In Search of Focus

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 and southwest is a wide tunnel, carefully roped off to avoid accidents.

It's midmorning at Xanadu, breakfast is over, although there is a table with fresh rolls, pastries, fruit and klah available for stragglers. There are some folks scattered at tables here and there, sweep riders having missed breakfast or the late riser. The door of the administration hallway opens, a leg and foot wrap 'round the door to keep it open as a skirted figure attempts to ease around that doorway. Thea's dark hair is coiled up on the back of her head and she's dressed for the offices today, but in her arms is a computer with a cord wrapped around it. She's trying without success to get her shoulder braced on the door so the rest of her body can slip through without dropping her burden.

Nikalos sits quietly in a corner, much as he has since his unannounced and unnoticed arrival several days prior. Legs crossed at the ankle, leaning back in his seat, he seems quite comfortable as he listens to the ramblings of the gossipy old auntie nearby. Despite her prattles, he seems genuinely interested in what she has to say, though he's quick enough to spot Thea's arrival - and her struggles. With a murmured word of apology for the interruption, he slips from his chair, moving to intercept her. "Let me help you," he murmurs as he reaches for the door, clearly intending to hold it open for the rider.

Thea looks up from the top of that console as Nikalos speaks, a grateful smile curves her lips, "Thanks, much appreciated. I left my extra pair of arms home today." When he's got the door, she passes through it and rather than stand there with the thing in her arms, she sets it down on the nearest table, rotating her neck and shoulders for a moment or two before holding out a hand to him, "I'm Thea, Seryth's rider. You're, ah, new? Visiting? Just passing through?" Uncertainty laces her tone and she adds a hasty apology, "We get so many coming through these days with the fires." She gives him an up-down sort of assessment, merriment twinkles in the ice green of her eyes, "Though you don't look like a refugee."

As she passes through the door, Nikalos lets it swing shut, then takes the offered hand in his own, clasping it firmly before releasing it. "Well met, Thea," he replies with a ghost of a smile. "I'm Nikalos, and to be honest, I'm not quite sure what I'm doing." His grin becomes lopsided as he shrugs his shoulders, tucking his thumbs into the pockets of his pants. "I'm no refugee, no, I'm a… ah… seeker, I suppose. I'm searching for…" And here he trails off, hands raising to gesture aimlessly in the air. "Focus, I guess you could say."

"A… seeker." Bemused, Thea repeats this before giving him the traditional response although it is somewhat absently spoken, "Xanadu wishes you clear skies." She traces across the top of the computer with one finger, marking through the fine layer of dust thereupon. "Not sure what you're doing. Then you have no home, no work at the moment?" Keen eyes lift to take in his appearance once more, "Where are you from, Nikalos? And how have you lost your focus?" A hint of a smile answers his, though her eyes dance just a bit, "We can check and see if the store rooms have any focus to spare, but I'm afraid it will cost you."

Nikalos's lips curve wryly, and he answers with that fatalistic shrug again. "It sounds silly, I know. My siblings love to tease me about it. But the honest truth is that I just don't know what to do with myself." Sighing, he tosses his head so his braid doesn't get caught and leans back against the wall, studying her with frustrated blue eyes. "I've tried crafts. I've tried various positions at various places. But nothing yet seems to suit me. Nothing… challenges me, I suppose you could say. Menial work, menial labor, not really my cup of klah." Again, that wry smile. "So I wander, and I seek. I look for that one job that suits me."

"Actually, it doesn't sound silly at all," Thea demurs softly, a poignant expression flickers across her face, the clear glass-green of her eyes darken with silent shadows as she meets that frustration in his eyes. "I had a friend once who felt like you do." She waves the memory away with an almost irritable hand, but she quotes from memory, "Restless? Something calls you, but it's something you haven't found yet? A… place? A sense of belonging?" Eyes that have become hazy with memory returns to keen assessment, "Have you a job presently?"

Nikalos raises an eyebrow at her words, but doesn't refute them, instead inclining his head in acknowledgement and thanks - presumably for not telling him he's a crazy loon. "Well, it's good to know I'm not the only person who doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. But yes, your words pretty much describe it," he admits, grimmacing. "I mean, I never felt an outcast with my family, don't get me wrong. And of all the places I have lived and worked, none have ever made me feel unwelcome. But it feels like there is something I should be doing, and nothing I do ever feels quite right." A sigh, and he shakes his head with regret. "No, lady, I have no job at present. Hence my current wanderings - I seek new employment, as well as an end to my restlessness."

Thea's lips form a flat, unhappy line, although she's really unaware that they have, "It's something they need to find in here," she lifts a finger and taps first her chest and then her head, "sometimes before what they -do- feels right. Some folks never do find it, Nikalos." Whatever she's thinking, she shakes it off with effort. Brightening, "So you're seeking work? We can always use help around here. Can you use one of these?" A hand gestures to the dusty computer she's just lugged in. "Cos I tried and shells. I give up!"

"I would prefer to be one of those who do find it, lady," Nikalos replies with quiet dignity, aware of the set of her lips. "I will not give up until I do, at any rate." A smile, ever so faint, ghosts across his lips. "A computer? Certainly. My father is a tech crafter, and he taught me, as he taught all of us, how to work them and how to work with them. What seems to be the problem?" He pushes off the wall, jerking his head again to send his braid dangling down his back, and approaches on silent feet, studying the machine.

"Thea, please Nikalos," Thea says earnestly, the sadness fades as she concentrates on the present, the gravity in her tone matches his dignity, "And I truly hope you do find it. There are few enough who do." Her smile returns then, brightens as he says he can use the computer and she nods approval, stepping back so he can have a look at the machine if he wants to. A short laugh follows his question, "What's the problem? Me! Hal-" one hand flaps at the thing, and she ruefully admits, "-works fine." She draws a breath, "Grew up in a hold without contraptions of any kind, so." She pantomimes writing with a pen, "I'm quicker the old-fashioned way. Besides-" and here a quiet acceptance settles upon her face, "-I find I didn't need the extra time it would have given me." She considers him thoughtfully, "What else can you do?"

Nikalos offers a quick, engaging smile. "Thea then, but don't tell my mother. She'd box my ears to hear me refer so familiarly to a woman I just met - especially one as you." His teeth flash as his lips part briefly in a grin, before he turns to the computer, running curious fingers over it. "I see. I understand that not everyone had the benefits of a varied - eclectic, as it were, education as I did. And to be fair, there are times I much prefer writing to typing. It has a much more personal feel. But computers can be, as you say, time-savers." He straightens, facing her again, his face falling into serious lines. "As I said before, I know computers. I can write and the Harpers have called my caligraphy graceful. I know how to organize and file, I know how to sew," and here he pauses to tug on his shirt, "I can brew a pot of klah, but don't ask me to cook you dinner, you won't enjoy the results." He pauses, gesturing aimlessly in the air. "Odds and ends, the kind of things you pick up doing all manner of jobs over a number of turns, I suppose."

"Ah yes. I'm holdbred myself, so I can understand your how your mother might feel." Thea replies with a nod, assuring him, "But I'm just me." A shrug follows his list of things he can do. Her head tilts considering, "Should have you see the Weyrwwoman, Niva or Hisolda. She's our headwoman. We can use people in the offices, archives, crafters complex, dragonhealers annex…" Her voice trails off. "We have mines, leathercraft, gardens…" She's at a loss to name all of the possibilities. "You'd need to start with something, report to someone at first. Could go from there, maybe?"

"Craftbred, but it's six in one, half a dozen in the other." Nikalos shrugs his shoulder and shifts slightly, easing more comfortably on his left leg. "Just you to you is someone else to… well, that sounded confusing even in my head, so let's just drop that particular line of conversation right here." With a self-depreciating smirk, he waves off his own fumble. "It would please me to meet with whoever you deem necessary to find work for me here. I do not demand easy jobs, nor cushy ones. Nor do I require that I be my own master. I prefer intellectual work to manual labor - I don't like to dirty my clothes, see?"

Thea tilts her head back, an easy laugh rings out, "Dropped then." She bends slightly to re-gather that computer, stands and turns back to face Nikalos, amusement still dancing in her eyes. His clothes are given another look. "I see. They're much too pretty to rip while fence-mending or fishing." She grins then adds, "See Niva later today. Her office is just through that hallway." A gesture with her chin to the door she just came out of, "I'm fairly sure we need someone for records, if nothing else. And she'll have a resident's knot to give you, too." She turns towards one of the other doors, "I need to get this down to stores. Good luck Nikalos." And with that, she and Hal are off to part company. Ah freedom!

Nikalos merely nods his head. "Thank you, lady," he replies, grinning broadly at her. "Clear skies." As she heads off, he turns towards the indicated door, though he makes no move to enter it yet.

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