The Start of the Trouble

Western Weyr - Living Caverns
Here is the center of Weyr life, the living caverns. These two main rooms were man-shaped from smaller caves, and are joined by a carved arch with depictions of dragons in flight and dolphins leaping in swirling waves. One room has many round stone and wooden tables and a stone fire-pit instead of a hearth. Over the round-walled, gas fired pit is a large conical hood made of polished bronze, with reliefs of dragons with their riders flying over ships guided by dolphins. This hood and chimney keeps the room smoke-free. Through the archway is an enormous hall, with long tables and benches, some carved from the rock floor, many crafted of wood. This room is a combination dining and meeting hall, and can seat over 300 comfortably. Above both rooms, angled shafts lined with polished metal bring in sunlight during the day. Electric lights also burn, day and night.


It's been a rough night for Kiltara, and the newly mothered has found a moment's reprieve in the living caverns. She'd snuck away when there was no need for her to be around, and opted to eat a meal where life in the weyr never seems to stop. It's later in the day, so there's considerably less people around (a must for her to be in public, as people make her nervous), and she's found a corner to tuck herself away into while she eats. There isn't much to spare on her platter and, despite a recent birth, she's already lost a bit of that baby fat - not that she wasn't unhealthily skinny to begin with. She's eating slowly, and sketching out something between each bite with intense concentration. It's nice, every now and again, to just forget the world around you.

Zi'on, too, is in for a late lunch or early dinner. Whichever it happens to be. The bronzer isn't feeling very social today, he's been on a sort of emotional rollarcoaster lately and would rather it be a smooth outing. The bronzer makes himself a sammich and grabs a couple of pastries and some klah. Then he moves over to sit in the corner near Kiltara. Not right next to her or anything. Not in her personal space. Just near here, close enough to talk. The bronzer doesn't recognize her at first. Not without the big belly and hanging on Sorel all. There's a casual nod in her direction. See? Non-threatening.

Kiltara's sketch stops right as Zi'on approaches and, for a brief time, the teenage girl stares hard at her work. Suddenly, those grey eyes jump up to settle on the weyrleader, and she looks almost afraid when he settles into his seat. When he nods, all casual and non-threatening like, she twists her drawing utensil between both of her tiny hands, drawing back a mere fraction of an inch in her seat and then… she's smiling at him, though her body language is unsure and the pull of her lips wavers. She wiggles her fingers after Zi'on from the same level as her mouth, shy, and then greets him with a very soft, "'Evening, Weyrleader." There's a pause, as she takes in the fact that he's, for once, alone, and then even more softly she's asking, "Are you okay?" She's heard stories from Ila'den, and has seen the man in action a few times, even if he hasn't seen her!

Zi'on starts in on his meal as Kiltara works hard at her sketch. When he looks up again, Kiltara is smiling at him. The bronzer's demeanor seems to shift into a relaxed smile, and he looks ten turns younger than he did a second ago. Also he realizes who she is. "Hello Kiltara. You've had the baby, then?" It's a cautious question. He doesn't want it spiraling into a loop of Kiltara getting scared of him. She already seems nervous. "Ah… I'm alright. It's nothing like being a parent of a new baby, that's for sure. But I guess you've helped out Ila'den with his kids, right? So maybe you're already old hat at it."

Kiltara actually laughs, though it's brief and hushed, at Zi'on's first question. "Faranth, no. Baby? More 'babies'. A boy and a girl." That brief moment of the weyrleader's hesitation isn't lost on the teenage girl, and she stares after him for a long, quiet moment as he speaks. Suddenly she's gathering up her things, and standing up from her chair with an armful of plates and drawing pad and things to draw with. She moves slow as any frightened animal might towards a perceived predator, but then she very, very slowly lowers herself into the seat beside him. She offers him another smile, though this one is much warmer despite the lingering insecurity behind the gesture. "You don't look alright," she says, and then she looks away from him long enough to set her plate down and settle her sketch pad back on the table. She turns to an empty page and smooths out the paper. Then? "I have two other children. Two boys. They were taken from me… But yes, I've helped Ila'den and Iris with their children quite a bit." She leans just slightly to the side to shoulder bump Zi'on in a companionable way, and then asks with considerable more brightness, "What's your favorite thing in the whole wide world, Zi'on? It can be anything - a person, a place, a thing… What is it? And give me the first thing that comes to mind. You're not allowed to think about it."

"Babies!? Like with an 'S'? Shards and shells. Where did you put them all?" She was about the size of Kiena, and somehow Kiena managed twins as well. He chuckles a bit then. "That's great news though, twins. What are their names, if you don't mind me asking?" Zi'on actually looks a little frightened as Kiltara moves over to sit next to him. Though it's probably better, so they can talk quietly without people hearing. He seems to relax a bit as she settles in. "Ah… It's just relationships. I'm not very good at them, honestly. At least the romantic ones." He smiles back at her, but it's sad. And it disappears at the news about her children. "Oh. I'm sorry. About your other kids." He blinks, then chuckles as she bumps her shoulder into him. "My favorite thing in the whole wide world? Suldith, of course. My dragon."

"Yes, like with an 's'," Kiltara manages between a hiccup of giggles, and at his question, she makes a little bit of a smug face at him. She shakes her shoulders as she straightens her back, tilting her head up as if this is a matter of pride, and gives the man her brightest smile. "Wouldn't you like to know?" she teases; and then, after a moment, she's bringing one elbow up onto the table and dropping her chin into her hand. The smile doesn't quite leave, though it's more subdued when she informs Zi very softly that, "You look better when you smile, Zi'on. You should do that more often." She drops her gaze then, and rolls her shoulders. "Don't apologize. I was a very stupid girl, and I paid a high price for my naivety. Suldith, is it?" And then she's going to work on the paper, sketching, rubbing at spots with her fingers, erasing here and there and starting again. Without looking up aside from a flicker of grey eyes in the weyrleader's direction, she asking, "Maybe it's not that you're bad at relationships, but that you haven't found the right girl?" A pause, and Kiltara looks up to study the bronzerider's face before dropping her gaze back to her work again. "Or maybe you found the right girl and nobody else is good enough…? Why do you think you're bad at them?"

Zi'on chuckles and nods. About the multiple babies and the lack of names thus far. He grins to her then. "Seriously. You're tinier than my last weyrmate, and I wasn't sure where she put our twins. Mine were both girls though. I've got more girls than boys now." He tilts his head to her as she leans it on her arm, and smiles to her. "Thanks. You're sweet, Kiltara. And very pretty. Are you sure you're related to Ila'den? Only a half-sister though, right?" He winks to her, so she knows he's being playful. "Suldith, yes. So… you and Sorel, hm? I heard he was searched… kind of bad timing and all. With the babies and all." Zi'on watches her arms and hands move. At least what he can see of them. "Maybe. I think I've found a right girl. But I had to sweep away all the other girls I liked but weren't right. But it wasn't as if I didn't care about the other girls. So it was hard. Though it's mostly due to my last weyrmating. It ended badly with her leaving. And then we had an on again off again thing. And then she saw me with someone else. And it got even messier, because I still loved her, but she wanted nothing to do with me romantically. But she still wants to be friends. But it's hard." He blinks. "Sorry. I didn't mean to inundate you with all my relationship drama."

"Oi, oi," Kiltara says, feigning offense at being called tiny. "I will have you know that I'm bigger on the inside." Clearly! Then she's laughing into her hand, and shaking her head as she returns her full attention onto her drawing. "That must drive you batty, having that many girls. They're all going to be big enough someday to have men chasing their skirts, and then what are you going to do?" Kita imagines that Zi'on will have his hands full, and she doesn't envy him that fact one little bit. "I was raised around men my whole life, so I'm not entirely sure what to do with my own daughter." And then she gives him a sideways look, and there's something cripplingly shy in that half-glance. She seems unsure of how to proceed, caught up on the compliments, and then he gives her something to go off of. She laughs, that breathy, brief, hushed whisper of breath, and manages a deviant smile for the Weyrleader. "I /was/ blessed with the better half of the family goods," she attempts. And then Zi'on's asking about her with Sorel, and her smile is suddenly sad. She turns to look at him fully, and then drops her eyes away from him. She doesn't answer him, but instead lapses into silence so that she can listen. When he's done, she's reaching out to very gently pat his shoulder and, just a bit further back, to rub his back. She turns fully in her chair then, towards him, and brings her elbow back up onto the table, chin in her hand so that she can watch him as she rubs. "It's okay, Zi'on. I don't mind listening, and there's nothing wrong with making mistakes when you're trying to figure everything out. You'll have to tell me her name some day, your lucky lady." And then she's trying to lighten the mood, pushing her sketchpad towards him. What the hell is that?! It's a drawing of a dragon. A /bad/ dragon. And is that… is that stick figure Zi? Kiltara's hand comes down on it as she attempts to keep a straight face. "30 Hundred marks." One Mississippi, two, and the teenager is dissolving into laughter. She did it bad on purpose!

Zi'on laughs a bit. "Not too big, I hope." Bigger after two babies though, surely. There's a shrug about all his daughters. "I'll do what I have to. They're growing up in the weyr, though, so they'll probably be good at handling themselves." Just get them on the tea as soon as possible and hope he doesn't have to meet any of their boyfriends. "Why does it have to be any different than how you were brought up?" Zi'on grins to Kiltara. "I certainly agree. Small wonder Sorel is so protective of you." Zi'on seems to appreciate the back rubbing, and he sighs a bit. He wraps an arm loosely around her waist. He smiles a bit to her. "I appreciate it. It's not often I get a woman's sympathetic ear these days. I'll tell you her name right now if you really want to know." He peers at the stick figure then raises a brow at her. Then he laughs. "Even if I had that kind of money I wouldn't pay three marks for that. Maybe thirty marks." He eyes her. "But I would want something extra." Yes, he is propositioning her.

Look at the face Kiltara makes. It's playful, of course, but loathe of his question. "Oi, Weyrleader, just which 'inside' are you thinking?" The tiny girl even reaches out to gently push on his nose, as if this might drive home her point of keeping his head outside of the proverbial gutter. She shakes her head at Zi'on's grand plan of fatherhood, and drops her gaze when she laughs again. "Best of luck in that endeavor, Zi'on." Was that sarcasm? Just a hint, but all said with good nature. She doesn't comment on Sorel being protective, or his agreement of her getting the better looks, because the result is a pretty blush that has her looking away. She doesn't stop the rubbing, of course, but does look mildly startled when his arm is around her. Her attention whips back to him, those grey eyes blink wide, and then she's ducking her head as he offers a name. "Only if you want," she says, moments before she is feigning exasperation at his appraisal of her work. Here is where the playfulness is back in full force (with just a touch of that blush still lingering), and she brings both of her elbows down on the table as she leans her little body much closer to his. She feigns seriousness well, stating, "Aye, you drive a hard bargain, sir…" And then she's saying, "Three marks and I'll add a picture of Ila'den getting eaten as a bonus." DEAL OR NO DEAL?

Zi'on grins to her. "You know. Inside." He whispers then. "Down there." Wink wink. He wrinkles his nose as she pushes on it. He's got quite a lot of nose, actually. But is doesn't get his mind out of the gutter. He grins. "What? They've all got mothers, let them worry about what happens to them. I'll handle the boys." At least that's what he thinks. For a couple of turns he can play that game. He looks back at her, his own brown eyes looking into her grey ones. "What if I said Kiltara? What would you do then?" He grins to her as she leans her elbows on the table, then he pokes at her ribs. "I don't buy anything I can't see. And I'm more interested in company than in art. I don't generally keep things around my weyr unless they're practical."

Kiltara does several things in that instant that Zi'on scrunches his nose, whispers about the wrong insides, and grins. The teenage girl reaches out tiny hands to catch the Weyrleader's face between them, shifts her tiny body a bit higher up - possibly shifting onto her knees - and then she's bonking her forehead very gently against Zi'on's. She closes her eyes for the contact, with a smile the size of Western on her lips. "Does that actually work for you, Zi?" she asks then, on a whisper, as if they're sharing secrets between best friends. She lets him go then, but only because she's jerking back when he asks how she'd react if he said it was her. She wiggles at the touch to her ribs, and fights down a giggle as she flumps back onto her bottom and bites her bottom lip between her teeth. She's careful about her answer now, as she considers what to say in response to the possibility of it being her. "I would say that you're not a very good liar, and then I would tactfully move into the next topic and agree to keep you company." A pause, and then more of that laughter. "What would be practical about keeping me in your weyr, Zi'on?" ASIDE FROM THE OBVIOUS.

Wrong insides? They're the correct insides. The good ones. Zi'on shuts his eyes as Kiltara leans her forehead against him. "Hello." He says to her, reaching up to run the backs of his fingers over her cheek gently. "Does what actually work for me? Every girl is different." He just grins as she wriggles away from him. "I can definitely use some company. I can always use some company, Kiltara." The bronzer looks at her, then raises an eyebrow. "Other than easy access? I heard you've got at least some housewifey type of skills. I've got a lot of kids and I'm sort of a slob. And I can't cook. Plus by bed gets cold at night. So.. if you could remedy any of that that would be worthwhile to me. At least for a short period of time. Until you get bored."

"Hello," Kiltara murmurs back, though she shies away from the touch on her face. She scrunches up her nose at the Weyrleader after a moment, and says a very soft, "You know exactly what I'm talking about. I am pretty sure that half of the women in this weyr - if not all - have been a victim to your charm." And then she's turning back to sit in her seat proper, pulling her sketchbook back towards herself and picking back up her pencil. She starts to scribble again, though it seems more to distract herself than to actually make anything come to life on paper. She leans sideways then, to shoulder bump the older man gently. "So out with it then. You said you 'think you found the one', so what's her name /really/?" And then she's blinking once, twice, and stammering out, "Well… I could…" Pause. "Not the bed warming thing of course," comes out in a rush, and she's blushing pretty again. "But the company… and the kids… and you can even… tell me about the women in your life. I'll listen. It'll be like… You know… A slumber party?" She's never had one of those. SOUNDS FUN.

Zi'on opens his eyes up as she shies away from him. He looks at her, and chuckles. "I don't think I'm quite that lucky. I don't think I have quite as much charm as everyone thinks I do. You'd think I'd have a line of ladies out the door, but trust me, that is not the case." Zi'on has to work for all his ladies! The bronzer watches Kiltara moves back to her seat. He grunts as she bumps him. "Yeah yeah. Her name is Rhysanna, actually. Not sure if you've met her or not. That's her name really." He smiles to her. "You can still sleep in my bed. Just… not sex-sleep. Though… I could use a friend. Someone who I don't have to worry about impressing. Or worry about judging me and my relationships." He chuckles. "A slumber party. That might be fun. I dunno if I've ever technically had one. That's more a girl thing."

Kiltara raises a brow at Zi'on, and then leans in close to the Weyrleader. She lowers her voice to a conspirator's whisper, and manages, "I think you don't give yourself nearly enough credit." Then Zi'on's giving up the name, and Kiltara is making a soft noise in her throat, trying it out on her tongue before giving him one of her best smiles. "Rhysanna, is it? Pretty name. My Mum's name was Kilyanna - kind of similar, though unfamiliar. Is she from here?" The teenager pauses long enough to listen to Zi'on speak, and then she's laughing softly as she pulls her sketchpad in against her chest. She turns to face him then, hesitates, and then rips out the page with the ridiculously dinky drawing to hand over to Zi'on. "On the house. I don't think Rhysanna would be very impressed with our sleepover - nor would Sorel. I don't think we need anymore leadership getting stabbed." It's all said softly, softly, as if she really thinks this is some elaborate joke that she's trying to ease her way gracefully through.

Zi'on chuckles. "I think you're giving me far too much credit. I'm actually quite bad with women. I seem to only get attention when I don't need it, and when I could use a girl, no one gives me the time of day." The bronzer smiles and nods to her. "Actually I have a daughter named Erianna. Seems to be a popular sort of name. I like your name though. Kiltara is very pretty. Rhysanna? She's from Western, yes." Zi'on takes the sketch that Kiltara hands him. "Rhysanna doesn't even know I'm interested yet. So she doesn't have one thing or another to say about our sleep over." He chuckles. "I'm not afraid of Sorel." He gives her a serious look then. "How serious are you with Sorel? Like… if he doesn't impress, do you think you two will be handfasted?" Zi'on is curious as to what sort of relationship Kiltara and Sorel have. Is he just her baby daddy?

Well, well, well. Isn't Zi'on a smooth talker? Kiltara flushes at the compliment to her name, and doesn't give Zi'on any kind of a response. In fact, she doesn't say a word to the Weyrleader even once as he continues to speak. When he asks her about Sorel, however, she turns her head to look at him and furrows her brows. There's a long pause, and then a roll of her shoulders. "I thought I was in love once, but everybody keeps telling me that it was… wrong." She rubs at the bridge of her nose, making a little smear across it for her efforts, and then laughs softly. "So I don't know, Zi'on. Maybe I'm the one who's actually really bad at this relationship thing." Now the teenager is staring at Zi'on, as if she's really seeing him for the first time, and there's a breathy whisper of, "I'm going to do something really stupid. Really, incredibly stupid." Back onto her knees she goes, and then she's leaning forward, tracing fingers over Zi's brows, and then she's catching his chin between both of her hands. Is she… shaking?! She is! "You have to close your eyes first."

Zi'on isn't -trying- to be a smooth talker! He's just being himself. He looks at her intently as she tries to sort out her feelings for Sorel. "Well… love is something you feel. If you were in love… you would know. So if you have to consider it, then… it's possible you're not." he reaches up to rub at her nose then, trying to work off the smear for her. He gives her a sympathetic smile. "Nah. You're still young. You get to trip up a little. By now you would think I'd have things under control." Zi'on blinks at Kiltara then, looking suddenly ten turns younger than he is. "Oh?" His hands move to her waist to try and steady her. He can see her shaking a bit. "Okay…" He says quietly, shutting his eyes. He's trusting her not to do something horrible to him, but really she could do whatever she wanted to him right at this moment.

"I'm young," Kiltara agrees, "but I've been through a lot more than most people will experience in their lifetime." Truth, and it's all said on a whisper that sounds just as unsure as she feels. Zi'on's eyes are closed, and Kiltara is leaning in to press her lips against his. The contact is brief, though not so brief as to be damn near non-existant. She lingers just long enough to get a potential feel for what it'd be like to kiss the man forever, and then she's jerking backwards and scrambling out of her seat. "I have, you know… There's…" The teenage girl is backpedaling away, away, away. She's abandoning her partially eaten food and even her treasured sketchpad in a moment of panic! "Socks. Yes. That need tending. I mean… No…" She's getting breathy as she keeps on backpedaling awayawayaway. "Things?" Hopeless. RUN AWAY, KILTARA! RUN AWAY!

Zi'on may not have much time to do it, but his lips do respond to that kiss. There's definitely something there. Then she's back pedaling away from him and the bronzer blinks at her. "I… what? Kiltara…" The bronzer gets up to take her hand before she get too far away. "Whoa.. whoa… Just… relax. You don't need to leave. And you're forgetting your stuff." He frowns at her. "Sorry… Did I do something wrong? I didn't mean to scare you… Stay a little longer." Or at least say goodbye properly. NO RUNNING AWAY! Though Zi'on might be a bit more intimidating standing up. Or maybe he looks bigger and more safe? He can protect her from all the horrible outside world. "When will I get to see you again? You should bring the babies."

/Definitely/ intimidating at his full height. When Zi'on catches her hand, she draws back just a fraction of an inch and then stops. She's not trying to /escape/ him, it's just that she's not very sure of what she's supposed to do next. She just kissed the man, for crying out loud, and now he's telling her to… "You're really tall," she says, and it's a mere squeak of words. The teenager is /tiny/ compared to him, but if her shaking indicates any one thing, it's not that she's thinking of him as a shelter to keep her safe from the rest of the world. She definitely wants to run. Fast. "I…" Grey eyes flicker towards her things, and then back up to Zi'on. She stills, and calms just a little. Maybe it's more or less the feelings Zi's stirring up inside of her that she's trying to get away from. One, two, three, and she's saying, "Tonight." It's a whisper, near inaudible, that she's says to the weyrleader. "Can I have… tonight? N-No strings…" What! Now who's propositioning who?!

Zi'on looks down at her and pouts a bit. He's not trying to be intimidating. He's just tall. He's just letting her do like she will. It seems like she needs the outlet more than he does. It's not like she's had an easy time of things. He smiles a little at her mention of him being tall. He just stands there, holding onto her hand gently. Not forcing her to stay, but not wanting her to leave. Just being there, unthreatening and just… there. He nods to her. "No strings. Whatever you want tonight. As far as you want, as much as you want. Tonight I'll take care of you." The bronzer opens his arms up and then pulls Kiltara in against him. They can leave at any point, but Zi'on isn't going to let her run off into the night.

Kiltara finds her way against the Weyrleader's chest without a word - not that she really reaches it all that well. Too-thin arms come around Zi's middle, and she holds on desperately tight for just a moment, face buried, unable to look up. She's still trembling, but does eventually pull away long enough to gather up her sketchbook. Note that she hooks one finger in his waistband while she does this, so as not to let him go or think she's running away. The pad is pulled in tight against her chest, right before she looks up at Zi'on. "I'm ready," she whispers, and then grey eyes drop away. She'll start towards the exit then, only letting her finger slip out of his waistband once there's too much distance between them for it to be physically possible to keep it there. She even stops, to give him another shy look, and a shy smile, before talking off in a half-run. Yep, Zi'on's gonna have to keep up if he wants to play.


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