In Search of Jambrel

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.

This spring day dawned with light rain, which has devoled into lingering mist in the afternoon. The lunch rush in the caverns has just passed, with the last few stragglers making their way in and out as their duties permit. It is from the caverns that Moria enters the clearing, a light jacket worn over her workclothes to keep the damp from her skin. The journeywoman begins crossing the clearing, detouring around the normal flow of people in and out of the tavern as she heads toward the dorms. Her head is down and manner occupied, as if she isn't paying a great deal of attention to those around her.

Ignoring the constant rain, Avani moves away from the direction of the Tavern with a shake of her head. "Why is it that I've yet to learn the proper meaning of 'You'll be sure to find him at…' or 'She's _always_ there this time of day'?" She pauses to eye the flow of humanity for a moment. "Well, Jambrel is a man… I know that much. So if he's not at his usual seat in the Tavern where would he be…" Her eyes moves over the area. "Hmm. Perhaps in the Infirmary? Or maybe in need of a strong mug of Klah." Deciding which she would prefer, the young woman lifts her pointed nose, takes a tentative sniff, and then moves towards the Caverns.

Moria happens to be close enough to the tavern doors when Avani emerges for her words to reach the crafter's ears. The woman pauses, blinking as if startled, before she turns to look at Avani. "Sorry, did you say you were looking for someone?" she asks politely as the girl passes her on her way toward the caverns. "I hate to intrude, but you sounded like you weren't having much luck, from what you were just saying. Do you need some help?" Her voice, while rough, is strong and clear, and she smiles gently as she speaks, clearly trying to not startle the girl.

Avani blinks and glances in the direction of the voice. "I'm sorry -" her eyes skip over the other woman's shoulder knot, "- Journeywoman." She gives a slight shrug, "Too much time spend on the Traces tends to induce people to speak to themselves." She overs a smile, though her thin lips don't quite pull off any warmth, "Do you happen to know where Jambrel might be found? I was told to expect him around the Tavern, but perhaps the weather or his duties required him to be elsewhere?"

Moria's smile remains as Avani explains, and she nods slightly. "I can understand that, certainly. Jambrel, hmm? I think I know who you are talking about. I don't know where he would be this time of day, but I can send my firelizards to look for him, if you like?" Without waiting for a reply, Moria closes her eyes in concentration, and a few moments later a large bronze firelizard a very small green pop out of *between* overhead. The bronze glides down to land on an arm that Moria offers while the green remains hovering. "Just to be sure I have the right person, would you describe Jambrel for me?" she asks, stroking the bronze's head with one finger while she returns her attention to Avani.

Avani blinks at the request and seems at a loss. "Runner are not generally supplied with more than a name and a rank, if applicable." She offers before she looks at the pair of firelizards. "Ah, you're acquainted with our smallest competition, Ma'am?" she offers, a twinkle appearing in her muddied eyes. "Perhaps someone indoors might know his description?" she offers, "The person handing out the Klah, perhaps?" She sounds positively whistful as she speaks of the energising drink.

Moria blinks in turn before blushing, shaking her head. "I hadn't realized they gave you so little to go on. I'm sure you're right about someone in the caverns knowing them. A number of the cavern workers are quite good with names and faces," she agrees. The bronze on her arm gets a thoughtful look. "Are they really that much competition? Mulgrave isn't much use outside the Weyr. He has to meet someone before he can get a message to them, which is a very small number of people away from Xanadu," she says as she begins to move toward the caverns, apparently expecting Avani to follow much as the green is doing overhead, having to work at keeping aloft in the wet air.

Avani falls into step after a moment, having to reign in her long gait to do so. "Oh, not so much, though they can be in more secluded areas if only a few people need to send regular messages to each other." She gives another of her thin smiles as she continues, "A few Runners have them, but unless the matter is urgent _and_ the person who needs the message is known and on the other side of Pern, it's expected that you'd run the message yourself. Or at the very least have another Runner complete the task." She slows almost imperceptively as they reach then entrance, allowing the Journeywoman to enter first.


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.

Moria nods as she leads the way into the caverns, staying well to one side along the entrance to avoid running into any of the people departing. "That's more what I expected, given how limited these little ones are," she replies. "Ah, here we are. We can check with Auntie Jackie first - she knows just about everyone, and plenty about them to boot." The crafter smiles warmly, glancing toward the woman who is presently scolding a pair of children who are suspiciously sticky around the mouths. "She's a terrible gossip, but she does a fair job of getting people headed in the right direction when they need help." And what do you know, Jackie is near the buffet tables with their pitchers of hot klah!

Avani glances at the Auntie and her eyes light up again with what might be amusement before she moves towards the table. "Well then, best introduce ourselves." There's a beat before the half-turns to wink at the Journeywoman, "And warm ourselves. And try ourselves." Her lips twitch in another thin smile, though she only turns once she's poured two mugs of Klah. "Oh, my applologies, Journeywoman… The Trails don't excuse my lack of manners. I'm Runner Avani."

Mulgrave sidles up Moria's arm to her shoulder, taking the more comfortable perch there as Moria nods, waiting for Avani to return before speaking again. "Nothing to apologize for, Avani. You're focused on your job. I can't find fault with that. I'm Moriana. Do take a moment to warm up. There isn't much sense in letting you get chilled while delivering your message, is there?" Her eyes are warm with amusement as she reaches to accept a mug from Avani. "We'll let the Auntie finish scolding the weyrbrats. I would hate to interrupt her. She might choose to scold me instead." Her voice is dry as she makes this statement, but she can't hide her smile completely.

Avani laughs softly as she nods and offers one of the mugs. "We certainly wouldn't want that. Well met, Journeywoman Moriana," she offers with a nod. "It's my own fault. I should have asked about the likelyhood of rain, snow or anything else damp that might fall from the sky during my run…" She shakes her head, stealing a sip of her Klah before craddling the mug more comfortable between her hands. "I'd done the error of assuming that the sky would remain clear for a few hours' run."

Moria warms her hands around the mug, letting the heat chase the chill from her fingers. Mulgrave leans down to sniff at the klah and earns a gentle flick against his nose for the trouble. "You stop that. You know better," Moria chides the bronze softly before returning her attention to Avani. "It's spring, and the weather around here can be unpredictable in spring. I'm glad it has been a mild season so far, after such a dry spring and summer last year. I hope the rain didn't cause you too much trouble on your way here?"

Avani shakes her head, "The Traces are lined with a special sort of moss or grass which absorbs most moisture and softens the effects of prolonged running. The rain wasn't the issue, the last leg to the Weyr where the Traces end that were more troublesome." She offers another shrug as she sips at the Klah and watches the bronze 'competition' with amusement. "Does he drink Klah?"

Moria tilts her head, puzzled. "The traces?" she asks, confused. "What are the traces?" Avani's question elicits a smile from the crafter, and she shakes her head. "No, but he always likes to try what I have to eat or drink. He is not /supposed/ to do so, and he knows better than to try and get a bit of my meal, but he still likes to try his luck now and then." She caresses that bronze head again, earning a delighted croon for her attention. "Mulgrave is the oldest of my firelizards, and best behaved, but like all firelizards, he has his quirks."

Avani nods with a thin-lipped smile, "I have heard they have…respectable appetites, Ma'am." She takes another sip of her Klah and glances towards the Auntie, checking on the status of the berating of the two children. "The Traces or Trails are the tracks that Runners use to bring messages all over Pern. The Nothern Traces are best maintained because they've been in use for so long, but even the Southern Traces cover most areas once might need to go."

Moria shrugs, eliciting a complaint from Mulgrave for her movement. "They don't eat quite as much as dragons do, on a mass to mass ratio, but they are equally voracious as hatchlings. I'm glad firelizards grow up so much more quickly than dragons do," she replies, her own smile a full and easy expression. "I don't know how I would have raised four of the little pests if they needed as much care as a dragon. I have much sympathy for our weyrlings," she adds. "So, these traces, they are the regular routes for quick travel between the Holds and Weyrs, then? I haven't done much overland travel," she says to clarify her lack of knowledge.

Avani pauses in thought, "Regular means of travel for _Runners_ yes. No one else is supposed to use the Traces. If they're damage, someone could twist an ankle, break a leg, or worse." She glances up at the green thoughtfully, "You have four? Was Mulgrave not enough company on his own?" She tilts her head slightly to the side, regarding the Journeywoman thoughtfully.

Moria nods at the correction, then shakes her head. "Oh, no, it wasn't a matter of choice, exactly. Mulgrave was a gift from my parents. Trina is the only one I tried to impress at the hatching. My blue and brown were both very much accidents." She glances to one side and smiles. "Ah, it looks like Jackie is free. Let's go get a description and get you headed on with your task." Once again Moria moves off without waiting for a reply, the assertive journeywoman heading straight for Auntie Jackie without delay.

Avani nods and follows, glancing towards the hearth to assure herself that today would not set the scene for her own 'accident.' As they reach the Auntie, she gives a quick bow to the old woman, "Excuse me, Ma'am, but would you happen to know where Jambrel might be found?"

Auntie Jackie turns, a smile on her face as she takes in the two women. "Jambrel? Of course I know where Jambrel is. He does the same thing every day. Morning in the taverns, lunch here, and then off to get some work done. He should be in the craft complex at this time of day," she says, her aged voice still graceful and firm. "Now if you'll excuse me, dears, I need to be sure everything is tidied up before dinner." Moria smiles at the elderly woman's manner and nods deeply in thanks as Auntie Jackie turns away. "Should that be enough to get you on your way?" Moria ask Avani.

Avani nods to the old woman and repeats her bow, "Thank you, Ma'am." She turns to her guide then, "Yes, Journeyman Moriana, thank you." Then, without any further comment, she moves to set down her nearly empty mug of Klah and sets off further into the tunnels in search of the man who is due the message she carries."

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