A New Decree

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 very early at Western. Breakfast is just starting to be set up, and other than the drudges and weyrbrats moving in and out of the cavern, there's only one lone figure sitting at a table. He's leaned over his mug of klah with a pitcher out in front of himself. There's papers out on the table as well, but he doesn't seem to be paying them any mind, mostly just staring off into space. Yes, it's Zi'on of course, looking freshly rolled out of bed, even if he is dressed. The fact that he's not neat and clean and ready to go just means the bronzer is up early for something that's probably not weyr-related.

Mornings like Rou'x. Normally, anyway. She looks a little rough this morning but is dressed for work anyway, in black leathers and a white shirt, with her boots laced up to her knees. The brownrider gravitates towards the lonely figure of the Weyrleader because he has /klah/, slipping wordlessly into a seat beside him and reaching out for the pitcher to pour herself a mug. "Mornin'," she grunts after her first sip, voice still husky from sleep.

Mornings never like Zi'on. The bronzer is notorious for being a night owl, sleeping in, and looking horrible when he has to get up at any decent hour. Today though he's not looking that tired, just not altogether… there. "Mornin…" He says wistfully to the brownrider. An automatic response. It takes him a while, but finally he clue in to who is sitting across from him. "Rou. Hi." He takes a long sip of his klah. "How's things going? How far along are you?"

"Gone four months." And looking like a /house/. Rou'x feels as huge as she looks, with her midsection carrying double its typical weight. There's no mistaking her pregnancy now, as she looks like she's starting to look like she's swallowed a beachball. "You ok, sir? Get some sugar in y' klah, it'll help with wakin' you up." She reaches out for a nearby bowl, pushing the sweet stuff towards the Weyrleader.

"Four months." Zi'on whistles. "Seems like yesterday you guys were graduating." The bronzer is slowly starting to look himself again from the couple of sevendays he spent without Kiena. He shakes his head. "No sweetener in my klah. Trying to cut down a little. Instead I'll get a pastry later. I'm just preoccupied." He scratches his chin a bit. "When did you first suspect you might be pregnant? Er, sorry. Maybe that's a really personal question." Like if she missed a cycle or something. "Kiena's just been sick a lot lately. Stomach thing. So, I'm a little worried about her."

Rou'x frowns down into her mug, curling both hands around it. "I dunno… I mean, I din't /want/ it, so I were just chalkin' the signs up t'somethin' else… but I guess I knew, deep down somewhere, that I were from the beginnin'. From real early on. I just… it's not what I'm meant t'be doin' with my life, y'know?" She shrugs, looking stonily into her cooling klah. "Has she said summat to you about maybe bein' up the duff? She might know, without gettin' a test done."

Zi'on pouts a bit and nods to Rou. "Well, raising kids at the weyr isn't like raising them at the hold. They're expected to be fostered off and all. At least you and Keely can help each other out. And Ir'e seems pretty responsible. Though I don't know his sentiment on kids." He takes a long sip of his klah. "Personally, when Enka first got pregnant with Ezio I didn't like it much either. I didn't want kids that soon. And I didn't think I'd be a good father. But I love my two boys and it's hard to imagine them not being around. Even if they are fostered off and I don't see them everyday." THe bronzer blinks then. "Eh? Up the duff? I'm going to assume you mean pregnant. No she hasn't mentioned. She would never suggest it even if she thought that. But I don't think she does. But… I think she might be. She's got what seems to be like morning sickness or whatever. I guess I'm not sure what to do. Or how to tell her that's what I think. Maybe I can issue mandatory physicals or something…"

Rou'x reaches out to give Zi'on's hand a quick, if somewhat rough, squeeze. It's meant to be comforting, of course! "I got an idea for how we can find out, Zi'on, yeah? Been wantin' t' track you down n' talk about it for a day or so now, actually, but this might all tie in nice." Talking about her /own/ baby bump is happily diverted as she goes into work-mode - because that's where Rou'x is happiest. That's where she /wants/ to be. "I been thinkin', we're gonna need t'know who's good for leading n' stuff while I'm, er, indisposed, right? What d'you reckon if we start takin' turns of lettin' Archipelago's riders lead for a day, or a sevenday? Let them all get a taste of it, n' see how they do, if they like it n' stuff like that, n' they all hafta have physicals the day before they're leadin'."

Zi'on just looks at Rou sadly when she squeezes his hand. He appreciates the sentiment though. It's somewhat comforting to talk about this with -anyone-. Normally he talks about things with Kiena, but obviously in this case he can't. "Eh? Why not just let A'rwn take back the helm for a little while? I don't mind you doing it, but I don't think Kiena would volunteer. And it's not the sort of thing you should force everyone to participate in. Some people can't handle the stress and wouldn't be very good at it." And those would be the days with actual emergencies, of course. "Kiena is busy with her smithing and just being a rider… I dunno. I guess you can ask. But maybe we make the physicals mandatory for everyone. Might be a good time anyways. We can say… some of the people from the ships caught in the storm have some sort of disease." He rubs his chin, getting a sly look on his face. "The question is, how do we come up with a disease that doesn't have any outward symptoms. Because you know a few people will automatically start having them as soon as they find out about them."

"Aw shit, Zi, y'can't say there's a /disease/. That'll start t' freak people out, won't it?" Rou'x blinks at him over the rim of her klah mug, then settles back into her chair with a hand resting on her huge tummy. "What about we just say it's mandatory 'cos folks've gotta be healthy? Mebbe say they've all gotta go in n' get checked up, riders n' weyrfolk alike, t'make it less… selective? I heard in the market that there's a flu or somethin' at one've the Holds, mebbe you say we're checkin' everyone out t'make sure they're not gonna get sick? Or t'do that thing against gettin' sick… innocu-summat?"

Zi'on laughs. "You're no fun Rou. It's more fun if people are worried. And they feel better when they find out they ain't got it. Though I guess maybe I shouldn't add to people's stress either." He grins. "Fine fine. You go ahead and give the order. There's no rush though. You'd better do it in shifts, actually. I don't want a bunch of angry healers showing up at my office. So we'll have to let them know that the search and rescue wing will be coming down in batches for physicals. And to check at least Kiena for pregnancy. I don't know if that's like a standard test or not…" He sighs then. "If she is, I hope she takes the news well…"

Rou'x grins conspiratorially. "I'll get 'em down there, n' make it mandatory for /all/ the girls t'get checked out for… /girly/ stuff." She finishes off her klah, nudging the mug across the tabletop. "We're all meetin' up in a bit anyways, so I'll stop by the Healers first n' inform them, set up a roster or summat. Whatever'll work." Sighing, she settles both her hands on her belly, shaking her head. "I hope she ain't if she don't wanna be, t'be honest, sir. More'n half the time I'm wonderin' whether bein' friends wi' Ir'e is worth puttin' myself through this shit… n' I've got months more t' deal with it." She pushes herself up to her feet, looking down at the Weyrleader. "D'you want her to go in first, or last?"

Zi'on chuckles. "No word to anyone else about this little scheme of ours, if you don't mind. I don't want people thinking we're just being a pain for the fun of it. Though I might tell Enka." Zi'on's partner in crime. He nods to her. "Fair enough." He frowns a bit then. "Ir'e is the one that wanted you to keep it? Personally, I want a family with Kiena. She knows this. But we said we were going to wait until she was older. She's only eighteen for crying out loud… But we're at least a little more settled than you and Ir'e, I guess." Kiena wouldn't be on her own, and Zi'on has child-rearing experience and all. He finishes off his klah, then pushes himself to his feet. "I'll go in first, I suppose."

"Lead the way, oh glorious Weyrleader." Rou'x winks at Zi'on, giving him a shoulder-bump. Well… shoulder-to-/something/, since he towers over her. "I'm doin' this just f' Ir'e, y'know. He wantsta be a dad. I'm not a mum, Zi'on, n' I don't reckon I'll ever be one. But if he wants a tot… well, I'm brewin' one up for him n' it's a damned nuisance, but there ain't nothin' I can do about it now." She sighs and frowns, following the bronzerider's lead until it comes time for them to part. "I'll go inform the Healers then sort out the wing, n' I'll meet up with ya later? Kiena'll be in the first batch I send in there." Rou'x gives Zi'on a jaunty salute, then turns to march towards the infirmary.

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