The Ominous Chamber of Questionable Devices

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.

It's that after-lunch chore block of time, when even crafter candidates might be expected to, as the hatching grows nearer and people move into the barracks, actually act like candidates. Ajral is toeing the line by using her "second highest ranked healer at the Weyr" hat to coordinate a chore, which she then plans to actually participate in: but it allows her to choose her army. Therefore she's asked a series of people she actually trusts to come help her clean a specific storeroom — having ended up with Averil, Shiloh, the original compatriot Lyubomir whose idea this was, and a couple of other people. Now that she has a lacquered keyring, it's much easier to find the Mysterious Chamber of Healing Secrets' correct key and get everyone in the room. It's got some antique-looking large surgical instruments, a lot of bottles of things that are probably poison, and LAYERS OF DUST except where a lamp and some bottles were recently moved (then there's only one layer of dust). "Thanks, guys," Ajral breathes as she leads the way in with a mop and bucket.

It's Return to the Mysterious Chamber of Healing Secrets! Lyubomir is prepared this time, with a pair of feather dusters holstered in a toolbelt that's been replaced with pouches and bags of cleaning supplies. He's also lugging along a couple of spare buckets full of water; he might not be on mopping duty, but he's doing his best! "It somehow looks worse than last time," he observes with a faint pull to one corner of his mouth in a wry half-smile. "The dust is multiplying."

If Shiloh's side-eyeing all that surgical equipment, it's probably because it's creepy AF (and, well, he did just tour a very creep AF haunted house recently. That might have something to do with it, too). But at least there's no fear. Just a heavy dose of skepticism and a lot of questions that will remain unspoken. Is cleaning out a storage room better than mucking stalls? Probably. It's likely why he agreed to this task, when he might have otherwise wormed his way out of it. But here he is, eyeing up questionable bottles of poison(!?) and antique torture devices and the heavy layer of dust over everything. "Sure," is his almost-dry reply to Ajral's thanks.

Averil has actually opted to dress appropriately for this. Well, relatively speaking. While he's not wearing a skirt, he is wearing a pair of fawn colored, wide-legged Culottes that pretty much look, and act, like skirt and a short-sleeved, off the shoulder shirt in a loose, flowy cotton. Not, admittedly, ideal for cleaning /anything/ but he's an artist. Course, the moment they step into the storeroom, he comes to a halt, one brow arching mildly as he slants a glance at Shiloh before eyeing Ajral. "This looks suspiciously like one of the rooms in the Haunt."

"… it does?" Ajral has been in that terrible house before but only once long ago, and it's probably fair to say she doesn't remember anything at all. She's been having enough nightmares from touching eggs (even if she kind of enjoys that). "That's — I'm not sure if that's surprising or not, actually." One shoulder shrugs, though the matching eyebrow did not raise. "The part where the inside of the Haunt has a room that looks like this. The dust multiplying … doesn't surprise me, because that would figure. Sorry it's — what it is," she adds, "At least we aren't using most of this stuff anymore." That's uplifting! They are totally still using the poisons and other weird bottled dried plants though. Most of which are labeled DO NOT EAT. Or just DO NOT OPEN. Diving into the task, she starts moving the big stuff over to one corner so she can get at the floor … or trying to. She's kind of got noodle arms, but she's making any impact at all!

Patch and Kludge are sent off with a pair of cloths and some firm mental directions on what to do with them. Odds remain good that the pair will make a nest and nap somewhere, rather than clean up, but that's a risk that Lyu is willing to take. He glances to Shiloh and Averil with a slight nod, then sniffs once as he surveys the space. "I guess it'd be scary to some people," he reckons, re: the Haunt and this Ominous Chamber of Questionable Devices. He takes a moment to calculate an attack plan for the space, but all of that is derailed when Ajral hits an early roadblock with the corner over there. With the buckets set aside and out of the way, he treks over to help haul the biggest, heaviest things out of the way.

Shiloh is very under prepared for this task. But he did bring a rag! It was probably collected along the way, but will serve the purpose of dusting (he might try to borrow some of that soapy water if he can manage it). The rag is currently tucked into a back pocket, ready at a moment's notice, but for now he's reaching for Avi instead. "A little bit," he agrees, for the similarity to the Haunt. "No blood here, tho." THAT THEY KNOW OF. He eyes the shelves of containers, an eyebrow lofted for those 'do not open' labels. "You want me to pick things up to clean under it, or… just kinda clean around these things?" he asks, eyeing Ajral as she goes to move boxes. Since Lyu's already heading over to assist, he'll just stick with starting on the tall things, since he's got a bit of height to him. "See if you can find an empty box," is offered to Avi. "Maybe we can put these things in somethin' while I wipe the shelves."

"It absolutely does," Avi breathes to Ajral as he glances around the space— that he's half expecting to find a body on a gurney? A thought he will just keep to himself, mostly. It's there in his eyes as he slants another glance at the beastcrafter before twisting his hair up into a knot at the back of his head. Course, the thought of touching /anything/, when he has no idea what anything is, is a little bit daunting. He's watching Ajral, though, his expression curious. "Shouldn't we clean top to bottom? You know… since dirt will just fall from up high?" Which is promptly followed with, "It's /terrifying/," to Lyu. "The Haunt." Just in case that was unclear. "Yet," is added to Shiloh with a wry smile. "No blood, yet." Cause WHO KNOWS WHAT COULD HAPPEN? Course, he's promptly turning around to locate an empty box, nudging it a few times with the toe of his sandals before daring to pick it up and carry it back to Shiloh. The up high stuff? Not something he can handle without a ladder.

Ajral is not the master of knowing how to clean things, but it seems like Averil might be, because she turns to look at him and smiles. It's not a creepy grin, but it is a bright and appreciative smile! "Oh! Yes. I think that makes a lot more sense, actually," comes with a nod, and, "Though for those of us who aren't as tall," she's tall, but for a woman which means at least one person here is still taller, "We will probably need to stand on stuff. There should be equally dusty folded stools over by the back. If there's any blood, someone screwed up majorly and is in trouble …" Because she wouldn't know who it was, she trails off. Especially since any blood would be horrendously old and kind of oxidized by now. Ew. Now she's in search of the dusty stools, which can get un-dusted and used to reach things (and clean the top of things) at the same time.

"Top to bottom, yeah." Agreement chimed in as support for both Avi and Ajral, with a nod to Shiloh. "Probably just dust and dirt in here. I can't imagine Healers putting bloody things in here." Blood in jars, maybe? But that's neither here nor there, isn't it? Besides, Ajral's confirming his thoughts and he grunts assent. "I haven't been to the Haunt yet this turn, but I'll try to." With things moved out of the way, he ventures on to find some shelves in dire need of a thorough dusting and tidying. Somewhere, Patch and Kludge are producing dust clouds and squabbling over- well, something squeaky. That's way over there, though, toward the back. It's fine. Everything's fine. (Lyubomir)

A nod of Shiloh's head accompanies his, "there, see?" in support of Ajral's assertion that there should be no blood. "Just dust." And questionable instruments and suspicious jars. Nothing to worry about! Box brought, Shiloh is careful in his picking up and handing off of those jars, eyeing each one for a moment before passing it to Avi (presumably to pack. And probably dust first). "It's… interesting." Yes. Interesting. The perfect word for that creepy place. "Not for the faint of heart." It's more observation than warning. Perhaps Shiloh doesn't believe Ajral or Lyubomir would fall into that category? "But interesting, all the same."

Averil dips his chin in a quick nod to Ajral. "Shiloh's mom, Mae, taught me how to clean properly," he admits. Fortunately, he has become very adept at cleaning, particularly since visiting Shiloh's family's ranch and helping the beastcrafter's mother. Still, he's moving along in Shiloh's wake, more then happy to be of help if he can be. "It would be most efficient if we pulled everything off the shelves, first," he suggestions to her in quiet tones. "We can have Lyubomir and Shiloh doing that since they are tall. You and I can clean the bottles and tuck them in the box to stay clean until they are ready to be replaced?" It makes the most sense to him, at least. "Or I can clean them and you can organize them according to how you want them back on the shelves?" In which case, they probably need more boxes… or.. "Is there a folding table we could set up for you to organize on? You," adds to Lyu with a broad smile. "Will love it. I had a wonderful time after the fact. Course, there was a lot of screaming while we were in there." All of it from Avi, mind you. >.> Course, he's quick to step in and start packing the jars Shiloh is handing down into a box, his chin dipping in a nod as carefully wipes each one off with a clean rag as they go.

If they didn't have a massive age difference and he weren't obviously taken, Ajral would kiss Averil. Just the once. For being awesome at cleaning. Maybe she owes a curtsy and a gift to Shiloh's mom: "She's brilliant and so are you," is what she says, instead. She may be the one with the keys, but Averil is in charge now and it's obvious in the way Ajral's body language shifts to being deferent to what he says. "Yes. I mean, we can both clean them, they don't need to be put back in a specific order at first — if anything looks too old I'll toss it out, but otherwise it shouldn't matter much," Ajral nods as she speaks. "Getting it all un-dusty is priority. There's got to be one somewh — " She spots the collapsible table behind some of the operating stools, and moves to get it, but the folded up stools end up falling toward her and clattering loudly as she jumps back to get out of the way. JUST GRAVITY. NOT HAUNTED. Still, Ajral swears under her breath before actually getting the table.

Even Shiloh might jump a bit at that clattering — loud noises will do that to a person! But after a quick check to make sure there are no ghosts that Ajral is okay, he'll carry on carrying on. At least with a few more jars, handing them off to Avi before slipping over to help right those stools. Two of them are unfolded, and if he can help with the table he'll do that as well, before going back to the all important task of Reaching Tall Shelves. "Don't stand on that without support," is told to Averil, an eye slant directed at the stools that might act as step ladders in a moment. "What is all this stuff?" Is wondered as a particularly questionable jar is eyed before being handed off to his helper.

Averil flashes a brilliant smile at Ajral at the compliment, pale grey eyes crinkling at the corners. "I make amazing biscuits thanks to Mae, as well." It's all Mae, in his opinion. Content to chatter away as he takes the jars from Shiloh and carefully cleans them off, he sets each one to the side while waiting for Ajral to set up the table. "I won't," he promises Shiloh at the warning. "I have you, I don't need to be tall." LOGIC. The clattering fall of the stools, however, has Averil yelping and jumping, one hand reaching up to cling tightly to Shiloh's pant leg. When the initial OMGWUT has passed, though, he exhales a breathy laugh, his fingers uncurling from the beastcrafter's pants to patpat gently. There, there buckaroo, he's got you!

Everything is fine, it's just furniture trying to kill them! Revenge of gravity. Ajral is now very dusty, but at least she wasn't wearing all dark colors? (The culottes got a look of inspiration too: what a great idea, she should get some of those.) "Mae sounds like a miracle human being," Ajral says confidently. Perhaps meeting Shiloh's mom has become a life goal for her too. "You're lucky to have a great family." Mostly that's for Shiloh, but Averil seems to be part of it as well, and there's no envy or sadness there, just a calm statement: this is the truth! it is a lucky thing! she is glad for them! "That's … well a lot of it is medicinal plants in suspension media. Harder to cultivate things that need to be long-term stored. If it says DO NOT EAT, it's probably an anesthetic." Probably, because it might be tunnelsnake poison? "Most of the addictive and dangerous things are stored in here. And the … clunky old equipment."

There's something like a grunt from Shiloh; a general agreement for his mother. But he seems content enough to let Avi boast about her rather than contribute anything of himself. Is he looking a little awkward? Maybe. Then again, he is eyeballing a container that looks like it might kill him if he accidentally opens the lid (which he is definitely *not* going to do — Shiloh's sense of self-preservation is leagues above his sense of curiosity). "These say 'do not open'." And while Shiloh doesn't quite speak the question on his mind, there's a hitch to an eyebrow and a slant of dark eyes at Ajral that might say it for him. What's the point of keeping something in a jar forever? Either way, it's handed over to Avi for a quick clean and, with the shelf now bare, there's a quick dip of the rag into water and then he's swiping at the dust on that shelf. They might need more rags.

"She is," Avi agrees readily. He's definitely one of Mae's biggest fans. Course, he's looking up at the jars Shiloh has his lips twitching in a little worried frown. "Addictive and dangerous?" Two things that make Avi's brows twitch up and have him slanting a worried look at the shelves. He's quick to step back, though, wiping downt the jar and setting it with the others as he steps out of Shiloh's way. "How did it get this bad," he wonders quietly. "If the healers actually use this stuff…." He would have imagined it would be cleaner.

"Technically that's … do not open except for whoever wrote the note." Ajral isn't sure whose writing that is, and she should likely investigate it in future and also identify what exactly is in that jar, but: right now she is candidate-ing, and the only part of her acting under the Healer auspice is the part that opened the door. "As opposed to do not open ever. And it's generally things that are used rarely that are kept in here, but I think also some people might have … forgotten? About some of it?" Awkward. It wasn't her! She's trying to clean it up! Innocence is Ajral. "I didn't even have a proper key until just before Leirith clutched this time around." There's a little bit of an eyeroll as she takes a jar from Helpful Lyubomir to clean it off enough to identify: "Here's one that almost immediately induces sleep, for instance, but we have some in the infirmary already. This is the backup supply."

"Ah." Shiloh will accept that. It makes a helluva lot more sense than 'don't open ever', after all. A thick sludge of now-damp dust is wiped from the shelf, the rag eyed skeptically before he sort of… shakes it off onto the floor. It's fine. They're totes mopping the floor later! "Probably why they're kept under lock and key," is offered as an aside to Avi for his concern over addictive (and dangerous) substances. "Instant sleep?" is questioned a moment later, a little knot formed between Shiloh's brows. "Hm. That for emergency situations or…" He's pretty sure it's not the sort of thing that's given out for sleeplessness, but one never knows! "I can put those back," he offers, for the jars that Avi had been dusting. "Or should I do the whole shelf first?" Hmm. Choices.

Eyeing all of the bottles and jars with potentially dangerous substances, Averil cannot help but be glad that he's an artist. "I will never understand how you remember all this stuff," he admits as he steps over to a shelf and draws down a bottle he can reach. "I did do the illustrations for a healer's herbal primer, though," he admits. "That was fun." Of course, for him it was all about drawing pretty flowers and plants, he didn't need to know how dangerous they were. "I think the best one I did was an anatomy book, though. Muscular System and they how attach to the bones and make things work. Did wonders for my life drawing." In the wake of Shiloh's words, he nods quickly and turns to start handing jars back up. "This is fine," he assures. "Dirt won't go up unless we start flinging it around." And he highly doubts anyone here intends to do something like that.

While Ajral doesn't look up from scrubbing the container of fungus she's fighting against the encroaching dirt upon, she's smiling again. She's just smiling at it, even if the response is to what's being said around her. "Yes, it's for when someone needs to hold still very much but they won't. Usually for extreme pain situations. Major trauma. Which I try to have nothing to do with, myself." Not a surgeon, here! "I love drawing plants too, but it's just a hobby," she confesses: Averil's are likely much better, and as for her anatomical drawings … "We all had to learn a bit of anatomical drawing, they did send us to Harper, but for the most part everyone just appreciates that people like you are actually good at it and can do the real work for us. Anatomical illustrations are so important." She eyes the broom and mop, and says nothing at all about how she almost foolishly flung dirt around. Everyone has to learn sometime. Apparently she's learning at age 28.

Helpful Lyubomir continues to do, well, whatever Ajral needs him to do; he's helpful! Helpful with a capital H, even! But, if he seems distracted, it's probably because the muted scuffling and squeaking in that far corner are getting a little louder than he likes - and it's likely that the firelizards are telling him things. Granted, it's in their own, weird way, but still. "Sorry, I need to go figure out what those two are getting into. I think it's a tunnelsnake," is oh-so-casually dropped as if he were just discussing the potential for there being more dust over there and not, say, a potentially venomous creature that's fighting for its life.

There's plenty of poison in here!

Tunnelsnake? The moment that word is uttered Avi is perched atop one of those stools with wide eyes and a pointedly white face. "Seriously?" Fortunately, he's small enough that stool provides ample space for him to crouch and warily eye the floor. Unfortunately, the stool is spinning slowly which only has him clutching onto the edges more tightly and looking just a little more wild-eyed then he was moments before.

The tunnelsnake observation is only not met by NOPE BYE from Ajral because she can't leave the others here and — "There are firelizards," she says in a voice that is forcibly calm, and obviously so, "Who will take care of it." There's now kind of an army of them, since two of her own blues are getting in on that too, curious what Fudge and Patch are doing. The third blue doesn't seem to be putting in an appearance, though: lazy Viendris is still snoozing on top of one of the dusty shelves. When she notices Averil's stool trying to do a dance, she kicks a foot out to attempt to stabilize it. At least she's usually graceful with that kind fo thing and it shouldn't result in them both falling over … "Er, if you need any poisons, though, we do have plenty — " BUT SHE IS LETTING LYUBOMIR DEAL WITH THIS.

The building firelizard army will discover Patch and Kludge thoroughly wrapped around something, wrestling it like their little lives depend on it. It's not easy to get a glimpse of what's going on in there, but it will eventually become obvious to the 'lizardly ones that the thing isn't alive. It's definitely a taxidermy project that's been woefully misplaced. Lyubomir does not know this and goes hunting for something that will help; the end result is a rather awkward assembly of a speculum (he has no idea what it is, bless him) rigged on the handle of a broom. "You should be fine over here," Lyu points out to Avi and Ajral - and then he's off to do battle! (or so he things)

Nope, Shiloh's little brown Firelizard pops in immediately to come to Averil's defense. Which is great! Wonderful! And even has Avi casting an impossibly adoring look at the brown. STILL, there is NO CHANCE he is getting off that stool. No. No way. No chance. Shiloh is going to have to carry him out of the storeroom. He does, however, cast a grateful look at Ajral when she stops his stool from spinning. "I'm very close to panic-mode," he murmurs in tones that are clearly as close as he is going to get to fair warning! Because really, where there is one tunnelsnake, there are likely to be other tunnelsnakes, and Averil wants no part of that. So much so that he's actually up on his toes on the stool, the wide legs of his culattes pulled up to his knees so he can clearly see any that might think to climb up on the stool. "Be careful, Nope!" FINE? "There could be more," he breaths in tones that make it clear that if anything else moves? There will be SCREAMING.

Actual panic is something Ajral is very good with dealing with: she's better at talking people through panic attacks than she is at cleaning up dusty disasters, for sure. "Close your eyes and breathe slowly — four seconds in, and three seconds out," says that almost hypnotically-calm mindhealer's voice, even as her own firelizards inch closer and try to figure out what is going on. "Also," the soft, gentle voice continues, "Nope is a wonderful name. But just focus on that breathing." Roskovya the enthusiastic biting blue tries to nip at the already dead tunnelsnake and pulls back with a displeased sound. Stuffing! Stuffing is not delicious.

This is not a tasty treat of a tunnelsnake! This is unfortunate for all involved - save the humans, who will presumably be glad that this is not a real disaster. Patch shares in Roskovya's pain, though he keeps biting and rabbit-kicking like that will fix things. It's a tense minute and a half as Lyu picks his way to where the 'lizards and their quarry are. "Is that- well, shards. False alarm." He waits until he can pry Kludge off (Patch is stubbornly attached) and lifts the miserable-looking bit of brown, scaled, and thoroughly taxidermied tunnelsnake. "It's dead-dead this time."

Averil tries to do as instructed. He does. But at the moment, it is rather like trying to convince an angry kitten that a bath is a good idea. Still, closing his eyes does serve to keep him from jumping at shadows and manages to get the breathing down. Fortunately, Ajral's voice is soothing enough that, after a few repetitions, he is no longer dancing on his toes on top of the stool. He's still perched. He's still tense. "Nope," he breaths. "Is Shiloh's firelizard. He loves me, though." Averil is one of the few candidates that do not have a firelizard of their own. It's only Lyu's insistance that it is dead that has Avi opening his eyes and sneaking a peek that way. "Are you sure?" Which is, of course, immediately followed with his gaze sweeping the room. "There could be others." Lurking in the shadows just waiting for him to get down.

If Ajral's Zehun ever didn't immediately lose her eggs, she'd be giving them out to those who didn't have any — especially someone like Averil who really does need a tunnelsnake protection detail! — but alas, she's pretty sure Zehun has never had an egg survive. And if they did? She doesn't know anything about who found them and who they ended up with. "Oh," she says, voice still in soft-comfort-mode, "What is that doing here," sigh, "Apprentices are supposed to keep their own ridiculous corpse projects in their own spaces." That's the disturbing thing, it's probably a decades-old ridiculous corpse project. All firelizards: disappointed. "It's unlikely others chose to come in this room, which probably smells terrible to them, but just in case we'll get the patrol going." Devanay and Roskovya, at least, are now checking corners and sniffing around. Viendris is still on the shelf, and who knows where Zehun is, but it's possible Ros has convinced Patch to help him out here.

"Oh, it's definitely been dead for turns," Lyu confirms, deadpan. He finally pries Patch off and offers a scattering of firelizard jerky-treats to those that are nearby; they're good 'lizards and they deserve something nice for their vigilance. When a few wander off to check corners, he lobs a few snacks their way. Just 'cause. "The person that did this is probably a Journeyman. Maybe a Master by now, honestly." It's old. "I'll go find somewhere to put it; I'm sure someone might want it." For SCIENCE. Maybe. Or maybe he can fix- no. No he will not.

Shiloh probably did very manly things like squint in the direction of the commotion and offer a lame, "It's fine," in attempts to calm everyone down. Was he worried? Probably. Was he gonna show it? Of course not! But he will reach out and collect the precariously perched Averil with a hook of his arm, hauling him from the stool and in against his side instead. "It's dead-dead," he repeats, eyeing the taxidermy project briefly before returning his attention to Averil. "If there are any more, they're probably also dead-dead." He can say this with a straight face, somehow. A quick kiss to Averil's forehead and he adds, "Are you alright?" And Nope? Well. He's done his job! He protected his favorite human. And now he's going to reap the reward of snuggles by curling around Avi's neck.

With the threat passed, Nope returns, coiling around Averil's neck like a choker. Granted, it is a choker that hisses balefully at anyone who might get to close to the diminutive artist, but still. Unfortunately, phobias are powerful things and while the threat has been neutralized, the thought of the possibility of another being there is still just as strong. Strong enough that while Avi makes an attempt at getting down, he ends up quickly shaking his head and tucking himself right back into that crouch atop the stool. Course, then he's hooked off the stool and immediately twisting around so that he is clinging to Shiloh like a spider monkey. Is he alright? "Nooooo." No, no he's not alright. He will be alright, if he doesn't have to put his feet on the floor, though! That? Easily fixed by wrapping his legs around Shiloh's waist and clinging. "There could be not dead-dead ones." It's possible!

"… let's take a break," Ajral suggests, "And I'll see if we can get an exterminator before we keep going." Maybe she should have done that BEFORE. Just in case. Though it's unlikely there are any live tunnelsnakes, the last thing she wants to do as a clutchmate or a professional is torture Averil any more than she has inadvertently already done even if she tried to help, too. They can make their escape for the time being: to other chores, to simply resting off panic, to praising firelizards for jobs well done — and the fearless fearsome foursome can come tackle the rest of the Ominous Healing Chamber another time. With fewer tunnelsnakes. The dust, though, will still have multiplied.

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