==== February 11th, 2014
==== Cha'el, Prineline, A'dan
==== Cha'el, Prineline and A'dan run into each other in the Caverns.

Who Cha'el, Prineline, A'dan
What Cha'el, Prineline and A'dan run into each other in the Caverns.
When It is midmorning of the tenth day of the first month of the first turn of the 12th pass.
Where Igen Weyr

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Living Cavern
Dim light from hanging glow-globes cannot fully camouflage the ravages of time and neglect on Igen's busy living caverns, though hints of its former glory peek through in the decorative cuts to the cave's natural limestone and the high quality of dusty, tatty-ended tapestries. Here and there, skybroom tables — stained dark by wood finish and a decade of grime — sit in loose groups, flanked by wicker chairs with pointy, broken rattan that pokes out to invariably find unprotected skin. The seemingly randomly placed furniture, however, at closer inspection, forms a sort of cross-shape of negative space. At the northernmost walls and nooks of the caverns, a long buffet table with tarnished lazy susans hosts an array of finger-foods and pitchers for the interested, refilled occasionally by drudges that shuffle in from the curtained entrance to the south, beyond which lies the kitchens. To the east is a large arch leading outside and, across from that, to the west, a set of rattling doors that open to reveal the tunnels and stairs of the inner caverns themselves.

It is the seventieth day of Winter and 36 degrees. It is a bright, sunny day.

With the breakfast rush over and most off about duties and drills and whatnot, there is one that yet still lingers at a table set off in a corner. One that a person might expect not to be dressed in a thick-knit white fisherman's rib type sweater and denim blue cotton pants. One that should surely be attending aforementioned drills. But no, Cha'el is instead comfortably ensconced in his chair, a mug of klah at hand and some or other reading material in the other.

Prineline is bundled and struggling. Both hands are pawing at the dust-speckled scarf of thick blue wool as the be-booted and flailing Headwoman makes a less than elegant entrance. Wheezing, elbows akimbo, Prineline manages to escape the lumpy, strangling winter accompaniment with her windpipe intact. Having caused the bulk of those remaining in the caverns to stop what they're doing to stare in amusement or horror-or more accurately both-Prineline throws the offending scarf at the nearest chair (conveniently across from Cha'el) and sweeps the Cavern with her patented 'Fear-Inducing-Bowel-Loosening-I-Eat-Babies' (tm) glare before prowling over to the klah, one hand picking away the small blue fuzzy balls now attached to the entirety of her upper body as she mutters to herself.

Prineline mutters, "… … … … … … … … … they … let their … … strangle potential … I'm … … strangle the … whelp that … … this. No good … … Weavers … … goods?! … What … …" to herself.

Go to drills? It's mid-morning! Near to it. Okay, it's early, but the weyrlings are young yet and spend most of their time as apprentice butchers and drudges instead of riders. So A'dan's done early. He pauses at the entrance to the Caverns, stamping his boots. For heat? To knock off the grit? Ever-scanning eyes spot Prineline wrestling with her scarf and he makes a beeline to her -he was here for food- but business first. Bootheels ring on the stone as he crosses the Cavern. A'dan pauses to crisply salute the Weyrsecond. He then pivots to Prineline, a hard look in his light eyes, "Headwoman, a moment."

Deep into reading the letter in his hand, Cha'el doesn't notice any comings or goings. That is until a scarf lands over the back of the chair across from him and flops its tail end into his klah. Attention jerks upward, blue eyes narrowed and the letter is quickly placed facedown as the perpetrator, the one with the 'Fear-Inducing-Bowel-Loosening-I-Eat-Babies' (tm) glare is given a browlifted pause of attention. Just as he picks his letter up again, there's A'dan, the gruff bugger barreling straight toward the Headwoman. Oh, this should be interesting says the smirk that slips to beard-framed lips and with quick precision the letter is folded and tucked into a pocket beneath his sweater. If he had popcorn, the Weyrsecond would be reaching for it.

No, no. Don't you see? That ferocious, 'I-Will-Rip-Out-Your-Eyeballs-With-A-Melonballer' (tm) was supposed to keep people away from her. As she is about to settle herself and her klah in the comfortable-looking chair near the fire and the Weyrsecond, the Headwoman pauses in her tyrannical mumbling to give A'dan a look. The look does lose a bit of its potency however when Prineline takes in the stance and intensity of the rider. She squares her shoulders, gaze going from annoyed to sharply observant as she clears her throat. "Bronzerider, how can I help you?" From the corner of her eye she notes the scarf-in-klah situation and seems unperturbed. Clearly, the scarf had it coming, and Cha'el probably did too.

"Two things." His eyes flick to Cha'el, the trailing end of the scarf in his klah, up and back to the Headwoman's face. He straightens under that look with an answering tightening of lips and a cant of head. I'm-On-To-You-Sister, says his look. He lowers his voice, dry rasp clipped.

A'dan mutters, "… Warming … for … … … … are … We … a … … … two … ago. … … … getting … … they …" to Prineline.

With one ear on the conversation, despite only being able to pick up a couple of words here and there, Cha'el plucks the scarf's end from his klah, drops it dripping onto the table and lifts his mug. Apparently scarf flavored klah doesn't bother him. Leaning back in his chair, an arm folded across his stomach and long legs stretched out in front of him beneath the table, he openly watches the little spectacle unfolding. His bet is on the Headwoman if anyone was wondering.

Business stance turns from attentive to prickly in a matter of seconds as the mutter is muttered. Though the Headwoman has half a mind to raise her voice so the Weyrsecond can weigh in, she doesn't. Under normal circumstances, she might think Cha'el would back her up, maybe, sometimes. But since she just flavored his klah with wool and grit, she decides to keep the decibels down.

Prineline mutters, "… … is … … of … list, A'dan, … can leave … … others. I … … … you've … … the … is … and … means … … as … … … … swaddle your whining … I … … things to do. … … … … to shelter … … of … will-die-if-not-helped … … … these people … even … beds. … … … … … … The … … … here … they … here, … … … … creative … … do. Honestly, … … … head … of … … once and a … … … … severity … … situation … … …" to A'dan.

A'dan's posture shifts, weight going to his toes. "I need two-dozen and-" the man growls, cutting off. His lips flatten.

A'dan mutters, "… … … haven't … once. They're … … … need … … need them, to be harder. … … … … … … … harder and faster than any … As you … pointed … … are … … … … … die … you safe. … … 'whining weyrlings' will … … their stead. … … … … … …" to Prineline.

A'dan has ever been a bad-news-before-good-news sort of fellow and he considers issuing his second item, but settles on a flatly delivered, "Figure it out." He looks at the Weyrsecond, squares up and salutes, "Weyrsecond." Pivoting on his heel he heads towards the tables laden with food. He did come here to eat.

Prineline is now thoroughly annoyed. Again. Plopping down across from Cha'el, Prineline levels a cross look at the wall while sipping at her klah. She notes the sodden scarf and unceremoniously pushes it to the floor with a sniff. "You delegate!" She hisses after A'dan, though as far as comebacks go it's… lacking. A lot. She scrunches further into her chair and starts rummaging in her apron. There has to be some klah-sprucing alcohol in here somewhere. "Weyrsecond," she finally offers to Cha'el in a perfect, snide interpretation of A'dan though she makes it up with a slight smile. "Flavorful klah?" What with the blue fuzz that may be skimming its top.

While he's still very much eavesdropping on what appears to be a tongue lashing being leveled at A'dan, Cha'el once again extracts the letter he'd been reading earlier, along with a stylus and turning the finely woven linen paper over, quickly pens a reply with an odd smile tilting the corners of his mouth. At a flick of fingers, the bronze firelizard that had been hovering on a perch nearby, drops to the table and dutifully holds out a leg. With the letter rolled and attached, the brownrider murmurs a few words to the creature and sends it on its way just in time to catch that salute coming from the Weyr's newly appointed Assistant Weyrlingmaster. Knotless and dressed casually, the salute he ticks off in return is casual at best. With the bronzerider moved off, the Weyrsecond glances over to Prineline and hikes a brow. "I think your scarf drowned," he drawls pushing to his feet, "and the blue stuff tastes like berries." Lies!

A'dan stalks back and forth along the sideboard, putting food on his plate. He snags a drudge by the elbow and murmurs to him. The drudge nods and looks over at Prineline, eyes wide, then sets off towards the kitchens. The rush is over and the bronzerider finds a table well away from people so that he can eat his sparse meal in relative peace.

Prineline eyes the small puddle of deflated wool with a shrug. "Had it coming, and yes, I comissioned the berry-flavored variety." With eyes still boring holes in the back of A'dan's head, the Headwoman manages to release some of her angst when she recovers a tiny vial of whiskey and immediately plunks it into the half full and cooling klah. Things are looking up. Until she spots A'dan talking to one of HER drudges and the eyes start narrowing again. It's alright. A'dan will get his… and it won't be heated pads either.

Taking up a leather thong with a key attached to it that had been lying on the table, Cha'el slips it over his head then tucks it beneath his sweater and whatever else he's wearing under it. A crooked grin greets the Headwoman's comment about the blue balls of fuzz floating in the dregs of his klah. "Don't say that too loudly. Just now everyone will be wanting berry flavored scarves. It could become a new thing." That having been said, the Weyrsecond starts to move away but pauses and turns back to the Prineline, "And Sikorth says to thank you for the extra starch in my linen. He's satisfied with the corners on my bed." He's kidding right? Maybe. Probably going by the wink sent to her. And then, with hands shoved into pockets, he heads off whistling a merry tune. Someone's in a good mood today. The tune breaks off momentarily as he passes A'dan's table. "Pissing a woman off is never a good idea. Pissing one off that holds your food, laundry and basic creature comforts in her hands? Suicidal, mate." Advice delivered the brownrider is striding out of the living caverns and soon gone from sight.

"Mind your own knittin' Weyrsecond," A'dan deadpans. The drudge reappears in short order, a plate held in sweaty palms. He's clearly not innoculated against Prineline's Gaze of Doom (tm). He settles the plate in front of the Headwoman, flatware rattling as he does. He clears his throat and says, shakily, "I'm supposed to put sugar on it." The 'it' is a slice of winter-cake, the kind made in the depths of the cold season with dried, withered things best put to use in a sticky, dense cake that -most importantly- is soaked in booze. At his table A'dan palms his face. He sits back, growling across the intervening distance, "'With sugar on top.'" He shakes his head at the drudge.

Prineline looks down at the plate. Quietly, softly, without so much as an extension of breath or a twitch of an eyelash, she tilts her head to make eye contact with the drudge. The drudge, trembling, takes a few steps backwards, and promptly flees the cavern. Prineline lets one ravaged, thin, wrinkled, smile turn her handsome features into a terrifying play on gratitude before the expression flitters away and she snaps her fingers. Two young, very pretty girls in her employ come at her call and as she sends them on their errand she returns to her laced klah, moving to a stand in order to refresh it while she clears her throat. "Aren't you clever," she mouths at the Bronzerider, distracting him as the two girls creep in from behind and pour salt all over his meal.

"No. I just recall running into Terian scouring the bazaar for a cake like that in Summer. You must have really wanted one." It's fruitcake. Who wants fruitcake? In Summer. Or… ever? "That must have been twenty turns ago. W'rin -Wairin- and I were Candidates and just come to Igen. It was the first freetime we had and we got roped into helping him find you a cake." He blinks, looking into the middle distance, "I haven't thought of that in ages." He shakes his head and turns back towards his meal and shovels in a mouthful. Freezing, his eyes go wide and cut over to the girls tittering to one another. Eyes softened by nostalgia, go hard. He chews deliberately, struggling and slugging back a swig of whatever's in his mug. If his eyes had been hard before, they're harder now. He cuts an accusing glare at Prineline. "We're under rations. The kitchen staff way want to lay off the salt. It's…" he glowers, "Wasteful." He looks at his plate, scrapes what salt he can off of the sparse meal and… ugh. No waste… eats.

Prineline freezes herself, this time her expression is unreadable. She glances down at the cake and then up at the girls tittering behind the rider. She lifts a dismissive hand and they scuttle away and she settles heavily into her chair, eyes refusing to move anywhere towards A'dan. Normally, the fact that she judged his loyalty to rations correctly that he would still eat would be a source of thorough enjoyment. However, her own nostalgia, deeply private and entirely unwanted at that moment is held tightly to her. She sips lightly at her klah, before mumbling to the nearest drudge to take the cake away and into the stores.

A'dan chokes down the rest of his meal in silence, rising once to get a pitcher of water from the sideboard. A flat look at Prineline on his way back. Rising when he's fought his way through the barely edible meal, A'dan scrubs hands over his pate, then looks over a shoulder at the food arrayed on the table. A hand goes to his belly. Still hungry. And now a belly ache to go with it. Well done, Prineline. He pushes in his chair and stalks towards the entrance, pausing briefly at the Headwoman's table, looking at her sidelong, "Thanks for keeping the Barracks stocked with fruit." Balanced nutrition is important! He flicks two fingers at her, "That was the second thing." Bootheels ring as he departs.

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