====October 01, 2013
====Hannah, Nora
====Simple chatter against the background of the kitchens turns into something deeper than either Hannah or Nora possibly expected.

Who Hannah, Nora
What Simple chatter against the background of the kitchens turns into something deeper than either Hannah or Nora possibly expected.
When There is 1 turn 1 month and 3 days until the 12th pass.
Where Kitchens, Southern Weyr

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Kitchens
Renowned, the culinary prowress of Southern, and suitable her kitchens to the task. A broad and airy sweep of room, it cannot help the sweat-drenching heat — though hearths are cleverly set within the ground itself to maximize efficiency. Big copper pots gleam along long tables, cooks hustling to and fro to prepare the necessary meals. There is never a candlemark the kitchens are left unstaffed: even in the wee hours of the night, bakers can be seen shaping loaves and mixing biscuits. For those who miss meals, a sideboard brims with leftovers that are easily transformed into portable potables, complete with sweet herbal tea and a large wheel of a soft, white, crumbly cheese.
On the perch is Neptune.
Nora is here.
Obvious exits:
Caverns Stairs


-- On Pern --
It is evening
It is 8:33 PM where you are.
There is 1 turn 1 month and 3 days until the 12th pass.
It is Spring and 83 degrees. It is a bright, sunny day.




Nothing so glamorous as being in the kitchens long after the dinner rush has subsided; Hannah is tucked away, sitting on a stool with her feet caught on a lower rung. The counter top she's sitting at is barren, empty of such tender morsels as delicious delicacies, though she does have a steaming mug of klah tucked between her hands. She's watching the new head cook — a plump, rotund woman with greying hair and an obnoxiously soothing twang to her voice — discuss how she's planning to make tomorrow's breakfast delicacies. A healthy (more than healthy) dose of butter is being melted down and the scents of cooking sugar and bread and stuff wind through the rather serene scene. It's really like watching a cooking show. Hannah is enthralled.

Maybe it's not glamorous, but with the usual raucous noise of pans and cooks, seering and chopping, all absent, there's some special about the after-house kitchen, meditative. It must be late for Nora, at least tonight, because when she comes in, she may be someone unrecognizable. Her hair is down and wet and whatever she's wearing is utterly hidden by a generous robe, a draping green thing that does more to reveal how thin she is than accentuate anything resembling a curve. And she's wearing flats — who knew she even had them? But perhaps it's the expression — all wide-eyed like she's been caught indisposed — that is more notable as she sneaks around the corner into the warmth of the kitchen. Her smile is ready immediately, sweet and solicitous, poised to get away with her indiscretion (even though this robe is potentially more appropriate than her usual attire), when she sees Hannah. There's conspiring little laugh in her voice, "Late for that, isn't it?" The klah, indicated with the lift of a finger. But then, she heads for the teapot, so… there's probably an old saying about cookware that applies here.

Hannah's own attire is casual as well — not robe casual, but the junior is wearing fluffy slippers, has her hair woven into a loose braid, and seems to be content in a soft-fabric'd get up that looks entirely too much like pajamas. Spying Nora, she ducks her head briefly, her feet springing free to swing entirely too childlike as the assistant headwoman makes her way to the teapot. "Possibly, but I've a mind to be staying up late this eve." Lifting her gaze, pale brows tick upwards as expression puts to test the old saying about cookware. "And you? Also of a mind to stay up — Look at that. See how she just put an entire stick of butter in that." The teasing inflection falls into a hushed, incredulous whisper as the junior motions for the headwoman to see just what that head cook just did. "Did you see that? The rolls are going to be extra tasty tomorrow." And extra unhealthy.

"Oh?" she wonders of these late night plans, easily moving through the ritual of tea, filling the pot with an unabashed smile for the cook, in case she has any feelings about Nora taking the liberty of making her own drink. Thankfully, she and Hannah are at enough distance that the goldrider's butter comments are unlikely to be easily overheard by the older woman. But the teasing, the whisper, it has the assistant headwoman's smile growing sly with the shared joke. "Yulena was just mentioning that the other night. She seemed to think that the taste would be adversely affected." Nora's jury is still out on that, though. And while waiting for her water to boil, she closes the distance to lean a hip to the counter, her arms casually crossed over a middle that appears sunken beneath the folds of fabric. "I was hoping for an early night," she admits a little late, a sigh for the failure of her plans. "What are you staying up for?"

"Does she?" Hannah turns surprisingly awake green gaze upon the headwoman, kicking her feet again while twirling her mug. "On one hand, I think it does do something to the taste, but it's also addictive." Bringing the mug to her lips, the junior shrugs. "Sometimes, I have insomnia." It's a little bit of a hedge in terms of answering, though she considers Nora. "I think the long jumps have given me sleepless fits. So rather than flop around in bed, unable to sleep or waking from terrible fits of night terrors, I resort to klah and a sleepless night." Surprisingly candid; the response is stated quietly, but without emotional basis. "It'll make tomorrow drag on and on, but. Better than the alternative." Now it's her turn to query, "Why are you boiling tea if you'd intended to turn in early?"

"Something about the butter turning rancid," is all Nora can offer as an explanation. "I think she's just trying to process the idea of giving the kitchen up for good. If it happens." And even if the assistant headwoman doesn't know all that much about cooking, she can at least understand that sentiment. And the sleeplessness. Her lips purse thoughtfully, sympathetically, matching the softer tone that follows. "Do you still feel it, sometimes? Out of time?" But that line of questioning only sharpens Nora's attention, shaping harder inquiries on her brow. "You didn't come with everyone else, right?" That's the tale. And it's a question that supplants her troubles with an early night.

"We're bringing more in every day, but, there's never enough. Never enough." An eerie echo to the last clutch, Talicaniath's, when they were stealing Candidates from other parts of Pern. Hannah's brows draw inward in reflection, "It's hard letting go, but if they choose her, Impression won't ask more of her than she can give." Confidence underscores that statment that firms within husky tones. The head cook's propensity towards Paula Deen-esque recipes is dropped in favor of replying to Nora. "I did, but I didn't. I jumped fifty turns prior to the big jump." Attention is occupied by the mug of klah in her hands, "It's strange. Sometimes, even now, I wake up thinking that I am back home in Ista. That Dhiammarath is still recovering. That the enormity of the turns past isn't there, but then it is an echo of an echo of a life that could have been." She lifts her gaze, a pensive mien cast upon her expression. "Sometimes, I wake up and think it's all a dream. And other times I am awakened by a fear so great I can't understand it."

Candidates and butter are readily forgotten, Nora's eyes resting quietly on Hannah, watching the shifts of her expression. "What do you mean? Fifty turns before now or fifty turns before then? How…" But maybe 'how' is enough on its own. So her voice just trails off without finding any more precision. Instead, taking a deeper breath, she has her own admission. "The other night, I was talking about my father. And I forgot, for a moment." Forgot that everyone is long dead. Whatever emotions want to reveal themselves on her face, she masks them with a scratch at the corner of her opened mouth. And then she turns away to tend the tea. "And sometimes there's that feeling that it's all just a little… wrong." It's easier to say, perhaps, with her back to Hannah and with the steaming teapot to occupy her hands.

"Fifty turns before the comet. I Impressed in the middle of the Pass," Hannah, likewise, shares her thoughts without having to wrestle with the expression on the other woman's face — not that there's embarrassment, but that the thoughts are jumbled enough that staring into the empty space between them allows her to collect her thoughts. "Lanti, the senior of Ista at the time, came back to get me, drawing me forward to a greater purpose, or so I thought." A soft bark of laughter, harsh against the relative neutrality of her tone. "I forget all the time, and then I remember. And it's like it happens all over again. What's hard is — I never got to say good-bye. What was necessary at the time seems so foolish now. If I could have one more moment with my mother, I would give almost anything… for that." Finally, she sneaks a glance at the headwoman, brows furrowing. "It does, and then, it's harder because this time is so, so different." Another pause, then carefully asked, "Did you jump forward by yourself?"

Space to stare does make it easier somehow, a little privacy while handling these realities. And Nora also handles the tea, but remains there by the stove as it begins to steep. There are parts of Hannah's story to puzzle through, after all. "Just you? No bronzes or…" Other fighting dragons. She doesn't say it, but perhaps the implications are obvious enough. However, 'one more moment' resonates enough that it's visible in her slim shoulders, sinking under the weight of her robe and silence hangs in the kitchen. The curiosities of this time are an easier matter, and so as Hannah peeks, so does Nora a second later, her smile now caught in the act of their mutual hiding. "Quite different. But clearly they need us." Perhaps not just for the pass. She turns again, resting against her own counter now. "With my brother. We were never all that close before but…" Obviously it's a little different now. "At least we're here together."

"Just me," Hannah's self-doubt surfaces here, causing the silence to deepen to hide the deeper questions she's asked of herself. Dropping her eyes again, the klah holds the secrets of the world within its dark depths. Finally, as Nora turns back from her tea to share that smile, the goldrider has a slight one of her own. "Clearly," she confirms, neatly noncommittal in some aspect. "Such a change would bring anyone closer, I would think." It's more of a musing thought than spoken with any experience, but then her story already indicates a lack thereof. Attention falls to the mug between her hands, lifting it up to take a sip that indicates more of a comfort drink than not. "Whatever our roads were to get here, we are here now, anyway, right?"

"And it's not bad here," Nora can say, sounding really quite certain of it, even with the bone quarry found under their feet or the impending doom promising to fall from above. "Here in particular. Building something." That part, at least, is satisfying to her, enough so to make her smile an encouraging one. "So why… just you? Do you know?" It might sound, at least from just this conversation, that perhaps Hannah was brought ahead under somewhat less-than-frank circumstances. There's a bit of regret in the shape of her mouth, to have asked the question, but it's out now. And so she does give Hannah just a bit more privacy while she turns back to finish off the preparations of tea, getting her cup and saucer ready to be absconded with.

"No, it's not. Southern Weyr has yielded unexpected treasures, and I'm not talking about the bones and the mysteries," Hannah slants a smile towards Nora. Though she shrugs, the mask of neutrality firmly in place when asked a question she does not know. Finally, after a moment's pause, she vocalizes a slowly forming suspicion, "I don't know. Perhaps the reason that she thought wasn't the reason at all. She told me that they'd need us, the future folk. They'd need me and Dhiammarath. She's big, bigger than any other. Especially here, so maybe that was it. Lanti is a smart wom— was a smart woman." Letting go of her mug, she runs her fingers through the strands of moonlight-pale hair, accidentally causing her braid to unravel a little. "Or it could be that I am like so much flotsam, tossed about on life's whitecaps with no direction."

There might be another question in the tip of her head, some curiosity about the treasure, but acceptance too. And Nora opts not to press further of the woman who fights insomnia and night terrors and messes up her own hair unwittingly. Instead, it's a softer smile that forms as she approaches with her steaming mug and cradled saucer. "I doubt that." Being flotsam. "Maybe you're not adrift at all. Maybe, if you're not the one with a direction, then you're the anchor." Though, on finishing that statement, as she lifts her cup for a testing sip, Nora admit with a laugh, "I've never been on a ship." She she has no idea what she's talking about. But: "I don't think most people really know what their purpose is, in the grand scheme of things. I do think that we should probably be sleeping."

"What do I anchor?" Hannah wonders, tone quiet. "The weyr?" It's a rhetorical question, but Nora has offered quite a bit to think on; intention to rumminate on these thoughts clear in the shadow'd green of her eyes. Sliding off the stool, she gathers up her mug and cradles it close. Still enough klah to take away with her. It's a big mug. "I've been on a ship once. It was a daring adventure," this saucy statement comes with the flash of a smile. "I should get back and let you find sleep. I'll be about the rest of this night, anyway." A softer smile takes the place of what was once a brighter expression. "Sleep will come when it comes, but thank you. For the company. I suppose I am not alone in not knowing what the grand purpose is, eh?" With a look that sharpens her features, outlining the fatigue that brushes shadows beneath her eyes and pales the already fair skin, she reaches out to lightly touch Nora's upper arm, if allowed. If not, she'll hover there. "Thank you." So much said in those two words before the goldrider shuffles out of the kitchen, her fuzzy slippers bouncing gayly along.

"I might have to try it then," Nora says of the high seas, smile turning elfin and lively in response that saucy grin. At least it lightens the mood a bit, if only momentarily. "You're not alone at all. Or, if you're flotsam, you have a lot of company." The touch might surprise her a bit, but she slips her fingers free from the loop of her cup to cover Hannah's fair hand with her own. "Any time," she promises. "We should start a support group. We can meet in the late hours." When apparently they aren't sleeping anyway. Her smile spreads wide, complete with a flash of teeth. "Sleep well, when you find it." Her own progress from the kitchen is delayed as she looks for a little something to brighten up her tea before she heads back to her room to curl up with it.
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