A Mother's Inquisition

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.
The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.
A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, a big archway the largest and that leading outside. Shallow stairs to the west lead to the offices and administration area while tunnels to the east lead to the infirmary, kitchen and resident's quarters. Southwards, a sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs.

It's a winter morning on Xanadu, with the sun only half risen from the horizon. The snow upon the ground glistens brilliantly, making everything look fresh, clean, and new. Already, footprints are sunken within the white blanket, indicating that folks are already out and about, having started their day, some probably before the sun's appearance. ka-el is one that is making new prints as he makes his way from the forge and to the Caverns' warmth. And food. That breakfast smell is like a siren's song, and when he arrives his stomach grumbles a trumpeting sound. "C'mon Alloy, you're not going to find anything out there." Images of breakfast meat are projected in his mind, which is enough to have his bronze pop into existence with a hungry chirp! "That's what I thought.." He smirks and heads to the food after stamping snow from his boots. It doesn't look incredibly crowded in here, and he's glad for it. He's grown tired of getting reminders of tasks he's yet to complete and the tiresome question, "When are you going to get to it, then??"

With most of the Weyr either having already risen to do their morning tasks, or yet to rise like most riders, the quiet of the caverns is a good time for a Weyrwoman to get her morning meal. It means that she isn't going to be bombarded by a rider and crafter alike, trying to either get her attention, or get her to pass on information to Thea. Sorrin certainly isn't as intimidating as the senior, but that doesn't mean she enjoys the extra workload.

So, with a small stack of paperwork next to her, the goldrider is draining what looks to be her third or fourth cup of klah. The woman is an addict to the stuff, by what rumors have told. Normally, she wouldn't have even glanced up at someone else walking in from the cold, but the Weyrwoman is just reaching over to refill her mug when she glances over the edge of the cup at a certain arriving apprentice. Oh, she knows of this one. Ever seen the look a mother bear gives when someone comes near her cubs? Well, he's in the eyes of this one now.

Unfortunately for Kale, he doesn't even make it to the breakfast line before being caught by the shoulder by an older man. "Apprentice! I've changed me mind of what I need you tar to do me. The snow's been pilin' up by me weyr and the wife's agitated. I need you to come shovel a path." Stomach grumble. Kale eyes the food. So close yet.. so far away! His inattentiveness earns a shoulder shake. "Eh? You hear me, lad? Pay attention! You ain't piss DRUNK again, are ya!?” A disapproving look etches itself over his aged features. "Apprentices ain't what they used to be, I tell ya. In my day, one wouldn't've dreamt of…"

Poor Kale. The word 'drunk' focuses him enough to give a bewildered look to him. "No, I'm not. And I wasn't! I was.." Eh. He takes in a breath, straightening. "I'll see to your weyr, sir. Thank you." He slips out of his grasp in order to slither on, though he only gets a few steps away before.. Well. You ever get that feeling that you're being watched? He's getting that now, which has him slowing, and glancing, and meeting eyes with the weyrwoman junior. He freezes, caught in a stare. Maybe if he doesn't move, she… won't see him?

Oh, you can bet that Sorrin sees him, and her eyes stay locked there for just a moment before she rises to her feet. It's an instant change in her demeanor, though. A tired look is cast towards the man who had just commandeered Kale as the Weyrwoman continues to re-fill her mug of klah. "I'm afraid your Weyr will have to wait." She states plainly enough, and just as the man is about to protest, he spots that familiar, elaborate knot on her shoulder and stutters, straightening a bit. "I've got a special project for this apprentice. I'm sure you can find a drudge who would be able to manage for you."

All of this is said in the most reasonable of tones, but in one of those that seems to make sure that there is no argument. As her hawk-like eyes turn back to Kale, the Weyrwoman twitches her fingers towards the food. "Make yourself a plate, and then come join me. We've got some things to talk about."

Uh oh. He's been spotted! Not that that should be a surprise, considering Sorrin's eyes were on him the whole time. But there was the dwindling hope that somehow he had turned invisible. Alas. Well .. at least she got him out of shoveling snow, but Kale has a growing suspicion that he'd probably favor snow shoveling to whatever 'special project' she has in mind for him. A talk? A sudden hollow feeling comes over him. Is this .. dread? "I uh…er uh…su-…*ahem*" Breathe. "Yes'm." He gives her an awkward bow of his head and turns to the food, finally finding the ability to breathe again. Ok, he can do this! Mothers. He has one. She's….er, well. As he mindlessly loads his plate, he tries to think of any sage advice his brothers might've given him throughout the years when it comes to dealing with moms. But either they've never shared such wisdom with him, or they're all scoundrels who don't bother introducing themselves to their girlfriends’ mothers! He stalls as long as he can, his mind a whirl, but eventually he can hesitate no longer and returns, firelizard trailing behind him, to Sorrin's table and sits across from her. "..Good morning, weyrwoman." He grins. A charming, winning, irresistible boyish grin.

While the boy goes off to fill his plate, Sorrin settles back down, flipping over one page and then starting on another, making notations or filling in information as she goes, absentmindedly sipping at her drink in the process. After years of managing runners, the paperwork required of a Weyrwoman isn't nearly as tedious to her as it might be for the younger girls, who might still see riding gold as anything less than the responsibility it is. Freedom? Hardly.

It isn't until he sits down that the woman even bothers looking up again. Sorrin is a fair number of turns from sixteen, and while she and her daughter are very much alike, they are quite different as well. She certainly had never had a boyfriend - so much so that there were plenty of rumors about that she'd end up riding blue, or some other color that might speak ill of her 'interests'. Yet, she's still a goldrider, even after all of these years without a Weyrmate. "So… you're seeing my daughter."

She isn't one to pull punches, but there is a certain cleverness to this woman as well. Raising an eyebrow, she doesn't continue - this is the moment where she's giving him just enough rope that he could hang himself with it.

Despite the food in front of him and his empty stomach, Kale doesn't look like he'll be touching his food any time soon. He's not giving up on his grin. It's the grin that always works on his own mother. The one that softens harsh words and turns what would be scoldings to exasperated sighs followed by a hug. The same one that charms women presently. Not that he's trying or wanting to charm Sorrin in any way other than to get her to see that he is a nice, charming young man who is totally worth not sic’ing her dragon after! The look tones down enough for him to answer without him looking like a grinning puppet. No need to lie about this. "Yes ma'am." He should leave it at that. Simple answer to a simple question. No more, no less. But nervousness has a habit of causing one's jaws to flap a little more than they possibly should. "She's great. I mean, I like her. Ah, of course I like her, else I wouldn't be seeing her. I just mean…you have a great daughter." -.-; Alloy's on the floor, looking up. What's the hold up on the food, bub?

"Your firelizard is hungry." The Weyrwoman states offhandedly - in the same fashion one might say 'the sky is blue'. It's a subtle reminder that the rest of the world still exists. She finishes off the paper, scribbling her sign on the bottom of it, then flips it over before looking up at him again. "I'm not going to bite your head off, boy. Eat."

She lays her quill down, instead using the hand to pluck up a meatroll that has long gone cold from her own plate. "I can see why she likes you. That smile would charm rust off of iron." Sorrin muses, taking a bite of the meatroll. Oh, she's not intentionally trying to be intimidating, and perhaps some of the edge of it is wearing off by now. "I raised her to be able to make her own decisions, and if you're who she wants to be with, that's okay with me." Washing down the bite of food, the Weyrwoman waits for a moment, and then continues.

"I know my daughter, and I trust her. You're the one I don't know. So tell me, Kale. Who are you when you're not just my daughter's boyfriend? Who do you want to be?" Big questions.

Chirrup, chirp, rar. Yup, he is still here and is still hungry! Alloy voices his confirmation, perfectly timed to the junior's words as his tail whips from side to side. Kale's eyes flit to the bronze below, brows lifting in surprise. Oh, right! "Sorry," he apologizes as a plucks some of that breakfast meat to feed to the hungry bronze, who happily gulps it down. Kale finds this helpful. Dividing his attention makes sitting here with Sorrin less like sitting in a pit of rabid serpents and more like .. well, sitting with a person. He takes a bite of a biscuit, eyes turning back to her as she continues to speak. "My ma says the same," he comments. "She says I have my father's smile." He smirks gently, offering more meat to Alloy and breathing an inward sigh of relief. How wonderful to hear her not telling him to stay away from her precious child! But now there's a question being asked. Who does he want to be? Big question, indeed. "A smith, for sure," he answers. "It's all I've wanted to be. It's why I came to Xanadu. To learn what my family couldn't teach me. And uh…I guess now that I've been here a while, I wouldn't mind workin' with Search and Rescue here. I spoke to a smith rider from Western who does something near the same. It's something I think I'd be good at, even if I'm not a rider."

For all her time at the Weyrs, both at High Reaches and later here in Xanadu, Sorrin has only ever had the one firelizard, and the sound of the bronze's chirruping draws her attention. The small green peeks out from behind the pile of paperwork, watches curiously, and then just crouches there, awaiting the strokes to her eye-ridges that come even without her having to make a fuss for it.

The Weyrwoman is quiet as she listens to him. "Just a smith?" She asks, raising an eyebrow. "I know you stood for Yumeth's clutch. Seems like being a candidate would be just a distraction if that's your real goal." There were so few eggs during that clutch, and so few chances for anyone to find a lifemate. The three eggs that had survived did go to riders, who were now training in the barracks, but it hardly made up a full weyrling wing.

Kale looks to the little green as she makes her appearance. Alloy shows a bit of interest too, even though he's below and she is above. His wings spread, showboating himself grandly before another sliver of meat distracts him from his own projected images of bronze grandeur. Kale nods in reply to Sorrin, confirming that he indeed did stand. "Yes, I know, but I don't think it'd distract me from my goal. It'd…make my goal a bit harder to reach, yes. I know it'd take longer if I did Impress, but I think it'd be worth it. I think my skill with metalwork could help Search and Rescue. They've a dangerous job and deal with dangerous folk, sometimes. Most times. A smith in their ranks could provide new weapons. New devices, when working with the technology wing. Things advance all the time all over Pern, and a smith rider would be able to research these advancements and bring them back to the Weyr and apply them himself." The way he speaks now is different than before. A once nervous tone has grown confident, if not a little eager as she voices what he's obviously thought on for a while. "That's what the Western rider and I spoke of together when she came visiting Xanadu."

The green shuffles forward a little, dangling her head over the side of the table, letting the fingers of her owner trail away. Apparently, she's interested in what the bronze is doing, if not somewhat swayed by his displays.

Sorrin, on the other hand, is ignoring firelizard antics for the most part, now that the bronze isn't making noise. "Well, there might come a time in a few years where you'll have to decide on one or the other. Being a rider means that your dragon always comes first, and it can be years before you get back to your smith training. Even then, if you get tapped into rescue, you might not have much time to dedicate to the craft." Leave it to the Weyrwoman to be the voice of reason. "Of course, the same goes the other way around. It's hard to make Journeyman when you're standing at clutches. Those that stand until they're twenty-five usually are turns behind their counterparts."

It's strange how this went from a 'you're dating my daughter' discussion, to a discussion on the boy's future, but she ties the two back together. "I don't know what Soriana's path will be. I never thought I'd impress a dragon, but here I am, and she's far more empathic than I ever was as a girl. You've both got a lot of life ahead of you. The last thing I want to see is her end up hurt over a boy who runs off to some other Weyr hunting for the dream of riding a dragon. Or a boy who is so hidebound that he can't look past his craftwork."

Attention! It's what the bronze seeks in his days, and now that the hunger in his belly is satisfied, he can focus his efforts on getting more of it, now that he has an audience. Yes, look at him! The bronzest of bronzes. The most regal of them all! He cranes his neck to look up at the green, then pufffs himself up to appear a little larger, showing off his wings with a little flutter. And look what else he can do! Projected images of him hunting in the snow, swooping down and digging talons into tunnelsnakes and large insects.

Kale…eyes his firelizard and gives his head a near imperceptible shake before refocusing on Sorrin. A determined look etches across his face now. "I know I can do both. Even if it doesn't happen exactly the way I envision in my head, I know I can make it work. I.." He pauses, thinking over his words before speaking them. "Dragons were never a part've my life until I came here. Not directly anyway. I didn't come to Xanadu looking to be a rider. I won't leave Xanadu hoping to Impress somewhere eggs are laid . If it's meant to happen for me, it'll happen wherever I happen to be living. I don't plan to go from Weyr to Weyr to Stand. If it never happens, that's ok. I'm not chasing dragons."

Alas, the little green is one of those who does tend to be swayed a little by beauty. And she is watching the bronze, crooning in a sing-song voice and probably sharing some mental imagery of sailing over warm seas. This is someplace not in the chill of Xanadu at the moment, so it's probably an invitation for the two lizards to make themselves scarce to some other part of the world where it isn't quite so sharding cold.

Sorrin sets her mug down, folding her hands together. "You seem like a good kid, Kale, and I'm not here to grill you because you're seeing my daughter. All I want is what is best for her, and if you want to be what's best for her, you're going to have to make sure you become a good man. Regardless of if you're a smith, a rider, or whatever else the future has in store. One thing I'm sure of, nothing goes quite the way you expect."

For Sorrin, who had never expected to be a rider to impress gold, and then to make that fatal mistake that had grounded Yumeth for so many turns. She had been Weyrless, and only had come now, after so long, to where she had thought she would be those many turns ago. "I suppose I should give you that assignment, though." She reaches for a scrap of paper, jotting some quick words in an untidy scrawl that is nothing like the neat letters she uses for more official duties. As she passes it over, the words are clear enough - it's a Weyrwoman's order to excuse both Kale and Soriana from their duties, and permission for them to get a ride with one of the mail-riders up North to Ista for the day, with the expressed task of delivering a letter to one of the harpers at the Weyr, and with an excuse to get the rest the day off after they complete the task.

Warm breezes and lazy ocean flight? She need to think no more! Alloy, who is obviously pleased with his ability to convince others of just how great he truly is, chirrups up to the smaller green, linking hi thought with hers and interjecting the mental image of himself soaring grandly with her beneath a warm, tropical sun. Yup yup, let's go!

As for Kale being a good kid, well he certainly does try! How successful he is is subjected to personal opinion, and luckily for him, Sorrin's opinion (which is an opinion that certainly matters!) has not been tarnished by those lapses of judgment that tend to happen when one is sixteen turns old. "Thank you," he remembers to say in answer to her compliment to his character, and after that his only replies come in the form of nods, some of which are thoughtful. She sure has left him with quite a bit to think about. And apparently, she's not done yet! He forgot about that task, and he glances to the paper on which she writes with a vaguely apprehensive look. Maybe he got off too easy? When it's passed to him and his eyes glimpse the words, brows raise in surprise. Pleasant surprise! "Y- … than-. Yes ma'am, I'll.. we'll see to this straightaway. Thank you." He can't help but to grin now, though he tries not to make it too big.

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