Melted Cheese, Pies and Fostering Kids

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 icky outside, and so Liandyn is inside, sitting at a table picking at a salad of greens and wherry strips. On her shoulder, the little mudlump that is Charity is trying to slide down her arm, clearly intent on swiping some of that lunch for himself. Despite her apparent lack of appetite, however, the greenrider seems to be in fairly good spirits.

A'ven arrives, rubbing his arms, "It's supposed to be spring, isn't it? Why is it so cold? I hate having to wear my riding leathers on a day this late in the Turn." He's talking to himself mostly, but here and there, people smile as they overhear him.

There's yet another resident seeking refuge from the ickiness outside, because there's Enka, seated at one of the tables nearest the hearth, a mug of klah at her elbow, and a half-eaten plate of roasted wherry and sweetrolls in front of her. The goldrider seems to be relaxing comfortably, wrinkling her nose in a sort of disgusted moue in the direction of the tunnel outside. "So much for sunshine and good weather," she grouses, catching sight of A'ven and waving briefly at him. "At least the riding leathers are keeping you warm. I came over here with just my day clothes." There's a sidelong glance at the greenrider as well. "Meal not to your taste, Liandyn?"

"I could knit you a sweater," Liandyn offers to A'ven as she finally pushes the salad away, letting Charity pounce on the wherry and begin stuffing it into his maw. "My appetite's off," she explains to Enka, with a shrug. "It looked good when I got it, but now that I have it, I just don't feel the urge." She grins suddenly. "Ah well, means I won't ruin my girlish figure, right?"

A'ven grins at Liandyn's offer, thinking. "You know, I don't have many sweaters… just… never got used to them. Itchy… I guess." He looks around to see if S'chez is sleeping. When he's certain that he is, and thusly not going to go blabbing. He winks and offers a rare moment of flattery, "You know, you could eat three plates, and it still wouldn't ruin you." He returns Enka's wave and then says, "If you're really cold, Weyrwoman, you can borrow my jacket… I'll just sit by the fire, maybe make myself some melted cheese.. if I can manage it without scorching the thing. My mother would be livid if I did." That remark produces a far away look of reflection, and then a carefree laugh. "Oh me… my mother, if she were here…"

"Make him a nice soft sweater," Enka suggests with a grin. "Somethin' that aint goin' to make him itch." She surveys the Weyrleader for a moment. "Last thing I'd need is to have him start clawin' at himself in the middle of a meetin' or somethin'." She lifts a hand to hide a brief smile, and is thus quick to reassure Liandyn as well. "Wouldn't be eatin' this stuff myself if I'd thought it'd make me fat." Maybe that came out too quickly, yes? "I'd agree with A'ven. We could /both/ eat three plates and still be nice." Granted, the goldrider isn't exactly as trim as she might have been as a teenager — but at least she's not plump, ever after three kids. "I'll manage, A'ven. It's not so bad in here." A pause. "Your ma teach you how to make a melted cheese sandwich?"

"I can get my hands on some lovely angora wool - it's from rabbits, rather than ovines, and it's far less likely to be itchy. I'm sure I can make you a nice, manly sweater." Liandyn winks at the bronzerider as she reaches out, gathering Charity into her hands before he can drown in greens. "And you're sweet for saying so, but I feel like I'm still chasing down my figure, though Analyn is over two turns old now. It's amazing Ae'gus can - well, you know." She doesn't even bother blushing, just gives the pair a wicked grin. "You can cook? I swear, I burn water. Not exactly a skill I ever learned."

A'ven explains, "Cornelia, my mother was a Master Baker. At one time she wanted to teach me everything… thought I might choose her Craft. In the end, all she could manage to teach me before we really lost touch with each other was pie. I can bake a really good pie… but that's as far as that goes. Still, I am absolutely not allowed to burn anything, ever." Another laugh, "So yes, I can make a melted cheese sandwich.. but if she were here she'd be telling me, cautioning me just like always, not to burn it." He turns to Liandyn, "I'm glad you and Ae'gus are still getting along.", he adds with a wry sparkle in his eye. "Been kind of a long run hasn't it? How long have you two been… " Well, that's about all that needs be said, doesn't it? Enka gets a nod of agreement, "Dragonriders tend to stay in shape, even if it's just the work involved in oiling our friends eh? Yet another thing they give to us… so many gifts from our lifemates… health being one."

Enka leans forward with animated interest. "Don't suppose you'd be wantin' to share that pie recipe, would you? I'm always on the look out for some new sweets to bake." She pauses briefly to gesture towards the sweetrolls, half-eaten and crumbled on their plate as they are. "Wasn't sure if that one recipe turned out as well as I'd hoped, but try and try again." The goldrider does look a little intrigued. "Why A'ven, all this time I've known you, and you never told me your ma was a Baker too." She does catch that wicked grin from Liandyn and chuckles. "Analyn is that old already, Faranth, how time flies. Reminds me how Liam and Ken are growin' up too, seems like they get bigger every time I see 'em." Which is a lot. "Good to hear you and Ae'gus are still an item though."

A slow blink greets both A'ven and Enka's comments regarding her and Ae'gus. "Why wouldn't we be?" Liandyn asks wonderingly. "We've a very strong relationship - he loves me, I love him, and we both love Analyn. We hardly even argue, and even when we do, well…" She trails off, then grins wickedly. "Making up is always fun." Shrugging her shoulders, she reaches out with a fork to spear a leaf of spinach, bringing it to her lips. After swallowing, she adds, "I know not every relationship works out, but surely there's plenty that do?"

A'ven nods, "Many relationships do work out I guess — but riders, well, that's a special challenge. I remember there was a brief time when Kimmila was not a rider, and I was… that was difficult for her to… to adjust to." A long slow nod. "Yes, I'd say you're doing well to be together then… sometimes love does make things surprisingly simple." He looks over at Enka, "Oh certainly, I'll share some of my mother's secrets about pie… it's not, all in the recipe, most everyone can manage that, if you measure accurately — it's mostly technique. My mother might not like me sharing Craft secrets, but you see… she's not here." He lowers his eyes and chuckles, "She'll never know."

"Jays," Enka reaches for her mug of klah, sipping at it and making a face. "Cold," she mumbles, the tin mug clattering back on to the table although the goldrider makes no move of yet to rise and refill it with fresh warm beverage. "Didn't mean for it to come out soundin' like you were goin' to call it quits tomorrow, Lia. I'm just glad the two of you are happy together." She pauses, nodding over at A'ven. "Oh aye, it's definitely not easy for riders sometimes." Enka might well look like she's going to continue on, but then pauses, and stands, finally heading over to the hearth to refill her mug. It's then that she returns, and flashes the bronzerider a conspiratorial grin. "What she don't know, can't hurt her. And it's not like I 'aint in the Craft myself."

"Oh, hon, I know," Liandyn soothes the goldrider, sending her friend a sweet smile. "It just seemed so weird, coming from both of you, like it was some kind of shock. Ae'gus and I are very happy - at least as far as I know. In fact," she adds, with a grin, "now that he's given up his knot, I get to see even more of him. And it keeps L'ton on his best behavior, having my weyrmate in the same wing." Settling Charity on her shoulder, she moves to sit nearer the Weyrwoman as the Weyrleader leaves, waving goodbye to A'ven's back. "Is everything going well with you? I haven't seen much of you lately."

Enka is certainly soothed. A fresh mug of klah helps with that, but it's mainly Liandyn's friendly smile that does the trick. "I bet it sounded weird, " she remarks dryly, leaning back in her chair to regard her friend. "Aye, that was somethin' he mentioned, wantin' to spend time with his family. That's great though, better for you, and Analyn, always havin' him come home at night on time." the goldrider grins wryly. "And I just bet that L'ton behaves himself, less time for him to try anythin' funny with your weyrmate watchin' over you." There's a wink, and Enka seems a bit more relaxed, wiggling her fingers in farewell to A'ven as he departs. "Been busy," the explanation is short. "Got paperwork to do, a dragon to take care of and kids to mother. Guess that practically makes me a recluse."

Pale blue eyes watch Enka for a long moment, but Liandyn doesn't press on the short reply, instead making a sympathetic moue. "Yes, I only have the dragon and one kid, but I can imagine how hard it must be for you." She frowns slightly, tilting her head to stare at the table. "Analyn's getting to that age where her staggering attempts to walk are becoming dashes. Pretty soon, Ae'gus and I will have to look at fostering her. Keeping her up so high is going to be dangerous." Clearly, the greenrider is unhappy about that - there's no doubt, Analyn will grow up knowing how loved she is by her parents.

"Emalia's been fostered off since we transferred here," Enka remarks then, her gray eyes meeting Liandyn's before she nods briefly. "And we got the boys fostered off before — " a pause, and the goldrider just shrugs. "I still have them come over to the weyr a lot. Got their beds there, their toys. It's like havin' them at home most of the time, but they stay out too." There's another moment of silence, and Enka sips at her mug of klah. "I worry about that too, sometimes. Liam 'aint so bad, but I get worried that Kaelen will take a dive right over the ledge, and we aren't even that high up. It must be even worse for you up on the Bowl." It's the goldrider's turn to smile in sympathy. "It's hard, gettin' a child fostered off, but that doesn't mean you can't ever go visit her."

"Oh, I know. Fostering's best for a rider's kid, and I've had more than one woman offer," Liandyn murmurs. "But I can't help but be selfish and want Analyn with me as long as possible. Just not enough to risk her taking a dive off my ledge - you know it's one of the highest in the Weyr." Shaking her head, the greenrider leans back in her chair, gazing at Enka sidelong for a long moment. "And if I foster her, she'll get to spend more time with Liam and Kaelen, which might be nice. Almost like having brothers." After all, the girl and twins are nearly exactly the same age. "I should spirit you away," she muses. "For a day. Dress to the nines, go hit the shops at Ierne, flirt with all the boys."

Enka nods. "And speakin' from experience as a rider's kid who was fostered, it was the best thing for me. Ever. Not—" and here Enka holds up a cautionary finger — "that I'm anywhere as bad a mother as Chaya was." In fact, if there's anything that can be said for the goldrider, she's definitely /not/ her mother's daughter. "But my foster ma was the best thing for me. She's fosterin' Emalia for me. Didn't think she was up to taking on two boys, so they have a different foster." She grins cheerfully then. "I bet Analyn will like that, almost havin' brothers and all. She'd like bein' with other kids her age, and you won't have to worry about her tryin' to fly without wings." There's a wry chuckle from the Weyrwoman then. "Now, that sounds awfully temptin' to go to Ierne. And fun." Really fun.

"We'll set a date," Liandyn decides firmly, grinning at Enka. "We'll wear short dresses and do our hair, I'll even break out the make-up I rarely have time to wear anymore. Leave the kids with the fosters, tell Ae'gus to find something to entertain himself, and go make a spectacle of ourselves. We'll leave them panting after us." Sleekly satisfied, the greenrider spreads her hand, inspecting her short nails thoughtfully. "Don't they have some kind of day spa at Ierne? I think we could both use some pampering." Because, you know, Ae'gus doesn't pamper her. Not at all. "I think Ae'gus and I will start interviewing fosters soon."

"It's a plan then," Enka grins back, a decidedly mischievous grin wreathing her face — clear proof that a weyrbrat /never/ really grows up. "It'll be positively delightful. I like the part about makin' a spectacle of ourselves. Definitely gonna get noticed." Her mug hits the table with a soft chink, the goldrider peering over at Liandyn's hands for a moment or two before she curls her own fingers over, buffing at her fingernails of her right hand with the tips of her fingers of the left. "There ought to be somethin' at Ierne. You can shardin' find nearly everythin' there, and if there isn't a day spa, I'll eat my boots." Enka's not likely to snack on leather at this point. There's bound to be something for pampering the ladies. "Mmm, you'll find a good foster, I'm sure. Just take your time."

"Ah well, at least fostering'll mean more time for me and Ae'gus," Liandyn murmurs, a distinct purr to her voice. Insatiable. "And a day away sounds like just the ticket - been feeling cooped up here. Bored." She waves her hand, nails cutting the air. "Maybe I'll find some nice fabrics there and come back to a clothes-making spree. Make us both some lovely ensambles, maybe even something for the kids. Yes. Just the ticket - been so quiet here of late, not much call for Archipelago's services."

There's a sound from the goldrider. Maybe it's something like a stifled chuckle, but she is grinning rather amusedly. "There's that," she replies drolly. "More special time for yourselves without worryin' about a little one poppin' up at a bad time." There's a nod then, Enka leaning back in her chair even further and resting her hands along the arms. "And I need a change before I start spoutin' off records in my sleep. A day away will be nice."

"It's settled then," Liandyn nods, slapping one palm gently on the table before she pushes herself up, carefully so as not to unbalance Charity. "And speaking of my 'mate and babe, it's time I returned to them. This weather isn't going to let me eat, so I might as well find some other way to spend my time. Just hit me up when you can dig your way free of all the work, Enka, and we'll go have a day on the town. And if you need any help," adds the greenrider thoughtfully, "to speed up your freedom, let me know."

"You'd better watch what you're promisin'," Enka has that mischievous look again as she tilts her head to regard Liandyn, "or you might find yourself pretty mired in work too." Still, the offer is much appreciated, the gesture of a grateful smile graced at the greenrider before Enka pushes her own chair back. "I'd better get going too." she comments. "Work to do. Maybe I'll finish it, and we can go on that trip of ours even sooner." She leans forward. "Give Analyn and Ae'gus my best wishes."

"What can I say," Liandyn replies whimsically as she strides towards the exit, "ever since my Zusa found me, I just haven't been able to be idle. She's very efficient, and she's training me to be too. Part of efficiency is always finding something to do." The smile on the greenrider's face is just a little rueful as she pauses in the entrance, peering back over her shoulder at the Weyrwoman. "Still, a lazy day every now and then never hurt a soul, but it sure helped them. See you soon, m'dear. Don't work too hard." And with that parting shot, impishly delivered, the girl exits, stride brisk but cheerful.

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