Perks of Retirement

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrleaders' Office
Office and retreat, this is the domain of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The door is in the southern wall, quite close to the western end while the northern wall is dominated by big, expansive windows, framed by sumptuous deep blue drapes edged with a brilliant gold braid and tied back with a thick rope of braided gold and blue cord. In between, the western wall is covered floor to ceiling with shelves that house all sorts of records, manuals and supplies that are used on a day-to-day basis.
The southern wall has the Weyrleader's desk — plain fellis wood, well polished and masculine. From behind his desk, the Weyrleader can look straight through the windows and out onto the main airspace of Xanadu. The eastern wall is where the Weyrwoman's desk resides: a lovely piece of furniture made of warm cherry wood. From her seat, a glance sideways gives her an equally good prospect out the window. There are a few other seats, some comfortably arranged around a low round table for small, informal meetings while there also some that can be drawn up to one of the desks.
On the west side of the door, the space is occupied by a low oblong table where refreshments can be set without someone needing to intrude. There is also an 'incoming' tray where incoming correspondence or similar items can be left.

THIS IS IT, THIS IS HOW IT ENDS. At least… that's what Risali's expression says from where she sits, papers scattered in disarray across her desk while Risali leans over them from her chair. THERE IS NO DIGNITY HERE - just the goldrider with her knees settled on the cushion of her chair, too much elbow on her desk, and too much concentration on her papers. She's making marks on the edges of parchment, her tongue trapped between teeth, writing utensil being used as means to fidget as she cross references whatever it is that she's just marked off by wiggling between her fingers. And there's a soft noise of thought in her throat, a sign that speaks to frustration or exasperation or a combination of the two as she shifts backwards just enough to focus on another piece of paper. Awwwyeah. Dat Weyrwoman life, though.

Most exciting times! But hey, there's once again a junior in the infirmary, and that means… it's time for a definitely-not-weyrwoman, nope, how dare you even pretend she still helps out sometimes to make a visit. Soriana has her excuse in hand, by which we mean a plate with a napkin over it, and she just swoops right in without knocking, because she's a jerk like that, and comes right on over to set it down right beside those papers. "The squash have started coming in," she says by way of explanation (excuse), "So, guess what, you're eating zucchini bread today." MOM SAYS EAT YOUR VEGGIES… which is what it would be, except for the curve of playful smile about her expression… and the fact that the 'bread' contains about as much sugar and butter as it does vegetable.

Soriana is MORE THAN WELCOME. It was her office much longer than it was Risali's, after all, and that's maybe why Risali doesn't look in the least put off by the definitely-not-a-weyrwoman-how-dare's persistence in not only invading, but interrupting. Risali's brows pull in as she shifts back on her chair, writing utensil still in hand but trapped between thumb, pointer, and middle as she VERY LAST SECOND puts her hands (open-palmed) beneath that plate to take it in lieu of One More Item being set on her desk. Mostly because it's food, and maybe she remembers that she's hungry once she sees it. "Did D'lei send you?" comes with a hint of dry humor, a scrunch of nose and a pull at the corner of her lips even as she sets the plate down closer to herself and shifts about to sit like a normal person in her chair. She peeks under the napkin, flickers grey eyes up to Sori, and gives the former Senior a smile that shows just a hint of canines before she bites down on her bottom lip and drops the napkin back in place. A beat, and, "Thank you." But the food is merely kept for now, as Risali scoots her chair closer to her desk and bridges her hands with interlocked fingers over DELICIOUS ZUCCHINI BREAD. "Is everything okay?" Because HAY. Sori could be here on official business. WE JUST DON'T KNOW. Maybe there's dragonhealery things, or some Weyrwoman advice afoot.

"What," Soriana says with a further curve of smile at that accusation of being sent, "I can't just decide to dispose of my extra squash without having some kind of ulterior motive?" Which. Is neither a confirmation nor a denial, really! She nods to those thanks, and then that smile turns crooked. "I did notice it's just you in the office again," she says, with somewhere between amusement and sympathy in her tone… then a shift to more serious as she goes on. "With reasons, of course," but she's just going to pass over the details of them right now, "but it does mean you've got rather a lot on your plate." And not just zucchini bread! "So." Soriana steps back, and tugs a chair around to set it at the side of Risali's desk, so the two of them face perpendicular to each other. "I'm here to distract you further." She smiles, because that's just the kind of helpful person she is! "What's on your mind?"

It's a huff of laughter that escapes Risali, that earns Soriana an honest smile even if those grey eyes are focused back on that plate, writing things abandoned in the pursuit of spinning zucchini-bread bearing dinnerware around in a slow circle. It's that comment about being alone that earns a grimace, grey eyes shifting towards D'lei's desk before she lifts them to meet Soriana's gaze. 'Not completely alone,' is in that expression, but there's a smile that comes without humor. "I still haven't been to see her." Bethari, she means, and now her attention is BACK ON HER FOOD. There is concentration and then… defeat in the set of her shoulders, because she totally probably is going to forgo DELICIOUS, SORIANA-MADE BREAD in favor of giving it to Bethari as a peace offering when she - inevitably - visits. Maybe that's why she pushes the plate a little further from herself and then shifts out of her chair onto her feet. She doesn't grab her crutch, so it seems that, sans a slight limp and a tentative hesitation to placing too much weight, Risali is starting to be more mobile again. She does use the table for balance as she comes around to Soriana, and she turns several of those papers around to face the former senior instead. "I'm actually trying to figure out why marks keep missing. It's small amounts - small enough that I almost didn't notice at first. And it doesn't happen with every trade, just… some." A point to numbers, to those tallies she was making in the top corner of her paper. "Sometimes it's not marks missing, it's one or two pieces out of the order, but there is no real common denominator. It's different people and… different items. I'm not sure if something is just being reconciled wrong, or if there are mistakes in the orders, of if there's something else going on." Because that would just be ICING ON THE CAKE, given everything else going on. But she leans with one hand on her desk, tilts her head to look at Sori and then… offers another smile, muted though it is. "I'm also wondering when I am going to get that very angry letter about the Yokohama crashing into a moon, or being commandeered by a candidate mass mutiny, or just that one of them found the airlock and now everybody's dead." It's humorous, but there is some glimpses of honesty in there. "What's on yours?" Her mind, she means.

Even if Soriana cannot provide food, she can at least provide entertainment. There's a moment's smile for that look to the desk, because she had a weyrmate-Weyrleader too, and then a nod. "Nor I," she says, though there's no particular guilt to it there. She's retired, after all! The push away of that plate is noted, with a light, "There's always more squash to be gotten rid of," as her only comment on the APPARENT REFUSAL… but then she's leaning in to take a look at those papers Risali shows her, with a furrow of her brow as she glances from the one, to the next, to… "Hmm." She leans back again in her chair, and turns her head to look up at Risali. "Is it always missing?" she asks. "Because there's plenty of places where somebody might skim…" especially if they had access to the records "…and even more where mistakes could be made." Implied, of course, is that she'd expect mistakes to go both ways… at least, the honest sort of them. Those concerns about the Yokohama - and the candidates there - make her laugh. "We broke the gravity, on my candidate trip up there." Her grin is fond reminiscence, then something brighter. "There's a reason why the observatory has such good equipment. We've got to keep the starcraft on our side somehow." And never mind that it probably actually goes the other way around! But… as for her mind? Soriana shifts her glance out across the room toward the window, then back to Risali. "Skyler and Kaesen are up there," she says with an upward tilt of her head toward the sky and space beyond. "Arialla's pouting because she's too young. But… the farm's doing well, even if we'll need to find extra help with the boys gone, and the annex hasn't had more than the usual share of incidents." A smile. "Gives me time to play auntie and fuss over what's not my business."

Risali's smile for Soriana's admittance is muted, fleeting - not so much taken in reassurance as an acknowledgement of mutual not-seeing-Bethari-yet-ness. And then another soft huff of laugher as Risali tilts her head to the side and… well. "Maybe I can come to you next time instead." For the squash, she means. "But for now, Bethari probably deserves this more than I do." That HOMEGROWN, HOMEBAKED DELICIOUS GOODNESS. But back to the important things! Risali nods her head as those grey eyes squint back towards paper, fixating as if a closer look might make the content therein more easily deciphered, but… there is no such luck. Instead Risali grimaces as she exhales, "It's possible. I just found it, so I'm not exactly sure what it is I'm even looking at." Is there a pattern? Are there more things than ordered on some papers, and less on others? It could be somebody stealing from the weyr, or it could be somebody's mistake. TIME WILL TELL. For now Risali is pushing the papers away, listening to Soriana's tales of SPPPPPAAAACCEEE around a smile and another hiccup of laughter. "Were you complicit in the breaking, or just subject to the anti-gravity fun?" And maybe there's a hint of wistfulness, as if Risali might like to be weightless in space and has not yet had the pleasure. "Congratulations, though." This time it's a quiet smile. "They grow so fast, but you must be proud of them. I do have three very young children that probably would be more hindrance then help, but would love to dig around in the dirt and pretend to help you farm - if you were interested in some company. Maybe they can keep Arialla company too." Maybe she can just bring along Selene, and Kyriel, and Darien when she comes for that SQUASH. Well, and Zyriden, but he will probably just be a lap potato, drooling and shoving fists in his face around smiles and burbles of sound. CHILDREN RAMPAGES.

There's a faint smile for Risali's decision about that bread, but Soriana makes no argument about it, just lets it pass on by. She nods about those numbers and their incorrectnesses, though. "Don't forget you can get a second pair of eyes on them," she says. "There are archive-harpers who'd love a journeyman project in reconciling the books." Okay, maybe love is a strong word for it, but… still. Those people exist! And they can deal with it - or Risali can later, but for now… they can be pushed aside. And are! In favor of… implications of blame? "Who, me? I'll have you know I was halfway across the room when it happened." She grins. "But I did see what it took to fix it… and how many secondary systems they've got around the actual important stuff." In a more serious tone - "I'm not saying your candidates couldn't break it-" she believes in you, candidates! "-but I am saying they'd set off enough alarms first that we'd be up to our necks in firelizards demanding they be removed." So, as long as there isn't a chitteringly angry swarm… it's probably mostly okayish. Mostly. As for her children, who have somehow had enough history and memories to be on the border of actual adulthood now… Soriana smiles back. "Thank you," she says, and then she nods. So fast. Those memories of her own candidacy are just a couple years back, right? …not so much. They're nearly as distant from the time her children were very young as that moment is from now… but she grins as she hears about Risali's own brood. "We do have some excellent dirt," she says. "It's been thoroughly tested." By her own children, of course, and all their various friends. "Not to mention the orchard…" Soriana smiles. "Mine loved to 'help' with collecting the fallen apples… and I suspect Arialla would love some little helpers." Small children to boss around and/or feel important for helping? SOLD. "And…" A crooked smile. "I suspect you could use the time away from this, too." SUCH MEDDLING. VERY NOT-HER-BUSINESS. WOW.

"That's true," Risali breathes - because it is. And more than likely, Risali will be enlisting the help of a second (and possibly third and fourth and fifth) pair of eyes to scour, and note, and pinpoint just where those discrepancies lie. She doesn't have better things to do with her time, per say, but she does not have enough of it to analyze things better left in the hands of those who can do the work for her. Which is not important; important is that deviant smile that comes for Soriana, that scrunch of nose and exasperated look that says she doesn't quite believe her, but believes her enough. "They are clever," Risali says then, a grimace chasing away her smile as she adds, "and somewhat prone to chaos." And here comes a quiet smile, humorous despite the self-deprecation behind it. "I'm beginning to wonder if Leirith and I set a precedence for Xanadu Weyr being the place to send wayward Journeymen that nobody else wants." Not that that's a bad thing in so much as it's not necessarily a good thing. She smiles for thanks, and then she moves, back around that desk, back to her own chair where she settles with a wince and a glance down towards her feet before looking towards Soriana again. There's another smile - bright, honest, a testament to the fact that motherhood is one of the things that Risali genuinely enjoys. "I will bring them then, when you're ready." And… a soft huff of laughter, that smile diminished to a shadow of what it was as Risali adjusts in her chair and - "I… am scared, honestly. We're barely holding together as it is; what if everything falls apart?" The last comes as a whisper, with a pull of her lips before she exhales and tries again. "We will be there, though. Maybe I can convince D'lei and K'vir to be there too."

Soriana is innocent, for that particular value of innocence that means that she beams sweetly and has already bribed anyone who might tell the tale otherwise! But… that's fleeting enough as she catches Risali's expression and mood about those candidates, and she gives a nod… though it's with a half-smile for what follows. "I was a junior when we got the mindhealer who told me that dragons were an abomination," she says conversationally. "He had a screaming match with the Weyrsecond, on account of her blue won the flight of his apprentice's green." She's smiling, because no, really - though it was assuredly not funny at the time. "He's her weyrmate now. Got a blue of his own… so apparently they're not abominations anymore?" Soriana spreads her hands a bit, and shrugs. "Not so sure you get to claim the credit." She smiles. "Though, if you ever appoint someone as headwoman because she's irresponsible… we might need to talk." She has that smile of someone who's not actually making a joke… even if it seems like she should be. She adjusts her position as Risali shifts back around, and her own grin returns in earnest as she nods. "Any time. I mean that," she says. "I know, it's hard to impose… but you're not." She gives a momentarily stern look, that combination of Weyrwoman powers and Maternal ones, before the smile returns - mingled with sympathy. "It's terrifying, being in that chair," Soriana says with a tilt of her head toward where Risali sits. "You get to know about all the things that are going wrong… or could go wrong… and Faranth help you, because it seems like there's nobody else to do it."

Risali's brows draw in, her face pulls in a mixture of confusion, and disbelief and something else. "Well, there's a thought." A beat, a shift of her body in that chair that speaks to discomfort. "Who heals the minds of the mindhealers? Though I'm not sure if this is a 'love triumphs all,' kind of story, or one I should be pitying an apprentice over." Because bad judgement calls still deserve some modicum of understanding - to a degree. But there's a flicker of her lips for credit she doesn't get to claim, an exhale of laughter that's short-lived and… turning into something a little more complicated. Risali opts for humor in wake of comments about Headwomen. "You'd have to find me first, amid all the chaos my diabolical headwoman was causing." A beat. "And you'd have to hope there was still a weyr standing for us to have any discussions about." Because OF COURSE RISALI WILL NOT APPOINT HEADWOMEN OF CHAOS, SORIANA. Give her some credit here, okay. And then, softly, "I know." Though, just this once, maybe she doesn't. "I don't understand it, but… I…" Will what? She doesn't finish the thought. Instead she gives a hint of a smile again, those grey eyes rising to find Soriana's before they stray towards D'lei again. "It is scary. But… I have a good team of people that make it a little less so." A beat, a whisper. "Even if sometimes it feels like I'm making more work for them than helping." Which is not pity, and probably not a plea for validation given how quickly Risali is onto the next topic. "Is the bluerider still here?"

Soriana gives her head a slow shake. "I'm honestly not sure myself. She… seemed happy enough with him?" Even if Soriana herself Does Not Get It. "It certainly did not help any of our riders feel inclined to share their troubles with a mindhealer, though." Because seriously, the last thing you need when trying to work out your woes is to be told your life-partner mind-mate is an abomination unto Pern. "Makes the ones who just keep pet tunnelsnakes seem downright sane." What is it with mindhealers? But anyhow. Headwomen have at least equal potential to cause trouble, and Soriana laughs. "See, now you have your exit plan." Because it's important to have one of those, clearly. "Bonus points if she's a mindhealer gone rogue." Just bring it all back together and make the worst possible choice. WELCOME TO XANADU, where everything's on fire and the points don't matter! Soriana's smile is warm for Risali, even with that confusion evident, because maybe she does see shadows of the herself that arrived from a runner-farm at the age of fourteen with no friends but a pet tunnelcat - and the twenty-something who became Senior with no more warning than a distant death-knell. Not that she's willing to take that burden back - but she does nod, with a bit of wry amusement added to her smile for that feeling of just adding extra work… but never mind that. The topic changes back to that bluerider, and Soriana hehs. "Well now, that's a funny question," she says. "He never did ask to be posted here. He's still on the rolls at Fort, last I checked. He just… commutes."

"I suppose… love makes people do strange things." And for a moment, Risali is seeing something else, or someone else, even if she's raising a brow and tilting her head to the side in concession of those rider's thoughts. "I can't say that I blame them. Mindhealers have always… seemed a little odd to me." Not necessarily in a bad way, but… "I think it takes a certain kind of… personality, to listen to the darkest desires and secrets of people, and not be touched by it." Good, or bad, or in between. But then her lips are up, another laugh escaping her as she makes a noise in her throat and says, "I've always had an escape plan: push D'lei down and run faster than everybody else." BEST WEYRMATE. IT HER. SHE WINNING ALL THE AWARDS. "And if it's not a rogue mindhealer, I do have both a baker and a techcrafter with questionable morality. And another that I'm sure would take a lot of pleasure in trying to waylay you on your way to lecturing me." With boats, and words, and pointy sticks. EYOOOO. But the commuting, well… "That must be difficult," she says, like maybe she understands even if she was not the one commuting. "But I suppose if it works for them, it doesn't matter what everybody else thinks might be easy." One, two, three, and… "Soriana, when…" A hesitation, an exhale as if she might expel disorganized thoughts and reassemble them in order when she tries again. But instead, it's a soft, "Nevermind. It doesn't matter." But there's a knock at the door, and Risali closes her eyes, as if she knows exactly who that is and is gathering her strength because, "Excuse me," for Soriana, and then, "D'MERIAL." There's a harder edge to her now, as if Risali is casting away those bits of herself to donn her armor and be strong — stronger than she might be without it. But she's pushing out of her chair, limping towards the door. "IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE IN THOSE PANTS I SWEAR -" A push of the door, a crow of laughter from the man on the other side, and Risali is probably too busy hobbling after him to make a proper farewell to the retired goldrider in her - their - office. "I AM GOING TO MURDER YOU, AND CURSE ALL OF YOUR DESCENDENTS." Yep. Such dignity. #teamchaos

It does indeed, and Soriana nods - though it's with a quirk of her lips to the side. What is love? Is it actually a good thing? And also, why do kids love the great taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch? The world may never know. "I've met mindhealers I'd have lunch with, but… not many." Even when she's being positive, she can really only give qualified approval there! But Risali's plan for her escape? Soriana gives a full laugh of approval for that. "I'll tell Ka'el he might want to give him a suit of armor, just in case." She grins, leaning in a bit as she adds, "A heavy one, of course." Protecting D'lei and weighing him down, all at once! That's what we call efficiency. It's one of the virtues of a good plan, along with having backups - like that techcrafter and baker Risali's apparently got waiting in the wings… or at least, the spaceship. "Heh," Soriana says, though maybe she's also a bit concerned in there with the amusement… but we're keeping things light for the moment, at least, on that count. She nods about the commute's difficulty, with a slight tug of her mouth and then a nod, and her head tilts to the side as Risali tries to shape a more difficult sort of question. There's a slight inward tug of her lips as Risali dismisses it, and she probably would try to draw more out of the current Senior, BUT NO. D'MERIAL is here to SAVE (RUIN) the day. Soriana turns in her chair to see just what is going on, and observe D'MERIAL IN ALL HIS GLORY. Which makes her grin, because while old enough to be Risali's mother she may be (okay, yes, it would require her to have been a scandalous teenaged mother, but STILL), that doesn't mean she has to be conservative or easily scandalized herself. So yes. SHE IS AMUSE, and she can make her own way out of here juuust fine. Though she might just do a teeny tiny bit of work before she does, now that nobody's here to see her. YOU CAN'T PROVE NOTHIN', RISA. SHE IS RETIRED.

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