Caught in a Web of Love (Notes)

Western Weyr - Weyrleader's Office
This appears to be one of the spare private rooms, hastily reworked into an office space. Instead of the usual bed, clothespress, table and chairs, there's a filing cabinet, a floor lamp, and…a table and chairs. The table holds a smaller desk lamp, a personal computer with connection cables spilling down the back, a dispatch radio, plus a scattering of files, papers, and writing materials. Beside the workspace is a smaller endtable, seated upon which is a klah percolator and half a dozen mugs. None of the three chairs match each other, or the tables, but they seem to be solidly made and in good repair.
This appears to be one of the spare private rooms, hastily reworked into an office space. Instead of the usual bed, clothespress, table and chairs, there's a filing cabinet, a floor lamp, and…a table and chairs. The table holds a smaller desk lamp, a personal computer with connection cables spilling down the back, a dispatch radio, plus a scattering of files, papers, and writing materials. Beside the workspace is a smaller endtable, seated upon which is a klah percolator and half a dozen mugs. None of the three chairs match each other, or the tables, but they seem to be solidly made and in good repair.

Caught red-handed indeed, it's no surprise that Kaliena isn't too keen to make the trek of shame across the bowls and up the stairs to the administration complex. The candidate looks fresh from her chores, smithing gloves still in hand though she's at least ditched the apron. She's not too dusty or grimy either, for once! Who knows what part she had to play in all this and outside the office she looks a touch guilty and definitely apprehensive the closer she gets to the office door. Before she lifts her hand to knock, Kaliena takes a slow, steadying breath, straightens her shoulders, lifts her chin and sets her jaw. Ila'den isn't that scary, right? Knuckles rap and then the door is opening and she's peeking in. "You wanted to see me, sir?" Oh-ho. Look at her using formality and politeness!

As soon as Kaliena knocks, Ila'den turns a lazy gaze onto the candidate and slowly rights himself in his chair. The aforementioned writing utensil is set aside on his desk, leathers protesting as the Weyrsecond rises to his full height and takes the necessary steps to place himself between Kali and his station. "Ila'den, if you wouldn't mind," he says, softly, just before pulling his guest chair back mere inches. "And I did want to see you. Have a seat, Kaliena." Without waiting for his "offer" to be obeyed, the former renegade is sliding back 'round to his chair and settling himself firmly in place, leaning forward with hands folded. "How has candidacy been treating you?" Because polite conversation is always the best opener to awkward confrontations.

If she had caught any of the previous balancing act Kaliena is wisely biting back her comments on it. Normally she would make some wise crack over it or anything really but not this time. Seemingly subdued, her blue eyes follow the Weyrsecond as he rises to his full height and then steps between her and his station. "Ila'den, then." She confirms with a brisk nod. The guest chair is given a wary look and the candidate shuffles forwards hesitantly, never quite taking her gaze from the bronzerider. "I would have come earlier but I had to finish with smithing first." Kaliena mumbles her excuse as she sits, hardly relaxed and those gloves she brought are clutched tighter as they rest in her lap. Offer has been obeyed and now the candidate is watching the Weyrsecond with barely concealed apprehension. She can sense what may be to come but is doing her best to appear calm about it. His question has her blinking and she's silent for a few heartbeats until her mind can play catchup. "Uh… well enough, I suppose. Been keeping me busy and I've been learning a few things." Yeah, like how not to piss off the rider who brings you to the jungle, to name one "lesson". And here she was just expecting him to hand down the punishment and be done with it! "Can't complain, really." She adds with a small shrug.

Ila'den observes the candidate's behavior with a very keen eye, taking in every nervous gesture until he finds himself laughing softly. "You're not in trouble, Kaliena. Relax. If anybody is going to punish you, that will be Zi'on." Said with a /wicked/ smile, because Ila is profoundly lacking in tact, and then brushed to the side as Ila digs out a bit of folded up paper from his paper. "/Actually/, the incident between you and Kimmila was just an excuse to get you here because I figured you wouldn't come if I told you the /real/ reason why I wanted you sitting in front of me." That letter is unfolded and slid slowly across the table so that Kaliena can choose what to do with the words of love at her own leisure. Ila, meanwhile, will stare at her with one brow up, a silent question before he voices it with, "I caught you delivering this to me. Do you care to explain what it is?"

Kaliena relaxes just a fraction at Ila'den's laughter, a subtle drop of her shoulders and some of the tension from her frame. At his wicked smile though, she only smirks and quirks a brow up skeptically. "If you say so…" she drawls and it's obvious then that she doesn't seem too concerned over a "punishment" from the Weyrleader at all. Maybe she should be. Right now though, she's more concerned over whatever game the Weyrsecond is up too. Then the candidate is frowning, confused by the news that his initial reason for bringing her here was simply a ruse. Before her temper can flare though, he's laying that letter down on the desk and slides it over to her. Oh crap. Just from the way her eyes widen a little and the way her expression falls, the words 'guilty' may as well be written above her. "It's a letter." Kaliena remarks bluntly and sarcastically before she can catch herself then and flinching, she grimaces. She doesn't reach for the letter, but she does seem to shrink /away/ from the desk. Caught! Now what? Finally, her eyes dart up to Ila'den and there's a moment then that the girl will only stare, frowning, as if weighing the options. In the end, she sighs and gruffly mutters. "I ain't behind it, not the words. Those aren't mine. I'm just the messenger…"

What a reaction! Ila'den watches, waits, and then noticeably relaxes himself when Kaliena admits that she's merely the messenger of such awkward prose. "I was hoping it wasn't you. It'd make sitting around Zi'on nigh near impossible." THERE WOULD BE MALE RIVALRY (and the possible accosting of good leather pants). The Weyrsecond rubs the bridge of his nose, scratches at the stubble along his jaw, and then brings both hands behind his neck as he reclines once more in his chair. Those grey hues never once leave the candidate, though his relief is quick to turn into amusement as brows jump up once more. "Well then, if you're as much a victim as I am, perhaps we should join forces. Who is putting you up to delivering these ridiculous things?" When Kali doesn't touch the letter, Ila does again, with a look of profound distaste. He's clearly unimpressed and unflattered by the script that he drags back towards himself for a quick eyeballing. "It's not Iris, and I'm at a loss unless…" an uncomfortable pause. "It's not Keelyra, is it?"

Kaliena snorts softly when Ila'den admits he's glad it wasn't her behind the written content. "Wouldn't you just /tell/ him?" she asks, smirk still in place. Clearly, the concept of male rivalry and the fact there are just some things you /don't/ just toss at someone goes right over her head. Her frown settles again as he reclines, never glancing away though occasionally she'll give a darting look to the letter. While the Weyrsecond is relaxed enough to recline, Kaliena still sits straight in her chair and right on the edge of it. What, does she think she has a chance if she were to try and bolt? At his offer, her features instantly turn wary and suspicious, brows knitting together into a heavy frown as she peers over the desk at him. That'd be a no, for those not familiar with Kali-speak. "No one is 'putting me up to' anything," she remarks snidely, going quiet when Ila'den drags the offending letter back towards himself. With the uncomfortable pause, the girl fidgets a little, gaze darting away. So she /does/ know something. "Keelyra?" Kaliena echoes back and she shakes her head, shoulders shrugging. "Nope. It ain't her that's for sure." Another uncomfortable pause and really now she's just being difficult. She /could/ just blurt it all, but now she's just wanting to see how far she can lure the Weyrsecond into guessing.

Of course it was bound to happen. Right in the middle of all of this, the weyrleader comes back from wherever he's been with a bundle of papers under his arm. Probably off at some other weyr, talking about weyry things. Or maybe he's been off to bother Th'ero. At any rate, he doesn't notice who is sitting in front of Ila'den at first, so all that's given is a "Hey, Ila" in terms of greeting. Then he stops, blinks and moves over to look Kaliena in the face. "And Kali… What's this, then?" He looks between the two of them for some sort of explanation. "You don't have to punish her. That's the weyrlingmaster's job." Or Zi'on's job, as the case may be.

Kaliena is evil. The look Ila'den levels her with says just that, muted by his laughter. "Tell him? No. Zi'on is happy with you, and anyway, if I ruined your romance he'd chase Iris and I'd have to kill him. I'd have merely given this back to you, and told you to focus on him." It's all said with some kind of affection, as if the bronzerider is a lot more fond of the Weyrleader than he will ever admit out loud. Zi tends to have that kind of affect on people, doesn't he? Kali's body language gives her away, and there's a sigh from the Weyrsecond as he rolls his shoulders back, leans forward, refolds his letter, and tucks it away into a pocket. "Fine. I can admire that you want to protect whoever it is, though that /does/ narrow the list considerably. You don't seem like the type who accepts very many people as friends." It's said with a half-smile, as if annoyed by her loyalty, but appreciative of the effort. Now his fingers are drumming on the desktop moments before Zi'on bursts in and RAINS ALL OVER HIS PARADE. The greeting is returned with, "Hey, Zi," and then laughter as he… pause. /Horror/. Those grey hues narrow on the Weyrleader, and Ila'den leans forward that much /more/. "It was you, wasn't it?" All accusations now. THE PUZZLE PIECES SEEM TO FIT, anyway.

Yes, Kaliena is evil and probably knows it to a degree. She is no meek little girl, that's for certain! "Uh-huh," she huffs, giving Ila'den a long and lingering look for his reply, though her brows arc up at the threat. Rather then look alarmed, the candidate grins vaguely. "Well, Iris is safe and you won't have to kill no one. I ain't behind those mushy words. Not my style." Obviously. Her, writing sappy lovey dovey stuff? So doesn't mesh with her personality. That should have been a hint to the Weyrsecond. At the mention of protecting, Kaliena snorts and now she leans back a little in her seat, head tilting a little to the side as Ila'den tucks the letter away and then gives his half-smile and makes his assumptions known. "I'm /sure/ you can figure it out on your own." She taunts, trying not to look too smug. Should she be taunting him? Probably not. But now that she's not feeling so threatened… she's showing her true colors. "And yeah, what gave that away?" Kaliena asks, regarding his little bit about her and her lack of very many friends. "Hard to trust most folk." She adds almost as an afterthought and shrugs her shoulders to keep the fake appearance of calm alive. That didn't sting, nope! Enter Zi'on and suddenly Kaliena is turning her head sharply towards him with a look that says 'what're you doing here?' as clear as day. "Zi'on," she greets with a brisk nod and while Ila'den puts the puzzle pieces together or tries to, she uses the distraction that'll cause to subtly shift one of her hands for the Weyrsecond to see. Masked half by the gloves and where she hopes it's hidden from Zi'ons view, she's /pointing/ at the Weyrleader. Psst. Hey, there's your guy. What was that about loyalty? All the while she plays coy and innocent, glancing between both bronzeriders with feigned polite interest.

Zi'on peers between the two of them, giving Kaliena a look like 'I work here!" Then moves over to sit at his desk. He sets the papers down casually, then starts looking over some things in an appointment book. This way he looks busy. And acts naturally. When Ila'den accuses him, Zi'on tilts his head and raises a brow at him. "Me? What did I do? I didn't fart, if that's what you're asking about." Though Zi'on knows exactly what Ila'den is asking about. He tries to focus in on his desk for a moment. He doesn't see Kaliena basically giving him away. Some accomplice she was! At least Enka would have played innocent a little while longer or something. But right now the weyrleader is ignoring them both, trying not to melt under accusatory eyes.

"Not everybody was meant to be trusted." Ila'den says this under his breath, a comment meant for Kaliena alone, as if to remove the hurt by absently assuring her that he, too, is sorely lacking in friends. It's not easy transitioning from renegade to dragonrider! Alas! All of Ila'den's suspicions are being confirmed when Kaliena is giving away Zi'on, and the Weyrsecond recoils as if very strongly /opposed/ to this revelations. "It was you all along. You know /damn well/ what I mean." Oh, the letter comes out, Ila'den wiggles the paper unfolded, and reads a line, "'Your eyes, sparkling like a field of snow in the moonlight.' Only you could have invented this trash." But for all of his faux anger, Ila'den is having a very hard time fighting the smile that's tugging at his lips. It's why he actually has to duck behind a hand as if in thought or keeping his insides from spilling over in disgust. "You know this means war, Zi'on." Muffled, and less threatening than it could be if mouths weren't hidden away beneath hands.

Kaliena is momentarily distracted as Zi'on moves off to his desk, leaving her to her fate with the Weyrsecond. She grimaces for the Weyrleader's remark, trying really hard not to roll her eyes since, really, she should expect a reply like that. Ila'den's private comment has her side-glancing and focusing sharply back on him. "Exactly," she agrees in an equally low tone. The candidate has absolutely zero knowledge on his past, likely assuming he said it to be reassuring or some other motive that her suspicious mind is cooking up. Kaliena hides her smug satisfaction as best she can when Ila'den all but recoils when her little pointing trick works. Sorry, Zi'on! What she wasn't expecting was the Weyrsecond to actually read a line and that's when the girl's face wrinkles and she pulls quite the disgusted look. "Shells, that's awful," she drawls. "Defintiely not /my/ work. Now I regret delivering 'em at all. Should've been burned." Faux anger or not, Kaliena leans forwards a little, blue eyes darting between Weyrsecond and Weyrleader now. Surely she doesn't think Ila'den is actually, truly, mad? Hard to say. But the girl does seem to be anticipating something, either Zi'on's reaction or if she has to brace in preparation to defend herself should the bronzerider turn on /her/ too.

Zi'on, having grown up at the weyr, learned to trust dragonriders and… other weyrbrats. Sort of. He certainly wasn't as jaded as Ila or Kaliena are. Which may explain his rather carefree attitude about things like pranks. The weyrleader furrows a brow at Ila'den, all set and ready to refute the claims that he's had something to do with this silliness the weyrsecond was referring to. Then Ila starts reading the letter aloud. And Zi'on can't hold it in anymore. "AHHAHAHAHA! You don't like that? That's one of my better love-letters I thought. Wait, did you think Kaliena was the one writing them? HAHAHA!" Zi'on laughs even harder at the notion of Kaliena writing a letter like that. He nearly falls off his chair then, holding onto the desk to stay upright. After a minute or two he's able to catch his breath enough to speak again. "If it makes you feel better I wasn't the one who actually wrote them. It was Enka. And I think she embellished them a bit." He grins to Kaliena then. "I wrote that bit about your eyes actually." If one spent time reading the letters carefully, they'd probably notice plenty of bits that describe the candidate better than they describe Ila'den anyways.

All that Ila'den manages is, "/Damn it, Zi/," before he loses his composure as well. The Weyrleader's laughter makes all of Ila'den's hard-won 'calm' dissolve until he's near in tears laughing himself. The letter that'd been so neatly folded before is crumpled up in a fist, and then Ila'den is attempting to catch his breath as he remarks, "/And/ Enka? Shards, you are both terrible writers." A pause, and then, "Well I figured if Kaliena wasn't delivering it for herself, she at least knew /who/ wanted it delivered." And now the candidate is getting a smile, as Ila'den regards her through amused grey eyes. "Now you know to read them first, and you can do us both a favor by burning them if they're so brazenly awful." The crumpled bits of paper are tossed at Zi'on, and then the Weyrsecond is waggling his brows. "There you go, Zi. Keep it. Just in case you had somebody real special in mind that you wanted to deliver that to this time."

Kaliena can only sit in her chair and look absolutely dumbfounded when both Zi'on and Ila'den burst out into laughter, giving them both looks as if they've gone mad. Well, mad in her eyes anyways. So… is she in trouble? When the Weyrleader grins at her and admits to that one line being about her, the girl bristles visibly, hands clenching the gloves in her lap so tightly it's no wonder she doesn't shred them to pieces. "You /didn't/," she hisses at him, eyes narrowing before darting to the Weyrsecond when he smiles at her next. "Then can I have the letters?" Kaliena almost growls, one hand freeing itself from it's death grip on the gloves to lift up. The candidate looks well prepared to go burn the evidence but instead the crumpled paper is sent to Zi'on instead. Hey! Snorting, she resorts to crossing her arms over her chest now, eyeing both riders with a level glare. "So am I in trouble or not?" she asks bluntly, one brow quirking up. "Or can I go?" Because now this is just getting weird for her, all the laughter and not at all what she had been expecting! That should be her next lesson: a sense of humor.

Zi'on slaps the desk a few times after Ila'den swear at him. "Ooh… that's rich." He says while he struggles to catch his breath. "Yep… I had Enka pen them. Figured her handwriting would look more girlie and be less known to you. Of course Kaliena knew. Otherwise I'd have to find some sort of proxy. And things get complicated when you involve more than two other people." Zi'on would know. The bronzer laughs more as Ila'den tosses the paper at him. He picks it up and smooths it out a bit. "Actually I've written plenty of these letters before. I bet Iris still has a few of the ones I sent her." Oh yes, he went there. Probably not the smartest of moves, considering the other two people in the room. He grins to Kaliena when she bristles about him writing some bits of the letters about her. "I did. I've got the copies I wrote someplace if you want them. You're not in trouble. Ila doesn't get to punish you. But you can't leave until I get a kiss." That's right, if she wants his protection she has to earn in! And if she's not going to laugh he'll get his compensation some other way.

Paper is not heavy enough. Ila'den wields a pen, and chucks it right at the Weyrleader (though low, so as to avoid any stabbing-of-the-eye mishaps). "I will burn every single one," Ila'den vows, though he doesn't bother trying to stop the chuckle that escapes him after. There is a silent look between Kaliena and Zi'on, and then the Weyrsecond is getting to his feet with a clearing of his throat. "Well now, I can see some rules are about to be broken and I'm going to leave so that I don't have to admit to seeing it happen." Though, /not really/. Ila'den gives another smile to Kaliena, and on his way around the table, he lowers himself just enough to whisper, "Give him hell, kid," before raising those brows at Zi. "If punishment is going to be a spanking, I will hunt you down if it happens over my desk." Though the other bronzerider already /said/ Kali wasn't in trouble. STILL. KISSING ZI IS LIKE PUNISHMENT ENOUGH. With a wave for both of them, Ila'den is sneaking his way out of the door and down the stairs of the complex. It's the polite thing to do, after all.

Kaliena makes some sort of strangled sound when Zi'on throws her name in there, not that it should be any surprise now to Ila'den. Whatever it was she was going to say, likely some crude cursing, the candidate bites it back and settles for just shooting another glare at the Weyrleader. She /heard/ that little remark of his too about Iris and how her "punishment" is the payment of a kiss for her freedom and she scoffs, turning her head away. No, not happening! "Then I guess we're stuck here, aren't we?" she huffs and "we" must have included Ila'den because she's suddenly giving the Weyrsecond an almost disbelieving look. Where is he going now? "I ain't going to be breaking no rules!" Kaliena protests… then clues in and groans, hands coming up to cover her face. Oh for Faranth's sake this isn't happening. So she misses his smile but not his whispered comment. That at least has her lifting her face up enough to peer at him and then a ghost of a grin and some of her mischievous streak comes into play. "Plan to." She murmurs back gruffly. All this AWKWARD is punishment for the girl and with a brisk nod to Ila'den as he sneaks his way out, Kaliena is pushing herself to her feet and stalking right to Zi'on's desk. "If you even so much as care a bit for me, you'll /burn/ those letters and every copy you ever made!" she demands, even going as far as to point a finger at him, scowling and trying to be threatening. "I played my roll, got caught and you had your laugh. Deal?" It's all in Zi'on's side of the court now and depending on how the Weyrleader handles things, he'll either get his wish or Kaliena will storm out from the offices. Could go either way!

Zi'on chuckles when Ila'den throws the pen, shielding himself with his hands. "Heh. It's no skin off my nose what you do with them." If Iris even has any of them anymore. "There won't be any rules broken. It's not against the rules for candidates to kiss people. Just no sex. And we have been good in that regard." Good as in not breaking the rule. Not as in good with not having sex. Zi'on grins to Ila'den on his way out. "Well, I guess I ought to tell you then, that your desk is old news." As in it's been 'broken in'. Zi'on is likely joking though, trying to get a rise out of Ila'den. Zi'on blinks a bit as Kaliena tells him to burn all the letters. "Why? They're just silly letters." He frowns at her, then shrugs. "Well, if you insist. I'll get rid of them." Sigh. Whipped. Hopefully it'll at least earn him a kiss though. "Anyways, that all went pretty well, I think. It was pretty funny, at least."

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