Blown Away

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.

Oh the weather outside is frightful - but the fire in the caverns is delightful! And it would seem that on this particularly nasty Western spring day, there are plenty tucked away indoors, lingering long after the breakfast rush has passed. But there's plenty of room for all, even a wide-hipped brownrider who's just battled her way across the wind-swept bowl to push her way indoors. "/Faranth/," Rou'x gasps once she's pushed the door shut behind her, struggling against the wind that wanted to keep it open. Inside properly now, she strips off her coat, draping it over the back of a chair before wandering over to grab klah and some of the street pastries that the kitchens have offered up for those not yet ready to brave the harsh outdoors.

It's been more than a month since Kayse's mentor returned to the Hall and still she hasn't received either a new posting or a replacement instructor. She's tried to be good and keep up her studies but after weeks and weeks of nothing to do but read books there's not much left for her to look at. She's tried to stay occupied and active, keeping in shape with long walks about the Weyr and the occasional hike through the nearby forests but she's starting to go stir-crazy with nothing new to do. So the day finds her sitting in the living caverns, sulking with boredom, nebulous envy, and feelings of abandonment. She's so deep in her funk that she's not really been aware of people passing by, but when Rou'x opens the door and a bit of that nasty wind sneaks in, lashing across her face, she takes notice. "Shards, that wind has bite!" she exclaims, looking over as the brownrider finally gets the door closed. "I'm surprised anyone's moving through the bowl if its blowing like that."

"Damned near blew Indy outta the air," Rou'x grumbles in reply to Kayse. It mightn't make sense, but it at least emphasises the gravity of the situation out there. "I saw there were a front comin' in, but shards, I din't realise it were gonna be /that/ bad." She shakes her head, piling sweet pastries (and not street pastries, as my earlier pose said *ahem*) onto her plate and then plonking herself down onto a chair beside Kayse. Does it matter that her coat's not there? Not at all, apparently. "Didja go out y'self yet? Cos I ain't gonna recommend it, not to no-one who don't hafta. I'm gonna go hide myself away upstairs until it's blown over, cos I ain't gonna risk Indy hurtin' a wing or summat tryin' t' come down n' get me."

"Oh!" Kayse says with alarm at the near miss. "I hadn't realized it was that bad outside. It didn't look like there was anything going on when I looked out earlier." She glances toward the well-closed door, as if she could see through it to the skies outside and study the weather. "Is it going to be a bad storm?" she asks Rou'x, looking curious but not particularly anxious. "I won't be going out, no, but I'll have to make sure my firelizard doesn't slip out to go hunting if the winds are that bad." She doesn't seem to mind Rou'x claiming a seat at her table; in fact, she shifts her chair around to give the rider a bit more room, and to make her easier to look toward without having to turn her head as much. The crafter doesn't have food left on her plate, just crumbs, and her mug is long since empty. She's been too busy sulking to get a refill or clear her space.

Selfish Rou'x doesn't offer up any of her food hoard to Kayse - the plate of yummies is set down in front of her to be demolished, bit by delicious bit. She even dunks the pastries into her klah occasionally for a taste double-whammy. "I'm still gettin' used to the reports, but I reckon it ain't gonna get better until later tonight - n' then we might getta bit of rain, but it ain't gonna be a full-on storm. Not inland, anyway. Them out at sea might be havin' a rough time of it, though… A'wrn n' his lot," note how she doesn't associate herself with the Archipelago wingriders, "are gonna be on standby, just in case. Don't envy 'em havin' to go on out in this, though. Certainly ain't no joke."

Kayse toys with some of the crumbs on her plate as Rou'x speaks, expression largely attentive punctuated with moments of flinching when Rou'x dunks food into her klah. Apparently that's not something Kayse is fond of. She tips her head to one side as she asks, "What do you mean, getting used to the reports?" Then she frowns and adds, "Isn't this the kind of thing they train for, though? Dealing with flying in the wing and the rain and whatnot so they can help those who need it?" There's a momentary pause as she picks her words, trying to express her question without sounding like an uninformed idiot. "Doesn't that training make it easier on them when they get called into action?"

"All the trainin' in the world ain't always good f' when you're faced wi' actual shit like what's out there now." Dunk dunk dunk goes the pastry… it drips klah on the tabletop as Rou'x leans forward to bite off the sodden bit. It doesn't take much chewing before she talks again. "Y'can train in storms, but there ain't no two the same, n' you cain't never /predict/ what they're gonna do. Too many variables at play in 'em; y' might have lightnin', strong winds, batterin' rain, high waves… the best all that trainin'll give ya is to mebbe help calm the nerves 'cos y'know whatcha gotta do against it and that gives a bit've confidence. But in reality? Eh." She waves her hand dismissively, shrugging her shoulders. "You gotta get out there, rely on your adrenaline n' your wits t'getcha through. Trainin'll show you /how/ t'do each thing, but it ain't gonna give you a play-by-play of each scenario y'might face."

"That's… a lot more complicated than I knew," Kayse says after a moment of thought. "I thought it was pretty straightforward stuff, just wind and rain. I didn't really think about all the rest of it," she admits, looking down at her plate and feeling rather dense. It should have been obvious; after all, she's seen plenty of people well-trained in their jobs still suffer accidents when something happened unexpectedly, and what can be more unexpected than the weather? "That sounds really dangerous, now. And terrifying." She shudders, Rou'x explanation giving her mind fodder for imagining violent storm-tossed seas and lightning-filled skies, herself being thrown about in it all. "I didn't realize…." She trails off, expression apologetic for the lack of understanding.

And for a moment there, Rou'x actually looks like she /misses/ being out there. "I were search n' rescue, I hadta learn all this stuff the hard way - ain't nothin' you woulda known wi'out purposely goin' outta your way to find it, y'know?" She winks reassuringly across at Kayse, before dragging a chair over to kick her feet up onto. "I usedta like takin' my wing out storm-trainin', though. It ain't never gonna hurt no-one t' train more, just so y'don't get me wrong. Trainin's good 'cos it builds confidence, y'just cain't predict the individual conditions of each one thatcha gonna face." A klah-soaked morsel drops onto her chest before she can get it into her mouth, and the brownrider grumbles as she flicks it off - unthinkingly towards Kayse. "But I ain't doin' that now, though, so I know I ain't gonna be out there today. What d'you do, again? I got a memory like a wherry sometimes.”

Kayse isn't much cheered by Rou'x reassurances, still feeling like she stuck her foot in her mouth with her earlier assumptions. Still, the bit of personal history does get her thinking and asking new questions. "You flew with Archipelago? When was that? Did you li- eeew!" Her last question is cut off as the flicked bit of soggy pastry flies her way, squishing on to her shirt just below the collar - a few inches higher and it would have hit her face. "Hey, watch where you flick that stuff!" She holds her shirt out from her chest, desperate to keep the klah from soaking in against her skin, and tries to pick it off with little success; all she manages to do is squish the soggy pastry into an even more messy blob.

"Y'what?" R'oux frowns at Kayse, looking squinty-eyed at her… and snorting at her failed attempt to clean up the splodge on her shirt. "C'mon, now, it ain't gonna killya." She kicks her feet down from the chair she's commandeered for them and scoots over to help, grabbing a napkin and dipping it into someone's glass of water so that she can start scrubbing at the girl's shirt - whether she likes it or not, really. Rou'll keep going until she's batted away. "You bein' serious wi' that Archipelago question, doll? Cos you cain't've been hidin' under a rock these past, what, three turns now, couldja?"

Kayse's hands are promptly displaced by Rou'x scrubbing, leaving her to wave them about uselessly because she just can't stand the sensation. "It's /gross/," she insists, trying to watch what Rou'x is doing but hey, nobody can really look at their own collar bones that well, can they? Especially not with a hand in the way. "It's all sticky and stuff. Yuck." Kayse has a problem with sticky, ok? Rou'x's question has her blinking in confusion, hands stilling - they'll just hang here in the air, doing nothing - as she processes it. "Uhm, yes? To the serious part. I haven't been hiding under a rock, no, but I don't stay here all that much, really. I spend a lot of time travelling around. I don't actually know all that much about people here," she explains.

Rou'x isn't exactly thorough in her cleaning attempt, but she does at least try for a few minutes before abandoning her efforts. The damp napkin is discarded on the table and she resumes her position with her booted feet up on the spare chair. "Sticky's better'n some stuff I can think of," she chuckles, picking up another pastry - it's not klah-dunked before she eats it. "Kinda figured most folks here'd know the score, but I guess y'ain't most folks then, huh? Either way, I were Archipelago's Wingleader for a coupla turns. Things then went t'shit n' I ain't Wingleader no more, which is all anyone needsta know, really." She shrugs her shoulders, fixing Kayse with a look that'll hopefully put her off asking more about /that/. "Whatcha doin' travellin' about a lot, then?"

Kayse's left cleaner than when Rou'x started, at least, and since she doesn't really have a way to make it any better, she's just going to have to live with having a damp spot on her shirt and feeling vaguely sticky. Ick. "Erm, thanks?" she says as Rou'x pulls away, hands reaching to pluck the shirt away from her skin so it at least isn't all clammy against her chest. "Oh. Uhm, sorry to hear that. About things going to shit, I mean." She's at a loss for something safe to say, so she finally does the smart thing and doesn't say anything further on the subject. As for her, "I'm a woodcrafter with a forestry specialty. There's a lot of good forest for logging here; the wood is great for shipbuilding and carpentry, and some's suited for decorative uses, too. So I've been going around learning about logging operations and sustainable practices and how to avoid ruining everything and driving all the animals and plants away while getting the wood we need."

"Oh yeah? That's pretty interestin' - I like wood, m'self. It's got a whole lot more personality than most metals do." Rou'x nods her head approvingly, raising her klah mug in a salute of appreciation for the younger woman's work. "Ain't really got no clue about foresting though, save f' knowing that there's animals in 'em that're alright t' hunt sometimes, n' thatcha can hang out in a forest f'ages, if y'know where t'look for stuff like food n' that." Her expression suggests that should be common knowledge, really. "You found anythin' good out there in our forests, then?"

Where Rou'x's earlier words of reassurance didn't help Kayse, her approval means much more to the young woman, who straightens up in her chair and nods in return. That's right, what she does matters! "There's a good selection of trees here," she asserts with a smile. "Makes the forests useful to a lot of different people. And I have, actually, found some good stuff. There are a lot of useful herbs growing in these forests, too. I'm learning how to identify and harvest them when we find them near the logging camps, and I've been trying to get the loggers to be careful about what other plants they clear when they're working, so we can keep harvesting those plants and make medicines out of them." She's right proud of that, based on her posture and tone, and her expression is distinctly satisfied as she explains her work.

"Huh." It's not a /bad/ sort of 'huh', but a 'hey, that's kinda cool' one. Rou'x is once more nodding approvingly, this time with one brow quirked thoughtfully high on her forehead. "Herbs n' shit like that're good t'know. I know a couple've them, but I betcha you know a whole lot more. Who's been teachin' ya what's good t'use, n' what ain't?" She recrosses her legs, so once boot's stacked atop the other at her ankles. The brownrider then yawns, stretching her arms up above her head, before beckoning a serving girl over to refill her klah mug. "Y'want some klah, doll? Or summat else? Ma girl here'll getcha summat, won'tcha?" There's a flirty little non-verbal exchange between Rou'x and the waitress, who hangs on until Kayse confirms whether or not she want something before scuttling off to fulfill the order.

Kayse forgets about her shirt as Rou'x's approval continues, the cloth slipping from her fingers to lay against her chest again. It's at least mostly dry now, even if it has dried with a tent-shape from her fingers pulling on it. "I've been studying with the Weyr's healers, and they have some excellent texts with good pictures and descriptions for the stuff that they can't grow in the gardens. They have been very supportive, even if some of the others haven't." That's perhaps more than she meant to say, based on her tightening expression, but she's relieved from having to think about it (at least for the moment) by the arrival of the serving girl and her exchange with Rou'x. When asked if she wants something she managers, "Ah, fresh klah please," pushing her empty mug over to be carried off.

Rou'x unabashedly watches the waitress's behind as she saunters off, snapping her attention back to Kayse once the booty's out of sight. "Say what? Who ain't supportive of someone learnin' what'll mebbe save their arse one day?" She tuts, shaking her head. "Some people's bloody idiots. They ain't gotta clue what they oughta be gunnin' for, n' what they best keep their noses outta, an' shit like that. Pers'nally? I reckon everyone outta know /summat/ of use to /everyone/, cos that we we're gonna have all knowledge covered by someone, somewhere, who's boundta step up in an emergency or whatever n' say 'Hey! I know howta gi' emergency aid to a wherry n' I'm gonna save that stink-arsed creature's butt!' Cos that'd only make sense… right?" Hello, pretty waitress. Rou'x's attention is caught up again as she winks and pouty-lips the girl bringing klah back to them, even going so far as to pat her hip before she slinks off.

Kayse is fascinated by Rou'x's attention toward the waitress; maybe it's the casualness by which the rider shows her appreciation, or something about the rider herself that hold's Kayse's attention, but she can't help but watch the byplay each time the waitress comes by. "Hmm? Oh, some of the masters, healer and woodcraft alike, don't really approve. My craft isn't as open to cross-crafting, it would seem, if they aren't getting much benefit from it, and from what I hear some of the healers don't think anyone who isn't a proper healer can harvest a plant without ruining all of its medicinal value." She shrugs dismissively, though her frown makes it clear that she isn't as easy about the situation as she is trying to act. Cue arrival of the waitress to serve as another distraction, letting Kayse cover her frustration in accepting the fresh klah and sipping at it.

"Here, kid, listen - y'cain't let bastards like them what you're talkin' about getcha down. If they cain't see the benefits o' diversification, then they ain't worth two 38ths t'rub together." Snorting, Rou'x leans forward, her feet thudding back down onto the ground when her heavy boots hit. "You ain't doin' no-one no harm by learnin' more, right? An' you're learnin' shit that's gotta lotta good f' people, right?" She reaches out to poke at Kayse's shoulder with one slightly grubby finger - it's probably still got pastry residue of some sort on it. "/You/ keep on doin' whatcha doin', n' tell 'em t'go fuck themselves. Yeah?" Her attention's caught by that waitress, and Rou makes eyes across the cavern at her. "I gotta go," she says to the woodcrafter, giving her a saucy wink. "Gotta get back t' the radio, right after…" Tilting her head to indicate the girl she's so blatantly flirting with, Rou stands up and gives Kayse's shoulder a squeeze. "You take care, yeah?" And off she goes, sashaying her wideload rear through the crowded caverns.

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