Xanadu Weyr - Clearing


A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

While it has been drizzling, and sometimes sleeting, all day today, even the clouds need to take breaks. And so as dinner rolls around, a brief lull in the winter weather occurs, much to the relief of the various residents of Xanadu. Moria eyes the sky nervously as she emerges from the craft complex, stepping carefully around a frigid puddle as she begins to cross the clearing. The crafter's tunic and hair are both singed, her bangs almost nonexistent and brows somewhat charred. The stench of burned hair follows her, and has prompted her firelizards to remain aloft instead of settling on her shoulders. The bronze and blue drift by lazily abover her head, keeping pace with her long stride with minimal effort.

Ommatidia is stealing a mug from the living caverns. No, not stealing, borrowing, temporarily, to be lost under her cot until it is returned….someday. She ducks out of the caverns cradling the steaming mug of klah against the cold and damp and the eyes of scolding headwomen, then glances around the clearing. Moria is spotted quickly, and with a spark of interest. Without another moment's thought, Omma angles herself across the clearing and swings herself into a neat turn, matching steps with the woman right back to the caverns from whence she's come. "'Evening. I don't think I've met you yet," Omma offers cheerfully by way of greeting. "Has there been a dreadful accident, or was the glasscraft just terribly demanding today?

Only Mulgrave's alerting chirp keeps Moria from being startled by Ommatidia, but she still twitches slightly when the younger woman addresses her. "Sorry, what?" Moria says, blinking at Omma in confusion for several moments. "Why would there have been an accident? Not that there was one, but what made you think there might have been?" Mulgrave, the bronze, drops down to coast beside the women, eyeing Ommatidia with obvious curiosity as he glides along. Moria ignores him for the moment, slowing her steps to focus on Ommatidia. "I think you're right that we haven't met, anyhow. Are you new to Xanadu? I thought I'd met almost everyone who lives here over the last two Turns." Her voice is low and rough, but also strong and clear, her words easy to understand.

Ommatidia holds back most of a grin, but the corners of her lips still sneak up. "Sorry, it's just that you seem a bit…" she rubs at her eyebrow absently, with a delicate pause to find the right word, "freshly scorched. Perils of the craft, I suppose. I'm Ommatidia," she adds, switching topics with no preamble, and offering Moria the hand not currently holding klah. "Late of Telgar Weyr, late of Lemos, and so on and so forth. New to Xanadu, but weather aside, I quite like it here." A quick glance over at Mulgrave, who gets a nod and a full grin. "And a good evening to you, too, friendly sir."

Moria frowns and rubs a hand across her face, leaving soot smudges. She examines her fingers and then sighs. "Oh. Well, I can see how you would get that impression. No, not an accident, per se. Just an overly enthusiastic apprentice working the billows. It's hardly the first time, and certainly won't be the last, that I've lost hair to such." She rubs her fingers clean on her tunic before shaking the offered hand. "Welcome to Xanadu, Ommatidia. I'm Moriana. Pleasure to meet you. That charming fellow is Mulgrave. He's angling for caresses, I'm sure. The blue," and she jerks her thumb toward the flying firelizard, "is Blackbeard. My green isn't around, which is good. She's not the nicest firelizard out there." Mulgrave trills with delight when Ommatidia looks at him, executing a need wing-over to show off for his audience. Moriana snorts but otherwise doesn't comment on her oldest firelizard's antics.

"Well met, then, Moriana." Ommatidia's handshake is firm but not too tight. "I'm on something of a mission to get to know everyone in the weyr, but it's only been a sevenday or two, so I'm a little bit behind. They've got me in the laundry. You learn some fascinating things about people by seeing to their laundry, I've discovered." A hand is offered towards Mulgrave, should he venture close enough for the desired caresses. "The firelizards I've known are all either greedy and vain, mean and particular, or loyal and sweet as bubblies. Often all three."

Moria laughs softly, shaking her head at Ommatidia's observations. "I can imagine laundry does give some insight into people, but only so much as any object can. My clothes, for example, show that I'm a hard worker in a messy job, but not why, or necessarily what." Mulgrave drifts over to examine Ommatidia's hand before flapping over to chirp at Moriana entreatingly. The crafter shakes her head but stops, holding out a sleeved arm to the bronze. "Alright, I'll hold you for your petting. He isn't vain, really, but he does appreciate an audience, and loves attention. He's certainly loyal, and I might call him sweet if it weren't for Trina, my green. It's his fault I have her, and I really wish I didn't. She is very much greedy, vain, mean and particular, and hardly loyal or sweet," the woman says. Blackbeard, noticing that Moria has stopped, scolds them all, dropping down to land on Moria's head for a heartbeat before the smell drives him away again with a disgusted snort.

Ommatidia reaches out to skritch as promised, running a gentle hand down the 'lizard's head and back, spending a little extra time rubbing around the headknobs. "Well, no, but the number of people whose favorite food I can guess by how many times they've spilled the same thing on themselves. Or which of the greenriders likes to try on dresses in his weyr. It's a way to make the job interesting, anyway." She glances up at Blackbeard and raises her mug to him in a little toast, right hand still busily skritching Mulgrave's headknobs. "If I had another hand free or a place to set this down, I would gladly pet you too, just for being a better firelizard than your clearly terrible sister."

Moria snorts at Blackbeard's antics, shaking her head slightly before returning her gaze to the other woman while Mulgrave croons his pleasure. "It's something, certainly. Better to be entertained than die of boredom trying to get the job done!" Blackbeard doesn't seem interested in coming closer, hovering over Moria and letting out disgruntled chirps. "Oh, he doesn't want attention, he wants dinner. Perfectly capable of feeding himself, of course, but he likes my food much, much better. He's a scamp, but amusing. Just… don't sing around him. He gets ideas." Mulgrave bumps his head against Omma's hand, trilling softly, before he gathers himself and jumps back into the air, winging over to the blue to keep the younger firelizard occupied.

Ommatidia snorts. "First of all, I wouldn't sing around tunnlesnakes or watchwhers, let alone creatures with a sense of music," she promises, and takes another drink of her klah. "We can get him dinner, although it's up to you how you feel letting him eat yours. It's stew tonight, actually quite tasty. And it's starting to rain again." A glance up at the sky, then back down at Moria; another sip of klah. "And this's gone cold anyway, it was hardly worth the trouble of sneaking it out to begin with. No reason I can't keep you company so I can ask all sorts of things like where you're from and why, out of anywhere and any possible job on Pern, you're here in Xanadu as a glasscrafter." Omma offers a carefree little shrug and inclines her head towards the living caverns. "So lord Blackbeard doesn't starve to death?"

Moria nods, expression rueful as the raindrops begin to trickle down from the clouds once more. "If we hurry, we might even avoid getting truly chilled," she agrees. A sharp whistle has the firelizards stopping their play and zipping toward the caverns, Mulgrave easily outdistancing Blackbeard as the two vanish into the cave system. "Stew sounds good. I'll probably grab a meatroll for Blackbeard, since I have no interest in washing him clean of broth." She begins moving toward the caverns again, checking to be sure Ommatidia is also in motion. "Why were you, ah, smuggling, did you say? Most of the common areas usually have a pitcher at their hearth, though it isn't always the freshest stuff."


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.

"Yes, but it's my first time at Xanadu, and I'm not going to wait for spring to see what all the grounds look like just because it's disgusting and cold out," Omma replies as they walk in through the cavern doors. "I've got a warm enough coat now, a hot cup of klah to keep me from freezing and I'd bet the shore is lovely by moonlight, don't you think? I've barely gotten a chance to look at them so far. Tell you what, I'll meet you at a table?" Without waiting more than a moment for a response, Omma beelines for the klah pitcher, replacing her cold beverage with hot and not even adding sweetener before she takes a sip. She smiles blissfully for a moment before heading back towards the seating area.

Moria watches in bemusement at Ommatidia heads over to refresh her mug. The crafter shakes her head and makes her way over to a table that is vacant except for the firelizards sprawled along its surface. Each gets a loving caress before Moria shoos them onto the back of a chair. "You know better than to be on the table," she scolds gently as she gets them rearranged. "Show your manners now. I don't feed ill-mannered firelizards." Lies! How else did Trina make it to adulthood with Moria? Glancing over toward Omma, Moria asks, "Would you like me to get you a bowl of stew? Or have you already eaten?"

Ommatidia shakes her head. "No, thank you, I ate earlier. Was on my way out when I ran into you and decided I ought to meet someone else new today. Go ahead, I can make sure these two little scamps remain properly seated while you get your dinner." She punctuates this statement by raising a hand to caress Mulgrave again, with a little grin at Blackbeard. "Firelizards with manners, will wonders never cease."

Mulgrave is perfectly content to be caressed, leaning into Omma's hand with a pleased murr. Blackbeard ignores her completely, whirling eyes fixed on Moria as the crafter makes her way toward the serving hearth and dishes up a bowl of soup for herself. She stops by the table with meatrolls and other lighter foods, placing a pair on a plate before returning to the table. "If you try and steal it, you won't get anything," Moria warns the blue as she sits in the chair, careful to not knock either firelizard off the perch. "Xanadu does not tolerate firelizards without manners," she adds. "The occasional bit of mischief isn't a problem, but true poor behavior will get a censure from one of the dragons, and that's driven any number of firelizards wild. So most of the firelizards here should be well mannered. Trina even has manners. She just has a poor personality."

Ommatidia nods. "Fair and a practical way to run things, although I always thought they were more fun when they were up to mischief. I suppose it'd be different if I ever actually had my own, and it wasn't mischief I directed." She strokes Mulgrave with the dedicated enjoyment of someone separated from a pet getting the chance to dote on somebody else's. "I always felt weyrs were more permissive of general firelizard mishaps than holds were. Holds aren't designed to put up with the antics of winged things. Although I suppose it's true the firelizards weren't actually any better-behaved, anywhere out-weyr I've visited, people just got more upset about it." She shrugs, ending her musings abruptly. "So, why /do/ you live at Xanadu?"

Moria shrugs noncomittaly as she listens, taking several bites of her stew before Omma comes around to asking her a question again. She swallows and pours herself a glass of water from the pitcher on the table, taking a quick drink before she answers. "A lot of reasons. I'm from Black Rock Hold, which is in Xanadu's coverage area. It's the closest Weyr to my family, and the best way to see them regularly is to live here. And at the time that I moved here, there were only two Glassmasters with my specialty taking new apprentices, and the other is at Telgar. I don't particularly care for the feel of the Northern Continent - too closed up. So Xanadu was the logical choice. And it has certainly been interesting, living at a Weyr." She glances toward Omma, raising a singed brow. "How about you? Why are you here?"

Ommatidia nods along, listening curiously. "It's definitely more closed in, it just seems…cozy," she opines. "But the Southern continent has so much more room to spread out and explore, it's true. I guess you could say I'm here because it's one place on Pern I haven't lived before. And it was about time to stop being the eternal fosterbrat to every close or distant relation I have." Omma shrugs. "As that's gotten my through more or less every Weyr on Pern, we're left with Xanadu. Well, or Benden or Honshu, I suppose, but this seems to be turning out well so far." She stops with a bright smile for the glasscrafter. "People are friendly. And there is all sorts of /space/."

Moria shakes her head with a rueful smile, eating several more bites of her stew. Mulgrave takes Omma's lack of attention poorly, cheeping plaintively and nudging her hand with an imploring look. "Well, I can imagine that it feels different for people who grew up there. I've never spent more than a few days at a time up North, and then only because I had to. Went up to a small hold in the 'Reaches last winter - summer for them - to harvest some plants for a project. Took a couple days to do." Since Blackbeard has been behaving and waiting oh-so-patiently, Moria breaks up one of the meatrolls, offering him bits. "Why have you moved around so much? Most people who do have families that travel, not families that send them around to visit everyone. It's a bit backward, isn't it?"

Ommatidia laughs wryly, and takes a moment to turn back to Mulgrave, redoubling her efforts. After a moment of silently skritching at the bronze's headknobs, she says, "It's less a matter of visiting and more 'Who can we talk into volunteering to take Omma this Turn?'" she explains, with more humor and less bitterness than the words would indicate. "My parents are riders, they're both usually too busy to raise a child alone, and living at seperate Weyrs besides. So I've just been fostered out to half the family. It's been great fun, mostly. I've seen half the planet."

Moria mmms softly, setting the remains of her stew aside as she continues to tidbit meatroll to Blackbeard. "And you've not felt the calling of a craft, I assume?" She smiles at Mulgrave's behavior, poking the bronze gently. "She's doing you a favor. Don't get demanding," she scolds. Mulgrave lets out a soft chuff, softening the lean into Omma's hand and peering at her with blue/green whorls in his eyes. The bronze's tounge darts out to lick Omma's fingers in appreciation for the attention. "That's somewhat better," Moria concedes with a small smile.

"He's a pretty little sucker for attention and he knows it." Omma accuses affectionately, not lessening her pettings one bit. "As to crafts…I apprenticed to Smithcraft, once?" she says, with something of a guilty grin. "My mother's half craftbred, but she went to Woodcraft. Anyway, I was there almost six months. Apparently they don't look kindly on their apprentices getting into fights. Which I might not have done if I'd really wanted to be a smith in the first place," she adds piously. "No, I'm for the Weyrs. I don't do well living out of Weyrs. Even if I don't Impress, and with my lineage my whole family's just waiting for that." She runs a fingertip down Mulgrave's spine, then back up to skritch at his head again. "So why Glasscraft? You felt a 'calling'?" Omma inquires, with a curious tilt to her head.

Mulgrave continues to murr contentedly as Omma pets him. Moria finishes feeding Blackbeard and sends the blue off to bed. "Go find Trina and get her to bed. She is not allowed to come in cold again," she tells the blue before lofting him into the air. "I suppose being Weyrbred it would feel natural to live at a Weyr," she concedes. "I'm craftbred. My parents and all my siblings are crafters." She refills her water glass before continuing, "Not so much a calling as it was more interesting to me than the Wood or Sea crafts, which are what my parents are members of."

Ommatidia nods. "Fair reasoning. It's all in what you're raised to, I guess. So how do you ever cope, posted at a Weyr? You've been here two turns, you said, you seem to like it well enough…?"

Moria shrugs slightly, gently separating Mulgrave from his new best friend and persuading the bronze to fly home as well. "Go on with you. Make sure they are both settled for bed." Mulgrave churrs softly to Omma in parting and launches, quickly leaving the room. "It's been a bit of an adjustment period. I'd never been to Weyr before moving here. But I like it quite a bit. I've made some friends, and even did a project for the Weyrwoman that earned me my journeyman's knot. I hope you find Xanadu to your liking, too." The crafter yawns, covering her mouth with one hand. "I should probably get to bed. If I take too much longer, Trina will unmake my cot, and I still need to wash up."

Ommatidia waves farewell to the little flit, then glances down at her mug. "And I've been empty while we've been chatting half this time. Probably something like time for bed, yeah." She pushes her chair back from the table and stands. "You will have to tell me about that project sometime, Moriana. It's a small Weyr, though, I'm sure I'll see you arpund."

Moria nods, rising and gathering her dishes to take to the cleaning bins. "I'm sure we will. It's been a pleasure talking to you. I hope you settle in without any trouble and enjoy your stay here, for however long you are around," she says with a smile. "Have a good night, Ommatidia." She tucks her chair in and moves off, dropping off her dishes before heading deeper into the caverns toward the hot springs to wash up.

Ommatidia tidies her mug off to the bins too, before heading back out into the clearing.

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