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 a cool spring evening at Western, and there's a light rain outside. Hotaru sent a message to Nae telling her to meet her in the caverns for dinner, since she didn't want to risk the possibility of bringing food up and getting it water logged. It's slightly late for the dinner hour, and the big crowd has since come and gone. Hotaru however must be running late, as she's no where to be found in the caverns just yet.

Nae hates cool, rainy weather. It means she has to get all bundled up and can't frolic outdoors like usual. So she's a little grumpy today as she walks in, wiping rain from her jacket. Her eyes scan over the tables, a little disappointed when she fails to spot Hotaru.

She may, instead, spot Rhysanna: the goldrider is sitting at one of the tables not too far from the entrance, looking dry enough that she must have been here for some time. Certainly, her plate is mostly empty, and really, she seems much more focused on the shiny, printed catalog she's reading instead. Clothes, you see, are very important.

Nae might be slightly grumpier in a few seconds. Someone approaches the greenrider from behind, clearing his throat. "Ahem. Excuse me, assistant weyrlingmaster Nae?" Behind Nae is Inspector Jack. Jack is of average height with a weathered face that looks scruffy even when he's just shaved. He's got intense brown eyes and a permanent scowl. There are two bigger guards with him, who are also scowling. "If you'll have a seat. We need to ask you a few questions."

Nae has never found clothes to be all that critical. As Rhysanna has discovered to her dismay in the past. When Nae spots the goldrider she realizes she might have a little apologizing to do on that front. And some other fronts. But just about when she's ready to head over, some 'inspector' gets in her face. Her gumpiness turns on him. "Excuse me?" She does take the seat, but scowls right back. "What's this about?"

Ever since that teeny, tiny little incident with the body in the kitchen, people have been paying more attention to the guards than usual; Rhysa, glancing up from her reading material, is apparently one of them. Things with Nae may be a little… awkward, at the moment, but the sight of the greenrider and the guards is enough to draw her from her seat, so that she can approach. "Is something the matter, Nae?" Beat. "Guardsmen?"

One of the other guards interjects. "Just answer the questions." He tells Nae with a scowl. The inspector takes a seat across from the greenrider. He takes a pad of paper and a pen from his pocket and flips the pad open. Rhysa is acknowledged with a look from the inspector. "We have some questions for the assistant weyrlingmaster." He says, but doesn't elaborate. Instead he looks to Nae. "Your weyrmate's name is Hotaru, correct? A journeyman vintner? Can you tell us the last time you saw her?"

Nae's awkwardness about the whole Rhysanna situation is quickly replaced by irritation and worry in response to the questions of the inspector and his goons. "Hotaru? I just saw her this morning… is everything okay?" She asks, eyes widening with worry.

Rhysanna's gaze slides from Nae towards the trio of guards, and then back again, her teeth worrying at her lower lip uncomfortably. Abruptly, her shoulders straighten, and she says, "You won't mind me sitting in, then," with enough force behind the words to avoid encouraging disagreement. Taking a seat next to Nae only reinforces her determination.

The inspector scribbles in his notepad. "Please just answer the questions. So this morning was the last time you heard from her? Where were you approximately… two hours ago?" Jack's expression remains neutral. Apparently whatever he does know about the situation he's investigating he's keeping tightly under wraps. Or using it as bait to get Nae to cough up the answers to his questions. There's a look to Rhysa, but he can't exactly tell a weyrwoman 'no you can't' when it's in the middle of the living caverns.

Nae casts a glance at Rhysanna, clearly grateful to have her backup here. But her worry is obvious. She looks back to the inspector. "I was running flight drills for the weyrlings. Now you answer /my/ questions. Is Hotaru okay? Why are you asking me these things?"

At times like these, awkwardness is totally irrelevant: being supportive is much more important. Rhysanna acknowledges Nae's glance with one of her own, her head tipping forward into a minute, barely-visible nod, though her attention slides quickly back towards Jack and his companions. "I'm sure we can corroborate Nae's whereabouts very easily," she says, carefully. "If that's a… a concern. But she's right: why don't you explain what this is all about. Please."

Jack looks up at Nae. "And there's someone who can corroborate that you were running drills? Another of the weyrlingmaster staff? You and Hotaru… everything going alright at home? I'd heard you'd had your first flight not too long ago… No hard feelings there?" Jack looks to Rhysa and furrows his brow. "Hotaru was assaulted in the storage caverns earlier. She was in an altercation with the perpetrator, but he or she was able to escape before they could be apprehended. Apparently whoever it was had their face covered. She's currently in the infirmary being treated for minor injuries."

Nae looks panicked. "Injuries? How bad was she hurt? Is she going to be okay? I… have to go see her!" She seems very tempted to just rush right over to the infirmary. But the questions posed to her make her glare. "I was /proddy/. It happens in a weyr. I love Hotaru, and I need to see her. What are you suggesting?"

Rhysanna just… stares. "And you think Nae did it? Nae would never. That's utterly ridiculous." She reaches her hand towards Nae, evidently aiming to try and take the greenrider's and give it a reassuring squeeze. "I'm sure the weyrling staff will confirm Nae's whereabouts, as will the weyrlings themselves. Which will leave her clear to go and check on her weyrmate, don't you think, Inspector Jack?" Her voice raises uncertainly at the end of that; her cheeks flush.

Jack shakes his head. "I can't comment as to the nature of her injuries. I'm not a healer. She was awake and talking." Jack scribbles more down in his notebook. "I can't rule you out as a possible suspect until I can corroborate your story. I need to know who else was running drills with you today." Jack just scowls at Rhysa. "Sorry, Weyrwoman. But I'm not here to make character judgements. I'm here to get the facts and work out any leads." He looks over his notepad. "That's all for now." He gets up then. "I'll check back in if I have any other questions."

"And that requires you to be a jerk to people whose weyrmates have just been hurt?" Nae says with a hateful glare at the inspector. "I think you're just looking to participate in some sort of… witch hunt because you don't know what you're doing. If you want to question me again, I want a Harper advocate present." With that, she stands and moves to storm out and head for the infirmary, a quick grateful glance sent to Rhysanna.

"And yet, dropping the news that a person's weyrmate has been attacked is…" Rhysanna breaks off, and forgoes completing that sentence. Nae is on her way out, after all, and so there's nothing for her to do but rise from her seat and fix Jack with a cool glance. "Tread carefully. I know you're just trying to do your job, but these are people. Excuse me." She has a magazine to pick up. It's very important.

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