Xanadu Weyr - Craft Complex
The large area has been separated into a variety of smaller sitting areas, couches and chairs organized into rings and squares, tables set where they can be used easily. A few desks for studying are pushed against one wall, while another has a variety of doors spaced along side it, opening into private quarters for the ranking crafters posted at the weyr. A set of double doors opens to the general apprentice dorms, and a long hallway stretches outwards, providing access to the various workshops.
The day after Calen's little sooty 'prank' in the grounds, Fiara can be found sitting at a table in the working area of the craft complex. Afternoon light slants brightly through the windows and though she looks a little tired around the edges, the harper seems none the worse for wear from the previous night's 'excitement'. On the table, several stacks of books, loose-stitched folios and scrolls. Presently though, she's working on gluing two pieces of wood together, an apparent repair to her gitar.
R'sul is at least dressed properly this time, though it does seem that sleep was hard to come by when he finally made it back to bed. In truth he spent most of the night trying to think of ways to keep people away from the sands, and there were many that passed who would confirm lights in his area for most of the night. His walk as he heads into the craft complex is more of a coordinated slump than any real purposeful stride, but as he's directed towards Fiara he does straighten somewhat before coughing politely. "Still working?"
Fiara is concentrating enough that she misses the sound of footfalls as the Weyrleader approaches her little corner of workroom, but his words lift her eyes to his face and there's instantly a warm smile for him. "Good afternoon, R'sul!" She laughs next, pressing those two pieces of wood hard between her fingers. "Fixing, more like," she explains and nods towards the pile of things on the table. "Most of this is for you though, various sources I found on my trip to Harper. I have to say, sometimes the time difference is just /not/ all that convenient," she notes with a little wry smirk. "But, how are you after all that fuss last night? I put Calen on the drums first thing and we had a good chat about him being his own person and not letting others steer his life."
R'sul returns the smile, eyes drifting first to her hand and then to the stack of things on the table. He actually seems quite impressed by the amount she's found, even goes to say so but is derailed by the mention of Calen. It's pretty clear from the way his shoulders slump that that's a name he'd far rather not hear for a while. "I'm still breathing, which probably means my nerves aren't quite as shattered as I thought they were." His joke, as always, is a little lame, "I hate having to be the bad one, but I swear I thought it as finally happening. He's lucky I didn't swing for him. Actually, everyone is, I would probably have missed."
"Mm, I can see the breathing part. Definitely glad for that one," Fiara says with a little laugh and gives the wood pieces another squeeze, then sets them down carefully, wipes her hands down with a damp cloth that sits on the edge of the table. "Yes, well, then there'd likely have been more injuries and I'd have had to worry about you as well as a frightened boy," Fia says teasingly and shifts her stool over a little, beckoning the Weyrleader to come along with. "So. All sorts of interesting things at Harper," she notes, changing the subject as she draws one volume towards her. "You might find this interesting, it's about Craft structures and policy shifts after the end of Thread. There's a chapter about interaction with Weyrs, though the focus is mostly Craft."
R'sul chuckles and nods, "I'm a bleeder, not a fighter. Most of the injuries would have come from people slipping over." A quick hunt finds another stool nearby and it's dragged over so that he can get a better look over Fiara's books. "Anything in there about intake numbers? I always figured that the crafts would have had an upsurge of activity while we took a downturn. Oh actually, I suppose there'll be something in there about craftriders coming into being? Or would that be a later book do you think?"
Fiara ducks her head at that remark from R'sul, chuckling again. "I'll keep that in mind, should there ever be an actual fight around here." She flips over a few pages, nodding. "Yes, there's a section on the upswing in numbers, and there's a small chart in the appendix, though there's another scroll that has more statistics. The discussion did seem interesting though I only skimmed it," she tells him and slides the book over to him so he can see. "There's not all that much about craftriders, but it /is/ in that one chapter about Weyr-interaction. It's a paragraph or two and a footnote. For more about /that/, you'll want, /this/," and she reaches for one of the folios. "This is from fairly early on about some of the earliest cross-crafting riders, it's illustrated even. The harper who put this together had an artistic bent. The focus here though is Weyr-specific: Fort."
"If there's ever a fight I'll be the one behind everyone else, shouting instructions." R'sul grins, taking the book and giving the text a quick scan. It's only when he's in danger of turning over a second page that he pauses, and moves his attention to the other book. "Illustrated? Fantastic. Though… I don't suppose they have any pictures of the old riders or anything? Wing badges?" It's pretty clear which track his mind train is going down.
"Smart to know your limits," Fiara remarks lightly and reaches over to pat his arm gently, sympathetic maybe, then she's nodding as she opens up the illustrated folio. "There are some, yes, but I didn't notice any that looked like what we found," she says with a hint of regret. "I /did/ pull a couple of Weyr histories with focus on wings," and she reaches over for a couple of other folios. "Some of these have lists of old wing badges, a few with pictures, but a lot of them are just written out descriptions and I haven't gone through them all again. It's a lot of history and a lot of different wings over the centuries. Sort of like looking for a needle in a haystack." Her mouth pulls to the side wryly.
"I'm not so sure about fun." R'sul replies with a grin, "Though it'll definitely be better than having to recopy everything all over again. Thank you for that, I really do owe you a favour or six, though I'm sure my shelves might not share my enthusiasm." As she mentions having kept the afternnon free there's a familiar blush that creeps up his neck, and as the bottoms of his ears begin to glow red he ducks his head to look at the book before him. "I'd say I'd race you to find something, but you have a head start on me as it is. After all you found all this."
"Mm, well if there's no fun forthcoming today, I'll have to call in some fun as one of my six or so favors," Fiara rejoinders with a chipperly wicked grin and she opens up the book she's claimed. "Well, I skimmed things, read chapter lists, so I know which ones to look in but this," and she holds up the start of a section which is paragraph after paragraph of unillustrated text, "is going to take time to get through no matter how much I looked before." She makes a little 'what can you do' face, then sets the book down and starts to read, one hand holding the book open, the other tracing words with her finger.
R'sul ducks his head even more at that comment, "Guess that… um… depends on your definition of fun. Though I guess most people don't find hnting through moudly old records to be fun. It's the most complaints we've ever had from candidates — they all hate it." He glances over towards her book and winces when he sees the block of text. "Here's hoping we can find it in the first book, then. One too many haystacks and we might end up in the infirmary."
"I have a lot of definitions for fun," Fiara says even as she reads through text. "Spending time in good company definitely rates as fun." She laughs though about the candidates. "Do most youngsters ever really want to hold still and just read? I mean there are some that do, but not most. It's why I take my lessons outside at least twice a seven. And here it's so easy to go out, not like at Tillek. In the winter it was much harder." His laugh earns another bright peal of laughter. "Well, if either of us gets too buried, we have to promise to dig the other out." Fia pauses in her reading looks up and over at him thoughtfully and after a moment, sneaks her hand over meaning to cover his, give it a gentle squeeze before getting back to the task at hand.
"I'll be sure to find you some good company, then." R'sul replies with a chuckle, then nods, "I guess I wasn't the normal candidate. I traded people for the records room jobs, everyone else was far too happy to get out of them. Almost as much as I was to get away from the stables or the herdbeasts." As her hand comes over he looks round, his expression - pure startled rabbit, but he's not running away at least. "I promise." There's a pause, then he adds, "Course I might add a couple of extra books first, just in case you're not completely buried."
"You'll do," is Fiara's merry response as she turns over the page, props her chin on one hand and keeps on reading through, seemingly mindless of that startlement. "Somehow, I'm not surprised, but you know, everyone has their own tastes, right? And there's nothing wrong with liking to read and write more than dealing with animals," she says with easy acceptance. Another laugh follows about the added books. "Not heroic enough to just dig me out of the haystack?" she teases and then focuses a little more on the page in front of her. "Sun-shaped … oh," The harper sits up a little, reading more closely, then deflates. "No, not right."
R'sul grins, going back to reading for the time being, "Only true heroes would save someone from a really big haystack. Needs to be properly sized to be truly heroic." He grins, running a finger down the page as he skims. "Sun?" His head jerks round as she speaks, then nods and he goes back to reading. "Make a note of it anyway? It could be they changed the design or something?"
"Certainly," Fiara agrees and pulls her notebook near, flips it open to a fresh page and uncaps her pen. She writes rapidly in a fairly neat hand, putting the date at the top of the list, the name of the source, then swiftly re-copies the actual description. "This one's from Telgar Weyr, by the by, end of the 9th Pass." She writes for a moment or two longer then sets her pen down and goes back to reading. It's a moment later that the belated tease comes: "So we'll just have to make sure you have ample opportunity to prove your valor. With lots of very large haystacks." The corner of Fia's mouth is pulling upward slightly as she says that though she's not actually looking at R'sul.
"Telgar." R'sul repeats, nodding, "They still have one that looks a bit like a sun though it definitely doesn't look like the one we fgound now. Wouldn't hurt to check up some more, though… I can't remember seeing anything about it when I was there." There's a slight choking noise at her mention of haystacks, though hr tries to turn it into a cough as he blinks and tries to think of an answer that doesn't sound entirely dumb. He goldfishes for a while - mouth opening and closing but no sound coming out - then settles on, "Not too many haystacks, I might end up allergic."
That choking noise is what lifts Fiara's head and turns it towards the Weyrleader and she regards him very seriously. "Just enough then." So solemn, though there's a betraying quiver in the corner of her mouth. "Allergies aren't any fun at all. I'd have to nurse you back to health!"
Big eyes are made in his direction then she smiles outright and nods. "Telgar might be a prospect then," and she makes some more notes in the margin of that page in her notebook. Silence falls again for a while, many pages turning and Fia makes some more notes. "Anything in yours?" she asks after a bit, leaning back and rubbing at the back of her neck.
"Healer too? I'm impressed." R'sul's voice is definitely a little higher than usual, and his eyes quickly snap back to the book he was looking at. "Nothing here so far, coupld of star badges but nothing that mentions a sun. Though… maybe it's supposed to be a sort of wobbly star rather than a sun? There're three references to stacks just on this page, alone." If he even realised he'd substituted 'stacks' for 'stars' he ignores it, soldiering on with a comment of, "Does this cover everywhere or just one continent?"
"Oh no, I'd just make the tea, maybe change the dressings for that strong-smelling lotion they use to clear out lungs," Fiara replies with a shake of her head and considers. "A wobbly star. Hm. Could be, though those rays were pretty definitely rays, I thought?" She regards R'sul quite seriously for a moment. "I suppose it makes sense that we'd look to the stars so much over the turns. The Red Star. The Dawn Sisters. It's all a part of Pern's history," she says musingly then shakes her head. "That one's just the north, this one has a portion of the south but not all of it."
R'sul's entire ears are glowing red as he replies with a smile, "Well if it meant you bringing tea I could probably stretch to two haystacks a month?" Almost immediately his head goes down towards the book and he makes a show of looking at something, then disregarding it. "People don't tend to do the swirly ray bits with stars though, so you're probably right. Would be so much easier if someone had just anmed one of their wings sunlight or something. Much more obvious. Obvious is good."
Looking down at the book for a moment, Fiara is still lost in thought, then she looks back up and over at the Weyrleader, smile slowly going wide, though it's the badge designs she addresses first. "Right. So overall anything sun-themed. Or by name maybe, Rukbat." Her smile widens a fraction more and she makes a little tsking sound in the back of her throat. "Only two haystacks a month? What would warrant four? You know, one per seven?" Her elbow comes down on the table and her cheek pillows in her hand, gaze on the Weyrleader now, maybe a little less teasing, but still merry.
"I… um… you…." R'sul is flustered, and worse doesn't seem to know where to look. His blush is spreading, even his hands don't really seem to know where they're supposed to be. He concentrates on the book for a time - books are safe - then coughs a little and runs a hand through his hair. "If you… um… we could…." he risks a glance at Fiara and there she is looking back at him. He swallows, "Um… find me the sun and you can have as many haystacks as you want."
Fiara waits him out patiently this time through all that flustering and this time she pushes the book out of the way, reaches for both of his hand with hers. "I'm sorry, that was too much, wasn't it?" she says gently, peeking up into his blush-ridden cheeks. "But I really would like to find that sun for you." There's quiet sincerity in her voice. "If that's all right."
R'sul runs a thumb gently over one of Fiara's fingers, then realises what he's doing and just gives a little squeeze instead. "I'm just nervous around haystacks." That joke couldn't possibly be any lamer, but at least it's an attempt at smoothing things over. "Finding the sun is a good thing. Definitely a good thing."
"I know," Fia says softly. "At least, I've figured that out. But it's nice to hear you tease back," she continues and just smiles again for that brush of his thumb, tightens her hold for a moment. "All the more incentive to find that sun, isn't it?" And there's humor back in her voice for that as her hands withdraw and she turns back to the book, pulling it near once more.
R'sul smiles, nodding a little and staying looking at her for a time even after she goes back to looking at her book. "I'll try and save up some good teases for you for next time. But you only get them once we find that sun. That should give me time to think some up at least."
Up from the book come bright eyes and Fiara beams over at the Weyrleader. "There you go, time to be truly creative," Fia tells him, then bites lightly on her lip and leans toward him, but only to bump her shoulder lightly against his. "All right, I suppose less talking and more looking might mean actually finding the silly thing," she says gaily and gives his book a meaningful nudge. That her hand drops down to squeeze his knee before returning very primly to hold her book open isn't cheating on that newly established rule, is it?
R'sul shifts a little in his seat after the knee squeeze, quickly rearranging so that he can go back to reading in nervous semi-comfort. "Should… um… use that as a motto for the candidates. less talking, more working. Might get them to actually do something." He flicks the page over, not really having taken in much of it.
"You get to tell S'ya about that one," Fia says cheerily and likewise focuses on reading, flipping through many, many pages and noting down every sun reference she finds.
R'sul chuckles, paying bit more attention to the books this time. "I'll wait till she's either having the baby or just had it, she's less likely to bite my head off for making a suggestion then. Or we could always just have a sign made and put up in the barracks and blame Niva."
"Mm, probably a good idea, she's been pretty — well you know, cranky lately," Fiara agrees about the greenrider with a low chuckle and turns over another page, pauses to rub the heel of her hand into her eyes. "Sometimes, I don't know why they write so small for these books." The commentary about Niva brings back her laughter though. "When in doubt blame the Weyrwoman?"
"Pregnancy does that to women. I learned the hard way." R'sul admits, turning the book upside down to see if the picture he's looking at would make more sense then. In relation to the size thing he simply offers, "Saving paper?" The Niva thing doesn't get a somment at all, though he does grin quite widely.
"Mm, to some," Fiara says mildly. "I've met ones who are quite cheerful throughout too. Most of them were fishermen's wives though," she says musingly and turns another page, starts to read. "Saving paper, but not people's eyes." There's a little amused sigh as she goes on and tilts another look R'sul's way. "Now what's that grin fo—" the words die and Fia stares down at the words on the page. "A sun with radiating beams in a clear sky," she murmurs softly and turns the book towards the Weyrleader a little wide-eyed. "Southern Weyr. Do you think?"
R'sul shrugs slightly, "Maybe because their men are away a lot?" He's in no rush to explain the grin, though any guesses would probably be accurate. As she trails off he looks confused, then as he turns the book to him his eyes grow wide. "Radiating… Fiara I could kiss you! That's got to be it!"
Fiara takes in the remark about fisherman's wives with a little distracted nod and waits until he's had a look. Her smile blossoms in return and her head tips to the side a little. "Why don't you, then?" she invites, just the faintest trace of teasing in her voice.
R'sul is in full excited mode. "We need to tell Niva. We need to…." He pauses, re-runs that whole conversation through again. A mental note is made to find another way of saying someone just made you really happy, and his blush comes back with full fury - even the roots of his hair appear to be blushing. "I… um… haystack." Still he's clearly tempted, despite his nervousness.
"Big haystack," Fiara agrees, "and you're right, we do need to let the Weyrwoman know and I need to go get a /Southern/ specific book to tie this all together, /but/ …" she edges her stool over a little bit, shifts her hand to rest lightly on his arm. "I'm claiming that haystack you promised." Her voice drops low as she says that and seeks to look him right in the eye. He may be nervous, Fiara is anything but as she slowly transfers her hand from arm to cheek and leans in to kiss him very gently.
R'sul's voice seems to have given up working as she moves in, eyes fixed on her hand as it moves up his arm. He has enough voice left for a quiet, "Oh shells." just before their lips touch, but that protest is soon forgotten as he returns the kiss.
'Oh shells,' slows Fiara down for about half a second's worth of hesitation, but then he's kissing back and her hand is slipping from his cheek to his shoulder and then around to the back of his neck. Very big haystack.
R'sul could have a whole haystack dropped on him now, but he probably wouldn't realise. His arms come around her, pulling her closer, the whole issue of the badge now a million miles away from his mind.
Very, /very/ big haystack. Fiara's other arm slides up along the Weyrleader's shoulder, eliminating the last of the distance between them. Badge? What badge? First to act, first to come back to her senses, the harper breaks away after a moment, breathless. "R'sul, I think you'd better help me put these books away," she says a little unsteadily and suddenly smiles again, bright as the sun. "That book and the news can wait, just a little, can't it?" Hopeful.
Books? R'sul's eyes stay closed for a moment after she pulls away — all in all his first non-dragon related kiss in over 2 turns has gone quite well, but there's a repeat of "Oh shells." quickly followed by, "I don't usually… I mean… I'm not good at this sort of thing. I…." he lifts a hand, trailing a finger down her cheek, "I don't want to disappoint you."
Another deep breath follows as that finger trails so and it's Fia's turn to shut her eyes. He might feel the tremble beneath his other hand. She leans forward again, this time to press her cheek lightly against his and speak softly right near his ear, while her own fingers play up the back of his neck and into his hair. "Isn't half the fun figuring it all out together?" There's noise though from not far away, a door opening and closing, foot-steps in the hallway that make her draw back. There's a sudden flurry of motion from the harper as she reaches to stack all the books up hastily, pulls a page from her notebook to put into the one with the reference to a radiating sun and Southern Weyr.
R'sul swallows, taking a deep breath of his own as her fingers play with his hair. "Just don't want you expecting earthquakes or… or…." As she darts away following the footsteps he turns around, trying to make it seem like they weren't doing anything, and more importantly that it hasn't affected him as much as it has. Picking up the book he had been looking at he grabs his courage with both hands and asks quietly, "My place or yours?"
Assiduously stacking books, Fiara picks up the scrolls and puts those atop the book R'sul has as a brawny looking Smith walks by. The man shoots the pair a brief glance, nods politely. "Harper, Weyrleader," and proceeds on outward. Fia pours the armful of books into her satchel along with her notebook and shoots the other Crafter a brief, sweet smile. Her gaze though returns to the Weyrleader quickly. "Yours. Probably more room," she confesses with humor edging back onto her face. "Mine's about this big," and she squishes air between two fingers, then picks the satchel up, slings it over her shoulder.
R'sul nods to the smith as he heads on past, inwardly hoping that his bright red face will be assumed to be because of his usual nervousness around women. Juggling books he sticks out a hand towards her, "Yours is probably neater though." He's still nervous, and checks one more time, "Are you sure?"
Fiara slips her fingers into R'sul's palm and a moment later makes to thread them between his. When she looks back up at him, it's with another one of those wide, bright smiles of hers. "Yes," is all the harper says and she gives his hand a little tug. "You have to lead the way though, I've only lived here for six months after all, I still get lost," she adds teasingly.
R'sul gives her hand a quick squeeze, then heads off in the direction of the forest at a pace he hopes passes for a semi-calm walk.