Log 1: Grubs as Evidence

September 30, 2005

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.

Early in the morning, the sun is risen enough to cast a bit of light through grey, cloudy sky, though its hardly enough to warm the damp chill. A fire has been started, mostly for visual proof that warmth is being added to the caverns, as most comes from an unseen source. People move about the caverns, some just starting their day, while others seem to have been up for some time. One of those up for a while seems to be a middle-aged rider, still in all his riding gear, with a small container of something held outstretched in his hand as he talks to what seems to be a still rather drowsy Niva, the latter sipping at a mug of klah and pointedly ignoring whatever it is in said container.

P'aolo strolls into the cavern much more awake than it seems Niva is. Then again.. he's still keeping with those pre-dawn jogs instituted by S'ver during Weyrlinghood. The young rider is in fact, humming a happy sort of tune as he heads for the serving table and a mug of warm juice. Pausing to take a sip, he lifts his other arm to wave cheerfully to Niva. Juice thankfully keeping him quiet at this point.

I'ven makes his way into the caverns, wearing a little more than usual. He purposefully strides over towards the beverages to help himself to something warm. He offers a wave to the others as he helps himself to a seat nearby. "Have you ever been up to Fort, Niva?"

Aeris's voice can likely be heard before she even enters the cavern, at least by those nearest the door, "Alright, alright, I'm up Aelith, rise and shine, yes." The plump form of the junior weyrwoman is ushered into the caverns by a large golden wedge-shaped head. The woman looks relieved when her dragon figures she's inside enough to go back to her duty or bathing in the nice morning sun. Aeris stifles a yawn before heading to the klah pot to see about a glass of wake-me-up! Only once that mug is filled and the first sip taken, does she glance about and offer waves of greeting to those already present in the cavern.

Niva lets herself sleepily watch the very awake P'aolo, and the purposeful I'ven get themselves something warm to drink before nodding again to the rider next to her, snagging the container between the tips of her fingers with a look of distaste on her face before she crosses the cavern, depositing said container on the table before nodding to I'ven. "I have. And I have the feeling I'll be back in the near future." Settling into a chair, she waves the others over, wrinkling up her nose. "If you don't mind bugs, ya should look in there."

P'aolo lifts his brows, still gulping at his juice, waiting until he absolutely -needs- to get a breath before detaching his mouth from the mug. "Bugs?" He trots over at a hurried sort of walk, stopping to peer into the container without mind of who's personal bubbly he may be in. "Where'd they come from? And do they do anything cool?" The all important questions.

I'ven smiles, "have you tried their warm cider down there?" He licks his lips happily, "I always get a cup of that stuff for myself when I head down that way. Oh, and did I tell you that X'an gave me one of their historic paintings?" He smiles proudly as he pauses to take a sip of his juice, "He was going to get a replacement, decided to give me the real thing since it was all faded and stuff."

"Bugs? What're they doing in the caverns?" Aeris asks as she hears the comment. "Shouldn't they be outside or something?" She's not headed towards the bugs, though, she's not one for creepy crawlies, really. "Hey Niva, how're you this morning?" She asks of the weyrwoman, then turns to regard the other two as well. "Fortian cider? That sounds rather lovely." Hmm.

Niva mmms softly, "I'd forgotten about that. Perhaps I'll have to see what we can do about getting some down here, too." And then she glance and P'aolo, upending the container and dumping 5 or 6 almost ordinary looking, thread-eating grubs on the table, poking at them with her finger to right them before glancing over her shoulder. "They were brought in, and they may be a problem." If that answers how she is this morning, that she's already got problems.

P'aolo leans closer to the table and crouches, bringing the grubs to nearly eye level. "Eating up the fabric in the stores?" He infers. Perhaps his brain isn't completely non-functional. "Haven't really gotten into anything important like the winter blankets have they?" Blinking up innocently atthe nearby Niva, "Or am I totally worng." That tends to happen, you see when he's not near something that hs metal moving parts.

I'ven frowns as he eyes the grubs, "Please tell me they're not getting into our food, I don't want to end up like 'Reaches." He mutters quietly, "They've been very rude, I've found. As much as Khri likes going up there, I don't like their hospitality." He shakes his head slowly in annoyance, "You should get some up here! It'd be great!"

Niva shakes her head at P'aolo quickly. "Not the blankets, or even in the stores for that matter." A wrinkle of her nose and she glances at I'ven. "Well.." Pause. "Not the food, exactly. But, the harvests aren't as strong as they should be. Particularly the grains. This is what they have to offer as to the cause, right now." And she manages a bit of a smile to I'ven, shaking her head quickly. "So I've heard - it won't happen here, if I can help it." No matter what happens.

Aeris settles into a seat a goodly distance from the grubs and wrinkles her nose a bit. "Do those things eat the grains? Or are they just reducing the minerals in the dirt or something?" She's curious, not curious enough to touch the things, but curiousl nonetheless.

Agriculture related. "If someone comes up with a pesticide I can clank together an irrigation tower to spread it out. I mean, if it's tested out first. Wouldn't want to kill everything on account of a grub that might or mightn't be the problem." P'aolo's working hard on the thinking today. Straightening back up he swigs the last of his juice, spotting Aeris and giving a bob of his head.

I'ven shakes his head slowly, "Even if we do use pesticides, what's the chance that we won't hurt something else in the long run? I mean, if it's just the grains and our crops weakening, can't we just get our tithes from somewhere else? Or maybe make a new field to grow our crops. We don't have to resort to that, do we? And really, you should go up to 'Reaches and experience their horrible hospitality. I wasn't even doing anything and I got yelled at for interferring with that snot-nosed mail carrier who was giving Casiella a hard time."

"To be honest, we're not sure. And, well.. If they're the cause, why are some crops dying, and others not?" Another grub is nudged with a fingertip, while she sips at her klah thoughtfully. "If we weren't so self-sufficient, tithes could be shifted, perhaps. Alas… If the situation continues." And she shrugs. "Its too late to plant anything new, and considering what others have told me, I can't be certain the holds nearby will trade." Niva looks rather lost for a moment, before peering at I'ven. "Come talk to me later. I'll settle that, I won't have it happening." Uh-oh. Is a feud with High Reaches on the way?

Aeris watches the nudging of the grubs briefly. "Hmm, maybe they're just a handy excuse? It could really be human error, and that would be understandable, but I don't see how these little grubs could ruin crops." But, of course, she's no plant-expert. P'aolo gets a smile in response to the headbob.

P'aolo tilts his head. "Mail? Are you talking about that grouchy bronzer that thinks life is his personal punishment so he can take it out on everyone else? I wouldn't blame High Reaches because of him.. I mean.. most of the people up there seem really nice to me.." Not as nice as Istan Greens.. but that's another subject.

I'ven just shakes his head, "Yes, that grounch bronzer that feels like he has to be completely nasty to everyone. He shouldn't have talked to Casi the way he did, though. She's a sharding junior weyrwoman! And /we/ get yelled at. It's just not fair." He shakes his head.

Niva arches an eyebrow at the change in topic, "Well, it'll be settled then, wherever it needs to be." All that can be done, really. A sidelong glance at Aeris, and she wrinkles up her nose. "Some of the holders are saying the crops are dying, because we have too much technology. That we're making our own problems." Which is something that Niv at least has a hard time believing.

Aeris ahs quietly, "Maybe they just don't like the change. I don't see how technology can hurt crops. It makes no sense to me." As for the High Reaches thing, she has no comment on it, having not been there for a long while. "Well, I'm sure we'll figure it out, there has to be a sensible explanation."

P'aolo puffs up. Offended at the thought. "I'd like to see how many of them grow and harvest all their crops by hand I would! Not once of them uses strictly hand tools I'd reckon. Not and be able to produce a sizeable enough crop to do anyone any good." Farming. Something else he knows rather well. "Or if they pull water up with a bucket rather than using a pump and even then.. how are they purifying it, hmm? I mean Shards." He hooks his thumbs on his tool belt, frowning in a less than off-putting way. He whole demeanor, that of a child that could easily be distracted from his moods by something shiny or sweet.

I'ven just shakes his head, seeming in a bad mood now. "I'll talk to you later about him, Niva. High Reaches isn't going to accept his deliveries from now on, but still…" He sighs quietly, draining the rest of what is in his cup, "I'm going to go do something, I hope you solve the problem. There's not much I can offer, I'm afraid." He offers a wave as he tracks back outside."

Niva glances over at Aeris, a bit of a shrug as she sighs. "If I knew why they though that, perhaps we could prevent it." Unfortunately, that knowledge is also currently absent. And she nods slowly to P'aolo. "I'm sure they claim that that's necessary. But that our lights, and our heat, and such aren't necessary, that we're hurting things by doing so." One hand absently brushes her hair back from her face as she glares at the grubs. "I almost hope things things /are/ the problem." Otherwise, where does that leave them?

Aeris nods a bit, "Well, it could just be human error, too, you know. Or bad seeds to start off with." It could be lots of things, at least in her mind. "And if it is those things, there's gotta be some way to deal with them, there's always a way." Isn't there? The woman finishes up her klah and moves to go refill it.

P'aolo absently begins fiddling with a screw driver in his belt. Soon his frown completely evaporates, replaced by total absorption in whatever runs through his head when he starts playing with tools. (Especially ones with moving parts). "What counts is making sure. Think real hard before an action is picked because you can't just go killing things you don't like. Think of all the craziness that would happen then."

Niva pushes the grubs back into the container, closing them back up as she glances from one to the other. "Like he said, we have to make sure its these things. I mean.. they've always been helpful before." Taking a deep breath, she leans back in her chair, tapping her fingers idly on the top of the container. "I told those out there to keep watching, and to see if there's anything else that could be causing it. And to bring back the grubs from each field that is having trouble. Not much else to do, at the moment." Other then tighten one's belt, and learn to do without an abundance of bread.

Aeris nods, "Indeed, better to know for sure." After a refill of klah mug, the woman settle in again. "Other than that particular problem, anything else going on?"

P'aolo flops down in a chair, all of 'bright eyed and bushy tailed' now that his little go at thinking for the morning, is over. "Ersieth caught while I was visiting Ista." He says with a grin. Perhaps not polite conversation. But he seems quite pleased with himself.

Niva settles back, shaking her head, as she again pushes hair out of her face. "Nicca's walking. Between her and Vivian, everything else seems more stressful then it needs to be." And she glances sidelong at P'aolo, arching an eyebrow. "In that case, perhaps I'll send you to Ista to negotiate, should we need it." A wink and she pushes the grubs out of her reach, more awake now.

Aeris nods, smiling at the mention of the walking. But she gets distracted before she can say anything. "Well, seems someonw's had her daily dose of morning sun and now seems to think she needs an oiling. If you two will excuse me?" Towards the bowl, she calls, "Coming, Dear!" And the woman gets to her feet and heads outside.

P'aolo waves cheerfully at the departing Junior then laughs to Niva, "Me? I can't do anything useful but bang and clank on things. I suppose if'n you wanted the Istan Weyrwoman to think Xanadu was full of slow minded country folk ya could. But I wouldn't if'n I was you." chuckle.

Niva shakes her head quickly. "I'm sure I'll find something for you to do, even if its not at Ista." A wink and she pushes herself to her feet, grabbing the grubs and heading out. "I'm going to go see what I can find out." And she inclines her head before sneaking out.

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