaps it just wasn't thought of until Terja's prompting, but then N'on is pointing. Pointing at her. "What did I do now?" she ask, a hint of exasperation in the words. Because well, all she knows is the pointing and that's the conclusion she jumps to.

"Auch," is a sound of mingled, possibly feigned annoyance and disgust. "You're going to make me work at dinner?" Nevermind that Tejra has no food despite being here the longest. The narrow-eyed look she shoots to N'on has a playful edge to it, like she might still be that feline poking the puppy's nose. "Fine," comes with a flourish of her hands in the air as she pulls her feet off the spare chair and sits up straighter. She puts elbows on either side of the firelizards who twine lazily over and around each arm while her fingers bridge and her chin come to rest atop them. She addresses Katailea, "The lazy greenrider says to ask you how your archery is going, candidate," this time the word 'candidate' gets a funny roll on the redhead's tongue: can-did-date. Maybe it's just fun to say that way. "Which I take to mean you're learning?" She adds her own inquiry with lifted brows before she shoots a look over at N'on and reiterates to him in just a mouthed word without sound, 'La-a-zy.'

N'on rolls his eyes at Tejra, and he just might let it go… Except then she calls him lazy. Twice. With a smirk, he pulls his notebook over and scrawls out a quick note, tears it out, and passes it to her. "Rude to pass notes at the dinner table. Also: you asked for conversation." Right about that time, a waitress comes by to take orders. The greenrider might well be a regular at the cafe, since the waitress doesn't seem at all put off by being passed a note. At last, N'on turns his attention back to Katailea, waiting to hear the answer to his question. However passive-aggressively it was translated.

Katailea shifts a look from the woman to the greenrider as she references him and then back to her given the follow-up question. "Oh." Its a simple statement to acknowledge that it wasn't what she initially might have thought. A shrug follows as part of her answer, "Okay, I guess. Hitting the target more." Even if every arrow is still outside all of the rings painted on it. No one needs to know that though, right? "He was trying to teach me," a nod towards the greenrider to indicate her instructor. For the waitress there's a shake of her head. She doesn't need anything, thanks.

"Faranth," Tej swears as she squints at N'on's note. The server doesn't even look her way so they must already have done the song and dance about what she did or didn't want. "We're in a Weyr, and passing notes at the dinner table is the point of etiquette you're worried about?" She lifts her expressive brows and stares at the greenrider for a full five count before sighing and straightening a new. She turns to the greenrider and with an expression smoothed to neutrality, she offers, "My apologies." For what exactly, she doesn't say, but her more animated expression does not reappear even as she listens attentively to the candidate's response. "I saw him with game in the forest. It seems good evidence of being a worthy teacher." The words are so professionally diplomatic all of a sudden. There's no sign in her expression or demeanor that they are anything but genuine from the knotless Harper though.

N'on grins at Tej a little, and shrugs just so innocently. He is very polite ok! But then Tej has to go and get all serious all of a sudden. It throws the greenrider for a bit of a loop, but he recovers gamely, and looks back to Katailea. She gets a thumbs up, but then he's distracted again by a glance to Tej. "You don't need to work," he signs, quickly. "Joke." He reaches for his notebook to start scrawling a note. This one is destined for Katailea, and reads: "It's good. When your arms get stronger, I'll get you a heavier bow."

Katailea raises a brow as she looks between the two. Passing notes is a thing? … She's not going to start that conversation though. "Well," she starts instead given Tejra's evidence, "Guess I picked the right person to ask." Even if the whole thing was a completely unplanned request. The note passed her way sees her taking a step closer to the table to make it an easier reach. Its read and handed back or at least left back to the table. "Maybe. If I'm here that long."

Tejra's lips part in a smile that doesn't reach her eyes but otherwise seems wholly, convincingly real and levels this look on N'on after she reads his note. "There's a long history of people preferring me when I'm working." Is there ever. Is it really any wonder? The Harper wouldn't be everyone's idea of a good time. The redhead's attention strays from the greenrider to the green firelizard snuggled on one of her biceps and she shifts it to small complaints so that she can free one arm and fish up a small basket from where it was hidden by her feet. There's a little cushion inside and once the basket is in her lap, that's where that young green is going, followed by her blue compatriot. "Planning to move on after the hatching if there's no lucky egg for you, then?" She directs the still polite inquiry to the candidate, although there's a little edge of her former humor there, too. A little less painfully polite.

N'on might have had more questions about Katailea's answer, but if so, he doesn't ask them. He just gives what is probably meant to be a reassuring smile, as he folds his arms on the edge of the table. Awkard N'on is awkward. Luckily (and to his visible relief), the waitress returns with a glass of something probably alcoholic, and once she's gone again, he has a gulp.

"Probably," Katailea replies simply to the question, a glance turning back to that sunset. "I mean, that's really the only reason I'm here now." So why wouldn't she move once those eggs hatch if, as Tejra put it, there's no lucky egg for her. It doesn't seem to be a thought that hits her anyway other than truth, except perhaps that glance if one were to try and read into it. Returning her attention to those at the table with a smile and a shrug.

Tejra is capable of being cruel. She really is. She watches N'on under her lashes while she listens to Katailea, probably taking in all that awkwardness. Tonight, evidently, she can find in herself some small measure of mercy, for she shifts the basket to rest on one thigh instead of both and leans to touch his shoulder briefly, leaning toward him to offer an unapologetic but possibly helpful murmurs of, "I'm more fun when I'm not working, but there are trade-offs. A sense of humor is one of them." So if he wants casual Tej, he might have to suffer her idea of playfulness. (DON'T DO IT, N'ON. YOU'RE BETTER OFF WITH THE HARPER MASK.) She lifts her basket to the table top, rearranging blue from where green was shoving on her fellow with a hind foot, giving them each their own pocket of space on the pillow. "And where will you go back to when it's done?" The inquiry is still polite as it's directed at Katailea, but a feline smile steals across her lips as she adds, "I've been recommending Bitra for those who like risks as a destination. It's lovely this time of the turn." Arguably, the sense of humor is not worth it in the trade.

N'on looks puzzled for a long moment, then glances to his notes and grows rather thoughtful. Slowly, he takes another sip of his drink while looking over one of them in particular. Then, with a certain deliberation, he picks up his pencil and gets to work writing another note. He passes it solemnly back to Tejra. "Some liars have said I do have a sense of humor." Then his gaze wanders back to Katailea. Something she says causes whatever glint of humor in his eyes to vanish, and he returns to scrawl a quicker note and pass it over to the Candidate. "No family here? Friends?"

The banter between the two, mostly from Tejra, finds an amused smirk. "Haven't ever been to Bitra," Katailea chooses that to comment on first however as if she might actually be considering that as her final destination. And yet not, as evidenced by her addition of "Don't know that I will, but thanks for the recommendation." Whether or not said recommendation was sincere. The candidate shrugs as she leans to rest her hands on the back of that empty chair where the harper's feet rested earlier, "Family's probably halfway to Big Bay by now, meet up with them somewhere there abouts," she adds with no commitment to any particular port, which serves to answer both the question of where she'll go and if there's family. As to the friends portion of N'on's inquiry, "I've met plenty of people here."

She gasps upon reading N'on's note. There goes the Harper mask. YOU HAVE CHOSEN YOUR FATE, N'ON. GOOD LUCK WITH IT. Tejra looks horrified by whatever the note contains. "They would say that? About you?" She clutches the note to her chest dramatically. "You poor duck." She clicks her tongue in obvious, overdone sympathy. Then she looks at the paper sliding in the direction of the candidate, brows lifting but not prying; just as she didn't share her note, she doesn't expect Katailea to share hers in turn. But Kate provides more clues to the attentive redhead about content than Tejra's misleading reaction did for the reverse. "You should go." She encourages despite the blonde's beg off. "To Bitra. Sometime. Everyone should. It's an experience not to be missed. Gather time especially. Have you been?" is last asked of N'on, in case he's missing the experience, too. "Some people here are boring," Tej observes in non sequitur style, since that's not a thread of conversation she's completely in tune with. Darn all those notes that leave people in the dark.

Tejra's theatrics are met with a dry smirk from N'on, though a sparkle in his eye suggests he doesn't mind so much. Katailea's response is met with a little nod. Tejra just earns herself a shake of the head in negative. He's just about to go back to the note-writing, however unwieldy the dual conversations might be, but just as his pencil touches paper, he freezes with that far-off look riders sometimes get. When blinks back to awareness, he smiles and signs an apology. He doesn't even linger for an explanation. He just nudges his unfinished beverage across the table in case one of the ladies wants it, leaves a mark behind to pay, and makes a hasty retreat. Presumably (hopefully), there's some Dragon Business that needs tending.

Katailea's gaze flicks between the two of them at Tejra's reaction to whatever it was that the note slid her way reads. "Say what?" Like that reaction wouldn't have her curious and trying to crane her neck just a bit to see if she can't catch a glance at it. Ah well. She may never know unless one of them decides to clue her in on that part. N'on's sudden departure sees a look following him that's part question, part concern. "Hopefully everything's okay?" half comment, half question still as she turns her attention back to Tejra if she might have more information on the reasons. "I should probably be going too," because certainly there's somewhere she's supposed to be soon. "But I'll think about it," Bitra that is. She probably won't. "I'll see you around." That said she's turning to head on her way.

Tejra's pale gaze follows the departing rider and then the candidate. And to her firelizards since no one else is left to admire her wit (if anyone ever did), she murmurs simply, "And then there was one." Not a good punchline for her opening joke, but what can you do.

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