Please Not Now

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that 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. The stone is carefully leveled 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 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. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.
There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, 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, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.

Everybody needs to eat, right? It’s a fact. THIS IS A FACT. And no matter how much Risali wishes she was some kind of mythical creature of renown (AND DEATH AND CHAOS AND FEARMEFEARMEROAR) that could go days, weeks, months, years without sustenance, she’s not; she’s only human. She’s only human, and she’s back in Xanadu for now to check on Calisi’s wellbeing and ensure there’s no more errands, administrative paperwork, harper-y things that need doing to be done (not that Cali has been giving her much of those) — which means food, which means Living Caverns, which means the running into K’vir threat-level has gone from LOW to MODERATELY HIGH (Moderate only because Risali is invoking Faranth and First Eggs and everything she can to will him not there, not now, not here), and the tiny harper is ON GUARD. She pauses in the entry way with a sideways tilt so that all she is at first is grey eyes sweeping the food table, and then Risali is GOING IN FOR THE KILL. She moves with a quickness, ushered by hunger and the panicked desire to see-but-not-be-seen as she gathers a plate and starts to pile it with food that she’s not really paying attention to and — oh, but her attention shifts downwards towards a little weyrbrat who’s joined her, one grubby hand shoved in their mouth as they look at food they can’t reach and — Not fair, life. Risali kneels with an inviting smile, though her battered appearance has the child backpedaling with wary caution, and then she slowly holds her plate out. “Something you want on here, sweetheart?” SHE’S A SUCKER FOR CHILDREN, sue her, and even though she’s got that gut-pitch feeling of GO NOW GO NOW GO NOW, she quiets it as the child takes their time in deciding whether or not to trust Risa, and then what food they want. Perfect opportunity to sneak up on her.

There's one who may already consider her a creature of CHAOS and he has wandered to the caverns for the same reason: FOOD. K'vir's stash of goodies has run out and now he's forced to go out and grab something to eat IN PUBLIC! Gasp! Unfortunately, the invoking fails. HE ARRIVES! Is Risali certain she wasn't performing a summons? Maybe it was the child. THE CHILD IS IN CAHOOTS with K'vir! It's a trap! No… really, it's not. It's just a poor string of coincidences. He'll show up while she's being sweet to the child and the moment his eyes find her and recognition hits? HE TOTALLY… hangs back. He considers leaving before she sees him and just go elsewhere (like the tavern) to grab some form of food but in the end he (unwisely) decides to stay there; off to the side, behind her and not immediately noticeable. He tries not to fidget or do anything equally as stupid but he'll wait there, in complete conflict, posture tense and guarded as he watches her with that little weyrbrat and a million and one thoughts race through his head. What to do? What to say? Should he? Shouldn't he? On and on and on it goes!

ON AND ON IT GOES. The weyrbrat picking food, I mean, not K’vir’s uncertainty (though clearly that’s high on the list as well). Finally, finally, the child picks a bubbly to run off with, but only after presenting Risali with a thumb-in-cheek smile and the kind of unspoken grateful giggle that only children of a certain age can affect. It leaves Risali crouched for just a moment longer, smiling after the retreating form until the form becomes her missing cousins, and the doubt wedges itself deep in her chair, consuming air and thought and sanity and — NO. Risali’s righting herself and swinging back around with every intention of replacing her bubbly when — FWUMP, CLATTER. There goes her food. The immediate rage is on the harper’s face as she collides with somebody who’s obnoxiously tall’s chest and loses her grip on her plate, sending an explosion of mashed tubers and sticky fruit EVERYWHERE. It. Gets. Everywhere. Risali doesn’t bother looking up (being too busy looking down at the mess now spattering her clothes) in that momentary silence of disbelief that this is happening, this is real, and then she ’shrieks', “FARANTH, WHAT ARE YOU —“ only to be abruptly cut off when grey eyes lift to settle on K’vir’s face and oh. Oh no, not now. “ — doing.” See, she wants to yell, and while her voice is better, it’s still not right. It’s breathy, syllable-missing squeaks that sound as about intimidating as a kitten. “Kyzenviro,” his name comes out in a single breath that’s so many things at once: desire, fear, want, need, achingly deep and desperate yesyesyes but nonono and — one hand goes out, though her posture doesn’t make clear whether it’s to separate them or touch him. “What are you —?” ‘Doing here’, probably, but she doesn’t finish it; she’s stepping forward, and there’s so much wonder and awe and muteitmuteitmuteit. She’s frozen — for now, anyway. And then she looks over his shoulder and there's a gasp and, "Oh Faranth, Kyzen. It's Calisi and she looks like she's going to murder you. Run." Because he's avoiding her, right? This is a good enough excuse to get him to take his eyes off of her? BETTER BE. BECAUSE THE MINUTE HE DOES, SHE'S GRABBING A RED FRUIT AND RUNNING FOR THE DOOR, dodging children and weyrfolk and tables and chairs alike in her haste to get away. FIND HER IF YOU CAN, DRAGONRIDER. Only not.

Why does it always go this way? He thought he'd given her plenty of room and yet still somehow food gets everywhere and she winds up bumping into him. He'll wince at her yelling or the start of it, but here's a hint of something WORSE there: a grin. He almost grins as though he's HAPPY TO SEE HER. It's not a lie either, he IS happy to have found her but that's only because he foolishly gets his hopes up that they can TALK! Finally! Or at least confirm that she's alright. Poor, silly K'vir. It will never be that simple! "Risali, listen I—" He'll never finish. What was he going to say? Will it follow her and nag at her, the way he started to talk, the tone he used? The one that is gentle and speaks of emotions lurking beneath: guilt, sadness, confusion, happiness, need, desire… All of it and more. He'd begun to try and reach out, only to have everything so abruptly cut short. "Here? Now?" Oh FARANTH, no! He doesn't want a public confrontation! That'd be BAD ON SO MANY LEVELS! The trick works. He turns away, gaze darting nervously as he tries to spot the familiar face and form of the goldrider only to be given… nothing. Wait? "What… She's not here, Risali, are you sure -" Risali is gone now too! He catches her just as she weaves her way around one couple and swearing, tries to give chase. TOO LITTLE TOO LATE! She'll get away, though not without considerable effort on K'vir's part. Eventually he has to give up the chase and if she's hiding nearby when he does? She might overhear him cursing and muttering to himself before turning back the way he came and disappearing off somewhere. HE FAILED! Again.

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