Xanadu Weyr - Seryth's Clearing

This clearing is sheltered by a thick canopy of trees, which seems supported at its center by an immense, wild-growing fellis tree, all which serve to keep the area in deep shadow when the trees are in leaf. Hanging from one of its high branches is a swing, made up of two ropes and a seat of softwood and leather. The grass is tall here and interrupted in places by clusters of white and blue alyssum, which covers the indentation of the wallow, remaining hardy despite being continually crushed. The distant sound of herdbeast in their pens can be heard, though it is quite a distance off, its source is invisible through the foliage.
The cottage itself is made of white softwood, like birch, though creeping vines cover all four of its walls from the outside and even encircle the brown-shuttered windows and matching door. Two stone stairs lead to the landing before the door, sheltered only by the low eaves that overhang it. Presently the shutters are closed and it is apparent that the cottage is unoccupied and has been for a long time.

Evening has descended upon Xanadu Weyr, putting an ease to the immediate thaw that has consumed the Weyr throughout the day, but most of it is still running and dripping despite the fact that there's no sun to warm it, the air enough for that now. A'dmar has spent the last couple days making the rounds with the wings, getting to learn what they do and why they do it the way they do. Each wing's wingleader has been put through a day of a hundred questions, not just twenty. There have been a few personality clashes but nothing that couldn't be dealt with in time. Thus, the man was absent from the offices today, out with the search and rescue wing, riding back in with the transport wing - even offering the transport wing some suggests, tricks of the trade as it were. That doesn't mean though that he failed to hear the news of there being some trouble with the Weyrwoman. He means to follow up on the conversation they undertook the other night. It only means trudging through the slush and the muck as lightly as possible, attempting to keep most of his pants clear of splattering mud - he changed before he came down after all. Straying down the path to Thea's cottage, he knocks once he approaches the door, slicking his hand through his hair once before he waits for an answer. In his other hand, some fancy wine traded for at the Ierne markets with finger foods whisked away from the local kitchens, the food and a set of glasses in a basket slung over his forearm and the wine bottle held by the neck.

Just as the Weyrleader knocks, in the gathering dusk there's the sound of rattling, a few banging thumps, then a loud wooden CREEEEAAAAK as rusty hinges protest followed by two faint metallic clinks. The sound of footsteps slogging through the slush precedes Thea as she rounds the cottage from the other side and then stops, surprised. She shoots a 'gee, thanks for the warning' look at the clearing for Seryth - now where HAS she gone? Probably looking for cuddles now that she's felt she could leave Thea. "Oh hello," she says striding forwards and making for those stone steps. In one hand she carries a crowbar, with the other she smoothes her hair back from her eyes. The front shutters are open and hooked to remain that way, giving testament to what she'd been doing. "What's this for?" She sounds curious rather than suspicious as she opens the door and tilts her head for him to enter if he'd like.

And he wasn't anticipating her not being inside nor having a crowbar in hand. The surprise is returned, briefly, the man half pivoting to better face Thea as she strides forward, answering her as she opens the door to invite him inside, "Cottage warming…?" he half surmises that would do, a pun perhaps considering the ice is melting too, tone enticing as he adds, "It could be that someone dropped a line and wanted me to check up on you, that you had eaten." His elbow props the door open as he moves to follow, trying to quell the suspicions of why he was there, "In truth, multiple reasons. My accomidations are more than I would anticipated and this is a gesture of appreciation, as well as one of concern." Then as he's using his foot to nudge the door closed behind him with a heel, he admits further, "It could also be I'm feeling a little lost and would like some company, and outside of daring teenagers, there's currently no one interested in polite companionship. Yarovith offers his own amusement, though twenty six turns is a long time to listen to the same conversations." That's relatively twice as much as he's ever said before. He must be really hurting, lonely in his new life.

Vine-Entwined Forest Cottage

The interior floor, ceiling and walls are raw wood that has been sanded and lacquered to make them smooth. Overhead, the cathedral ceiling gives the inside a spacious feel to it, the pale wood enlarging the space to the eye even though the cottage is fairly small. To the left, set under a large window, the bedroom area is plain, consisting of a wide bed and nightstands on either side. An ornately carved wardrobe, standing in a niche to the right of the door provides the only real decoration.

Past the wardrobe is a simple fireplace, the pearly stones rough-cut square, which provides both warmth and cooking since this cottage has no electricity. A simple leather couch has been placed in front of this and there are several hand-tufted rugs of lavender, moss green and white scattered about the glossy floors - Thea's handiwork. At the rear of the cottage is a simple kitchenette, countertop providing the division from the main area, while the back wall forms a breakfast nook with floor to ceiling windows that invites the forest in. A small, sturdy round oak table and chairs is set within the alcove, set simply with a few pale green placemats and an alabaster bowl for floating flowers in. On one counter, a circle has been cut out and fixed with a clay-fired bowl with a nearby matching pitcher.

Presently the cottage is dark, windows shuttered and mattress stripped bare. While kept clean, the cupboards are empty and it is evident that no one has lived here for a long time.

Thea almost smiles or she would if she were in the mood to. There's a subtle irony in her reassurance, "I promise I'm not going to bean you with it," she says of the crowbar and that defensive stance he's taken turning towards her. She knows it's an ingrained habit with him, but still has to tease him just a little. She steps inside and casually tosses the crowbar onto the bed, which is covered with boxes and bundles. Much of the floor is the same, nothing is unpacked but there is an aisle to the breakfast nook and kitchenette and this is where she heads now, tossing him an unreadable look over her shoulder, "Cottage warming, hmm? Is that how you knew where to find me?" She doesn't ask how he heard; he can say if he wants to though. The mention of someone wanting her to eat brings a flicker of pain but she doesn't remark on it save to say shortly, "I haven't." While he speaks, she's removing bundles from at least two of those chairs, whisking a few things off the table and then she lifts a brow, "Has he told you what he thinks of Seryth?" And then she chuckles dryly; she was probably joking. "Would you like some klah?"

The 'bean' comment earns a quiet look of ponderance, something akin to not knowing what she meant or plotting to thwart any attempts - one of the two, his expression hard to read at times, cast behind those dark eyes and those foreign features. Still, he enters, knowing the threat of being clubbed in the head by a crowbar looms. Taking off his boots, he balances his items brought in good gesture within, eyes skimming over the boxes, a tell tale sign of what the outcome was with her weyrmate. He's at least a good few steps behind her, switching the wine to his free hand so he can let the basket handle slip down into his grasp, hoisting it up onto the table once she clears a spot for it. Maybe trying to lift her mood or finding a streak of humor inside of himself, he answers her in jest to her question of how he found her cottage, "The ear-splitting bangs were a give away. I could hear you were pounding away from the office." He realizes it's not a good time, that she could likely be better off with a girl friend or someone more compassionate to her woes, but, he was here now and his hands move to reveal the morsels of food that were brought along and wrapped to keep warm. Hot rolls from the kitchen, poached eggs, roast wherry, spiced tubers and breaded spiced beans, and a bunch of other little things to nibble on. Nothing over the top, but enough to satisfy the hunger. "Good, then you will now and save me from eating it all myself." There was enough portions in containers and wraps to feed them both comfortably. He also takes out two wine glasses, where by he puts the bottle down, hands moving to crack it but not quite. It's a nice vintage of white from the Nabol region, "This is by far one of the finest whites on Pern." He lifts it to ensure she wants some before he goes to opens it to pour, considering she's offering klah, "Uhm…" a bit of a shrug, a smirk, "Either or." His hand strays away from the bottle, letting her decide on their beverage this night, filling in the space with a head shake over Yarovith, "Ahh, the big old fool… I've never seen him… cuddle so much. He likes it. He likes the attention. I've never weyrmated with another dragonrider,-" woah, he puts up a hand, "-not to say that I will be. But, this is as close as it gets I suppose and he's taking advantage of it. He's including gold tones more frequently as he converses now." His lips turn up, amused by his lifemate and the obsession that he's building over Seryth - there for her whenever she wants those cuddles! Plunk, he sinks down into one of those cleared chairs.

Thea reads the look she's given as skepticism and snorts quietly. "I need a live Weyrleader," she assures him wryly, between clearing the table and her question about the klah. She merely smirks at the joke he's made about her banging. "Call it therapy; it's saved me marks and a mindhealer the trouble," she says with some spirit. She's tough; she doesn't need a shoulder to cry on, or so she tell herself and will likely say aloud if asked. She ooohs when he lifts the wine and describes it. "The wine," she says decisively. "My klah pot is… in one of the boxes and the mugs likely in another." Her plates must be in yet a third, she doesn't even bother trying to search for them. She does have towels and napkins folded on the counter, so the linens are brought and placed one at each setting before she sinks gracefully into the chair opposite from the one he's taken and peers at him, a slow grin replacing the somber set of her mouth that sneaks back as thoughts she's trying to push away creep in. "He might as well," she tells him, "Seryth is a lovey, she'll let him." Poor Romth! The queen has forgotten him already. She gestures to the basket and says genuinely, "Thanks for doing this. I didn't see you today, how did the meetings go?"

"It might not have saved your neighbours hearing though," he intones with a light mockery of all that banging he came up on, but he understands all the same, work distracts the mind, and that is all there is to it. As for the wine, seemingly out of options since the Klah pot would be too much effort to find in all the boxes, which means he'll rise again to crack it open now that she's given her decision and the wine will not go to waste. He pours them both a full glass, setting her glass in front of her table setting. "There you are," he notes as he settles back down, amusing about the dragons, "I never knew he'd be capable of so much affection toward another dragon. He's typically… a shadow." Not now. He's seen the dragon following Seryth about and enjoying those cuddles as any happy-go-lucky dragon would. The thanks is given a nod, "It's fine. I know what it's like to … move." Move, much easier to say than 'to be alone.' He picks out one of those hot buttered rolls, lips thinning for the last question, "As well as I would've imagined. The wingleader of the transport wing, I like him, he's lively and has the right attitude. And your wingleader for search and rescue fits well enough, he's focused and driven - wants his team to be the best." He remarks on Fl'ynn and Ers'lan, the others getting lumped in with the 'as well as he could've imagined' part.

The thought of neighbors - her new ones - draw a darkening of Thea's ice green eyes to moss but she pushes the thought away in favor of warning him, "Watch out, she'll lead Yarovith up to the starstones to cuddle and they'll fall sound asleep then you'll have to thumb a ride to get anywhere." She lifts the glass, sniffs it curiously, surprised by the bouquet. "I've never had Nabolese wine," she says right before she sips. And she approves it, by the expression on her face. As for the wingleaders, she understands. "Fl'ynn is definitely… energetic. Ers'lan is dedicated." She is pleased with their management, though she tells him with a nose-wrinkle, "C'yr is an odd one and Ph'yrs…" she coughs, grimacing. "The poor man, ahhh, I ought to let him off the hook and find another Weyrsecond." Then he gets a warning look, "Don't re-tap D'had. He needs less stressful work." He needs, she says, but maybe it's for the best for her too.

"I doubt re-tapping him would benefit any of us," this spoken with an blantant tone, of which much thought was put behind those words, as evident by his willingness to meet her gaze on the matter, "Yet the urgency is the same, a Weyrsecond should be found. I do not know your men and women as well as others might and I'm sure you have a suggestion other than my friend Ph'yrs…" Ierne unite! With that statement alone he has proven that he has some knowledge of those who dwelt within the Island bound Weyrhold. What is surprising is that he's not at all concerned to give the honor of selecting a Weyrsecond over to the Weyrwoman. It's likely another strike against tradition, which has become more or less his manner of dealing with what comes across his desk. He hoists the wine to his lips, thoughtful, then he begins on another tangent, "My daughter would like to come live here at Xanadu. I would make her a resident and I assume I have your approval to welcome her? I recommended she help the headwomen to learn a little more of the ways of administration, as she has mentioned the idea of holding a small gather up at the observation … tower." He stumbles over what it was called, as he hasn't made it that far yet to investigate every little area in Xanadu.

"He did a fine job; I'll miss having him there," Thea says of her former weyrmate cradling her wineglass in fingertips gone white as her hand tightens on the stem. Troubled, her eyes drift out the window and gaze at nothing. The silence stretches until she recalls herself and dismisses her private thoughts briskly with, "Anyway, he needs to slow down, much as he'll deny it. Rest." Retire, really but that went over like a lead balloon, so she fired him. She doesn't blink about his comment regarding her suggestion for another Weyrsecond, apparently not seeing it as any sort of particular honor. Though Xanadu has pretty much operated in less traditional ways as far as leadership goes with C’ian leaving much of the decisions up to Niva. During her own tenure she's pretty much had a partnership with her Weyrleaders. So the look Thea returns to him is just contemplative. "Not really. G'ene… too fond of his booze. And he's o- needs to avoid stress. D'son wants to focus on his family. N'shen… might do. He's young yet though. Maybe Xe'ter?" She mulls other names in her mind, then shrugs. "What do you know about Ph'rys?" She sips lightly on her wine, tilts her head questioningly at his mention of his daughter. "Is she not here yet? Of course she may come! I told you she would be welcome." Help the headwoman, hmm? Thea purses her lips, considering this. "Does she have a craft?" she asks cautiously at length. As for the observatory, she looks confused. "A… gather? Where all the starscopes are? I doubt they'd allow a party in where all the delicate instrumentation is used. Or did she want a star viewing party?" Baffled, that's what she is.

The wine is mulled over and then polished off, the items he brought along with him nibbled on, as he takes a stance of silence, allowing Thea to express what she will, about her weyrmate and about the possible names of those who would be competent. He knows not a one of them, except for Xe'ter, which he answers with a hard tone, "He may be a wise choice or unwise, depending on how you look at it. Those of this Weyr will still see him as Weyrleader and I imagine if you would prefer his leadership over mine, then it would be well suited we pick Xe'ter." He bares no hard feelings on the previous Weyrleader but he knows how the minds of men work. They will choose to follow Xe'ter's word and if A'dmar and he were to disagree on something, those loyal to Xe'ter would follow him blindly. Loyalty and proven leadership can certainly undermine the new untried and untested weyrleader. "I have nothing bad to say about Ph'rys," he pauses then adds, "He assisted in investigating the where abouts of my daughter." So there, he has respect for the man, a sure thing needed in a partnership. Which leads nicely into the subject of his daughter, "She has a craft, yes, the starcraft, which is why she would like to host a small gather in this observatory. It would be simple enough to move some of the delicate instrumentations out of the way or encase them in protection." He shrugs, "I honestly didn't get into the specifics with the girl since I asked if she ever hosted a gather, which, she declares she has not, hence, I suggested she spend some time with the headwomen to find out. Nothing easier than getting first hand experience."

Thea blinks at A'dmar, surprised at his hard tone. "No, they won't either," she says slowly, keeping her eyes on his. "Yarovith won the flight, they all know it. It isn't done, not to follow the winner." She knows these people! "I mention Xe'ter because he would be an invaluable asset to you" since he knows the workings of Xanadu. N'shen does too, for that matter." She settles back against her seat, continuing to regard him thoughtfully. She doesn't bother to respond to 'prefer his leadership over mine', finding the comment ludicrous and beneath her to even acknowledge. Though by the flair of her nostrils and tilt of her chin, he's offended her. Tread lightly, thin ice! With a voice is devoid of emotion she says evenly, "How little you know the man. In private he might disagree with you and voice his own opinions, but in public he'd be united with you. Weyrsecond is under your command. You want someone you can trust, someone who can take command as Acting Weyrleader in your stead if something like… say a cave-in traps you underground?" Subtle sarcasm imbues her tone as she arches a brow at him. He asked her opinion and she gave it! Perhaps she'll just let him muddle along next time. She shrugs about Ph'yrs. "You want him, it's fine by me." Back to the window her eyes drift, lips thin; this is going to be a trial. "Starcraft. Then… I'll have her see Master Starsmith Envory rather than the headwoman," she says, her voice decisive. Her gaze returns to him, incredulous. He… knows nothing about starcopes, does he? "You don't just… move them," she says, trying not to laugh. "They can have the gather up on the ridge, but I won't upset the starsmiths."

Why is everything so complicated? Because this is a man of independence. He has long since forgotten the way the world of the Weyr works and while other men might be easier to slide into the role of Weyrleader, this one is going to struggle with it - not for lack of experience at managing details of work that has to be done, no, but for the people aspect of it. His trade in Ierne depended on free-lance, with only a few who were ever fully employeed with the business. A Weyr is a nest of snakes, pull a wrong tail and someone gets bitten. He reaches for the wine to refill both their glasses, taking that time to refuse any more of his personal opinion onto the woman. This was her kingdom, he was just a temporary role within it. His tightened jaw proved that much. Even for the matter of his daughter's enthusiasm of having a gather up in the observatory, naught another word is said. His eyebrows do lift as he stares up underneath them to the woman, because clearly, he has no idea about stargazers, "No matter, just idle words from an overzealous girl." A stranger to him still.

And he's got to deal with Thea! Let's not forget that. The Weyrwoman is pretty much the opposite of him in every way. She's trying though, to be patient with the wild desert man. She was born to the mountains of High Reaches, a staunch traditionalist's holder's daughter, he of the freeborn desert tribes. She has lived here, since leaving home, bound by the Weyr's protocol, he the life on an independent businessman. Eyeing that clenched jaw, his demeanor, she sighs dismissing her own irritation. He will fall into the style he needs here as he gets to know these people, perhaps he will find something in leading men appeals, find his place. "Tell me, what she wanted to do. Maybe there's a way I can work something out between her and the starsmiths. They do love to show off their stars."

"We spoke little of it, to be truthful," he holds his tone in reserve, careful to not hint at anything or put pressure where it's not warrented, "It was an idea she briefly stated and I have dwelled upon it for a few nights. I believed it could be feasable, but not as a gather as she put it. Rather, an open house night with wine and cheese might be better suited around the instrumentation." He takes some of his wine in small doses, dark eyes resting any where but on Thea. Maybe he could sense that he troubles her or that he has some how offended her. Maybe he was doing all he could to keep himself reined in. This was not a night to argue, this was not a night to banter about subject matters which would consume their daily lives. This was to be time spent building a more steady foundation on top of the working relationship they've already established. But, it's difficult. The stress and strain of personal lives versus expectations. He sits back in his chair, stiff, controlled, precise. The hour for opening up past. "I should take my leave," and it was that simple, that easy to say, the man standing from his seat, "A kitchen maid will be by within the hour to pick up the basket and glasses."

Thea reconsiders, nodding after a time. "I think I can get them to allow that," she says finally. The word gather, in her mind, had her picturing something far different. She sips her wine, unaware of his intent to simply chat and get to know her. So many things weigh on her mind tonight and she's never found opening up an easy thing. It takes time for people to get past her defenses, win her trust. He mentions leaving and she lifts her eyes from the tabletop, pulls her mind back from the weyrbarn she'd left, and says almost out of nowhere, "So… have you thought yet that Yarovith might keep winning Seryth's flights for… turns and turns each time she rises? You know it happens sometimes." Since they're both awkward and struggling with changes, she might as well throw that thought out there.

It would take time for him too. To open up and to allow someone to trust him. It was so much easier to make someone mistrust you and keep them at arms length than it was to allow someone to trust you and allow them to get close. And while he was certainly trying to get to know the woman he had to work with on a daily basis, it hadn't gone as well as planned. He was ill at ease and leaving was an option that allowed him an opportunity to try again another day. It would do no good for him to fall through that thin ice, not when the ice was so freshly frozen over. The question stalls him as he stands there before her table, his dark eyes studious of the woman, the Weyrwoman as she was, a queen in her own rights. Yet, instead of some smart remark, he dips his head, a sign of respect, polite tone used, business professionalism used, "What happens tomorrow for us today cannot be known. A man would be foolish to give hope to days he has not yet numbered. And I personally know that a man's world can change in a flicker of the sun. One day a man is free, the next…" his hands open. He regards her with a noble gaze, "We will walk those days if they should come."

Thea's lips twitch as she listens, a smile ghosting around her mouth. The man is not as ambivalent as he comes across, perhaps. Oh without a doubt it's easier to snuggle into armor than to trust others and the woman definitely has hers wrapped around her tonight. He'll find she's quite good at avoiding curious weyrfolk, prying into the whys of her move back to her own cottage while D'had remains in his weyrbarn. The Weyrleader will likely too often overhear her saying, "I'm fine," when everything about her body language says otherwise. "Indeed," she says with a bit more of a smile. "Thank you for coming, and for the wine." And she'll rise, walk with him to the door, warn him about roots on the trail through the woods, offer a glow for him to take to light his path.

The sienna skinned man turns to take the moment to exit when she rises to escort him to the door. There wasn't going to be much more said at this hour, particularly bad timing on his part perhaps, so soon after she had moved out of the weyrbarn. Of course, maybe the timing was perfect as he ensured she had eaten some. "It was a pleasure," whether it was or not is yet to be seen, adding politely as he puts on his boots, "I wish you well." Then, he straightens and bobs his head at her once as he strides out the door, taking the offered glow as boots carry him through the muck and slush of melting ice. He doesn't look back, he doesn't hesitate on his leave, but it's unlike he'll try this again soon.

When he is gone, Thea shuts the door quietly and leans back against the heavy wood to survey the room. Now where to start with the unpacking? The silence of the place is overwhelming, the solitary room seeming to close around her. But better here than in the Weyrbarn where a man with too much rum and unresolved anger combine to make things unpleasant while he alternately glowers or ignores her. Her thoughts flee to the now-dark seas where a proud ship rides the waves heading north with her children. Their first prolonged taste of the seas! Longing to be there sweeps over her, to see their enjoyment of it, to snuggle them both, press kisses to their dark crowns… Their remembered scent draws an overwhelming ache to her heart and finally, doing little more save to move the boxes and bundles off the bed, she curls up on the sheetless mattress and gives vent to her sorrow.

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