Kitchen Dysfunction

Xanadu Weyr - Kitchens
The kitchen is large and well-stocked with technology as well as those with culinary skill. State of the art equipment has been brought in from the various crafts to be used - stoves and large ovens replacing the hearths that used to be in here. Three baking ovens are usually going full bore half the day, from early morning through to mid-afternoon. Large windows take up the entire of the western wall, generally open wide to the mountainous landscape beyond allowing //Tables, cabinets, and counters take up the remaining spaces and walls. Various spices, herbs, and other foodstuffs are found here, and what's not ready at hand is tucked away back in the storage caverns or the massive cold-room large enough to walk inside.
The night hearth beside the door to the main caverns has been kept out of a sense of nostalgia, but the smaller stove set beside it is what's actually used to prepare late-night food. This is where you find late night meals of stew and soup simmering in pots, and pitchers of klah and tea in their electric units to be kept warm.

Things that should not be complex: a sandwich. Things that are turning out to be absurdly complex for Ajral: that same sandwich, which she expected to be able to simply get from the living caverns, and when that wasn't the case, came into the kitchens assuming she could find the things she needed to assemble what she wanted rapidly. But no, it's a little more complicated than that. The sandwich materials are simply TOO MANY. She is practically inside a cabinet, being utterly ignored by the kitchen staff — she's wearing a candidate's knot, she can help herself — as she checks spice after spice, determines it is not what she wants, puts it back and checks the next one. The occasional frustrated noise emanates from the cabinet as well, followed by the soft cheep of a firelizard (because there is one - a very pretty blue one - on her head).

The kitchen's might as well be a paradise built with Evangeline in mind, after several months of Candidacy the cooks all breathe a sigh of relief when they get Evi and not some of the others. Bustling around, gathering ingredients for one cook, and then another, happily washing dishes while singing a song under her breath, she is the ideal helper. Today an apron has been placed over her bright pink full-length pleated skirt, and the sleeves of her long sleeve shirt are rolled to her elbows. Spotting Ajral with a head tilt, Evi watches the older girl for several minutes and then returns to her own meat pie filling, tasting it, adding spice, tasting once more. Only after the frustrated noise is heard does the perky-one prance her way over, the rapping of knuckles on the cabinet door is followed by "Um, hiii. So like, I mean, I would TOTALLY hate to pry but, can I help?" The sing-song voice heightens with apprehension, as is always the case when speaking to someone she's not well acquainted with. The firelizard gets the biggest smile, and a small coo escapes her lips before she can stop herself.

"Is it prying," Ajral says in a manner that manages both distance and friendliness simultaneously — sort of a cool kindness, "If one is offering help? I think probably not." Easy enough conclusion. She backs her way out of the cabnet, blue Viendris chirping happily in response to the attention he gets and Ajral utterly ignoring it. This is part of life with this firelizard, and has become tantamount to background noise. "I was looking for the, er," lip chew. Glance off to the side. "What was it called, the little dark green — dried chive, I was looking for dried chive. I was not expecting the entire spice population of Pern here."

"Around here I have NO clue, no one acts normally." Evi states this as if it's a total fact, and everyone knows it. "OH! SOO someone like, totally messed up the ENTIRE organization of the spices and dried herbs, you have to come over here." Evangeline's voice is overexcited, her body bouncing up and down as hands clap with excess giddy. A real example of enjoying the small stuff, all puppy and bright. Bending down, opening a cabinet, and hefting out a giant tub filled with no less than 40 jars onto the stone floor and settling herself in a criss-cross position. No thought as to anyone else needs for a path or how odd it could be to be sitting on the floor. The glass containers all filled with different herbs in a variegate of mixtures to achieve specific flavors. "Whatcha making?" Is asked, her head bouncing from side to side as she begins looking at every jar one by one, "Coriander. No, hrm Chili? nO. Hrmmm." No one has ever been so happy to be of assistance, it's a bit much.

"They don't to the rest of the — to somewhere, anyway." Ajral can agree that very few people at Xanadu act as Pernese society overall expects, but 'the rest of the continent' means Ierne and Monaco Bay and is thus a terrible comparison. They might be less tech-happy, but they're still at least a little unusual. She seems nothing but pleased, as telegraphed by an upturn of lips and a slight brightness to her eyes, by the enthusiasm met over finding the dried chives. It's entirely possible, though, that the dried chives are all gone, but they're going to look … "Dear Faranth," is her take on that bin. "That is appalling organization. The candidate class should just come in and …" Hand wave. "Fix it. Too much for just you but maybe if we all contributed."

Three more jars are out and settled next to Evangeline, several of them are missing labels. Instead of doing a visual inspection or using advanced deduction, Evi is opening the unlabeled herbs and sniffing. "I am so sorry, ma'am, I forgot my manners; I am Evangeline, I um- I see you but well. I don't sleep in the barracks all the time." A hand is offered up to the older Candidate for shaking as shoulders press back, and her face fills with a smile that is all teeth. "We might be able to get them in better order if we all helped." Two more jars are out, they could be here a while, and Evi sighs a bit as the project is starting to seem like work instead of the jubilant play she imagined it to be. An unlabeled canister is opened and after sniffing a loud ACHOO, eyes watering with a sniffle. "Have you lived here long?" The need to keep a continuous babble going is obvious, why have silence when you can have noise.

This is not where Ajral works or where she is supposed to be working. This does not seem to matter to her, though, because she's going to start helping anyway. "It is very difficult to sleep in the barracks, so I don't blame you. I'm in and out myself." Because she has a small suite to herself normally, instead of having to share with people, but the sharing is part of the Experience so it kind of … depends. On Things. That are never specified to anyone including, possibly, herself. "I'm Ajral, serial candidate, journeyman healer. No need to ma'am me, it's fine." She wrinkles her nose in a smile. "About seven turns. Was that unlabeled? Be careful, don't accidentally inhale — well, I don't think anything really dangerous would be in here, just unpleasant." Case in point, she's just pulled up a canister of cumin. Thankfully it's labeled! It goes onto the counter to be alphabetized or put back into the cabinet or … something. At least the dislike of silence is mutual, though in Ajral's case she tends to not be fussy in either direction — she does companionable silence or chatter depending on other people's preferences, it's just unconscious adapting. (After all. They were both in the mob of scavenger hunters. Everyone saw the fluffy scarves and gross food, so that makes them equals — but did names or formal introductions come up? Nah, not really.)

A giant cheerful smile fills Evangeline's face, her eyes squinty and mouth partially ajar. "Nice to meet you, Ajral! Um-." The pause comes as another jar is opened, and there's a small sneeze, "EW, they can't be cooking with this." Offering the container to Ajral with a grimace, the contents will prove to be dried fish flakes ground to a soft powder. Five jars now sit in front of the young dirty blonde weaver, her fingers tapping along them. "Serial Candidate?" Head tilting one way and then the other with a perky bounce that begins at her shoulders as dissipates down her body. "So you agreed to do this all the time?" One eyebrow up and her lips pucker, thoughtful but also MAYBE questioning Ajral's sanity. It is with a sigh she retrieves another jar, her attention span for monotony waning. "As someone who likes, has lived here, does it get calmer?" Here is Evi, always hopeful that perhaps she has arrived at a weird crazy time and that the Weyr might have a calmer baseline. Hope spring is eternal.

Carefully, Ajral wafts: the fish flakes are out in front of her by a few inches and she fans air above them toward her nose. "No, I think they are cooking with this — not to everyone's taste, but." It gets set in the corral of jars on the counter now known as 'this needs a label,' because Ajral has not a pen or anything to stick words onto the jars with. Unless: "Have you got a pen, because I think I can identify that one by smell … Oh, no. It never really gets calmer. And not all the time, since there aren't always clutches, but it's been a few times now. I do craft work most of the time." That is how she can GUARANTEE it never gets calmer.

Slowly standing up, legs unfolding underneath her Evangeline stands and reaches into a hidden pocket in her skirt. Every bit a magic trick if it's not been seen before, out comes a pen and three pencils. "Here, maybe this will work?" The pen is offered to the older girl, and her head tilts to the side, "I bet if we tossed that one." Pointing to the fish powder with a disgusted crimp to her face, "That it's hard to replace, or LIKE we could HIDE it?" This is spoken in a stage whisper, brown-green eyes darting with mischief leaning in with the smallest squeaky giggle. "Healer work is.. ew. Like. You have to see people with their clothes off. BLECK." Her headshakes back and forth, bending at the waist another jar is placed on the counter, this one might be what they are looking for, and Evi gives a small happy bounce and hands it to Ajral. "Maybe?" A slight wiggle of her shoulders, all that energy escaping via motion.

"Used to," says Ajral idly as she attempts to write out 'SOME KIND OF FISH FLAKES', because talking about work is like — it's work, it's like talking about weather. "Now I rarely do, because I'm either stitching up superficial injuries from idiots, which is absolutely not my job," but all infirmaries are always chronically understaffed, it is a rule, "Or mindhealing, which is, so if people have their clothes off for mindhealing there … is something wrong." It definitely happens, but not because it's supposed to, and it's pretty rare at a Weyr! The labeling is partially succesful, though it's kind of streaky. "I am sure if you just put it back where you found it it would quickly get lost again, though I doubt it's particularly hard to replace. Just avoid anything labeled fish soup and you won't have to eat it." She's still after green things that look like they might be her chives.

The labeling job by the older candidate triggers many happy giggles from Evangeline, head tilting back and giant smile back on her face. "Ew, blood." Eyes roll a bit, lightened by the impish happiness she exudes. "People around here seem to be um- injury prone." The pause between her words indicates she might have wanted to say something else but chose the kinder path. The mention of Ajral being a mindhealer brings silence, bending over another spice palmed, but whatever is in this container is obviously yellow mixed with red. "Citayla wanted me to see a mindhealer, but I um, am not that bad." Ah mental health stigma, can't escape it. "Plus, I have like no time." Rolling from her heels to her toes, one hand shaking a jar and squinting at the contents. "Have you ever had that happen? One time at a gather, my Ma said they had someone running around naked, and they had to tackle him to get him to stop."

Is Ajral evaluating her fellow candidate for ADHD right now? Absolutely, but she isn't going to say anything about it; that would be completely unprofessional, and she just radiates professionalism. "People around here are disasters," she says instead with a sigh that's almost affectionate, "And I've not been the one brought in for the emergency but I have seen someone who developed a pathological fear of wearing clothing, yes. It's unfortunate but usually treatable. Do you know why she — I mean," the professionalism slipped a little! it can be hard with fellow candidates, "Some amount of mindhealing can be good for everyone, almost as preventive more than anything, and can take no time at all, but you couldn't see me right now anyway so it's not as if I'm trying to make a sale, here, just perhaps the weyrwoman had a reason to suggest it? May be worth consideration later on in life, if not right now; lots of people only get seen once every six months or so. Check-ups. Ways to balance stress, et cetera, and these are also not dried chives," another mystery jar is abandoned to the pile.

Evangeline is the poster child for ADHD, so the eval would be fair. The more Ajral speaks, the further her head tilts, until finally coming to rest on her shoulder. "Um, there's some things she wants me to work on." Bounce, bend over, a jar full of oyster mushrooms is placed up with the ever-growing collection. "I was in half-moon. Maybe that." All of this is said with a casual tone of disinterest, a subtle tell that whatever it is she is avoiding is probably A LOT larger than is being expressed. Kneeling down a new approach is taken, one spice is picked up and stared at and then put back, then another, then another fast and efficient. This project is wearing down her attention span. "OH- NO." Ajral's words finally made it into her head, and her eyes get big, "NO, no, I will not be speaking of it here." Or anywhere, maybe? Maybe not, but with a hard shake of her head, her hair smacking her face, she returns to rapid-fire herb searching. "I think the man was drunk." A casual excuse, when you've never had alcohol, it has magical properties.

"Oh, certainly not. Completely inappropriate place and person," Ajral bows her head in understanding-agreement; she is not doing any mindhealing for any fellow candidates, at least not while they are. She certainly has done for people she stood with ever. "But I do think that — the weyrwoman is probably correct. Best to get that tune up while you're still young." It comes with a smile, though! This is friendly advice, this is not … pushing. Someone else can push that; it is surely someone else's job to. Weyrlingmasters, Headstaff, goldriders like the one who did. Good Cita. "Drunk or on something tainted, or both, which is a fantastically bad combination. That can get you naked and yelling. It's funny in retrospect when it ends up just being a silly reason — yes." Triumphantly, Ajral holds up the chives. "I can still make my sandwich before my next appointment."

"No, of course not." Evangeline exhales shoulders relaxing and face settling into a neutral minor smile of contentment. "Possibly after the eggs hatch." Because she doesn't have any plans after that, dragons don't want broken teenage girls. The chives being discovered have her dropping one jar in excitement; the glass hitting the other glasses startles the girl, and she winces. Recovering Evi stands up and beams at Ajral's prize, "Yes!" Clapping her hands and sighing, eyeing the jars still out. "Do you think we should just um.. STUFF they back in? Would be terribly rude, though." Nope, Evi does not have it in her to abandon the mess. Sighing, she starts to organize the spice mess on the counter, resigned to doing this. "That is why I don't drink." Nose wrinkling she probably doesn't drink because she's 15 and holdbred, but who is to say she makes the choice sound slightly superior.

And sometimes they do, and then those broken people really need therapy, as Xanadu does not need any more strangely broken dragons. Ajral does not, of yet, do dragon therapy though — even if the use of dragons in mental healing is a definite interest of hers! Ask her about it sometime, along with her great therapeutic drunkenness plan! (They might both actually work.) "Indeed, it would be good to look into whichever the outcome," is agreed by the mindhealer-candidate, who is now darting around the counter finding the various other things she wants to blend into her sandwich sauce. It's a much faster process now that she has the last ingredient, and the fork makes a satisfying 'ting' against the glass bowl she's using as she blends it. "We can stuff them back in in order." She even stops sandwich-ing to help with a couple. "We did gain new labels that weren't there before. And I don't either. Drink, that is. At least not often; I like to keep a clear head unless an unclear one is to the advantage of my own mental health."

Relief colors Evangeline's face, because that mess was going to take her ALL DAMN DAY. There's a pause in her productivity to watch Ajral make the sandwich, eyes closely following every move she makes and butt sliding up on a counter where it definitely does not belong. Once seated, her legs swing with graceless abandon, the constant movement portion of her life fulfilled by the action. "I will see about it." Said in the same tone as someone who will consider buying something from a place they plan to never ever return. Unable to help herself one of the mushroom jars is picked up and placed in her lap, the top opened she pops a dry mushroom in her mouth and winces while her whole darn face scrunches up. NOPE. "No wonder I've lost weight." Yep, it's not the food aversions or the exercise demands, it's the cooking. "I guess if a healer wanted me to drink, I might." Might. Maybe, she drags out her words and lets one shoulder brush her cheek. "Do you need any help?" That silence filler is at least kind. Quiet bad.

Then again, if kitchen chores are meant to be her entire day, perhaps that wouldn't be a bad idea. To just … take forever and get one thing done right. Maybe the kitchen staff would even like it, but Ajral tries to stay out of lower caverns … things. There's a system she often just doesn't understand. Someone older might have gotten a weird eyebrow from sitting on one of the counters, but she's letting Evangeline get away with it — she's young. "The physical training from candidacy probably helped with that weight loss, though muscle gain should be helping put it back on," she suggests, while adding pre-chopped chicken to her wrap bread and dumping the sauce on it. "I've got a patient to get to, so I've got to messy-rush this, but I'm happy to share sandwich-preparing duties next time! Show you how to make the sauce," she adds before taking a bite and giving a polite finger-waggled wave and chewing-smile as she exits before she's late (again).

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