==== January 6, 2014
==== Hannah, Nora, Q'fex
==== Hannah has a new quest. Nora has ideas. Q'fex has a sandwich.

Who Hannah, Nora, Q'fex
What Hannah has a new quest. Nora has ideas. Q'fex has a sandwich.
When There are 0 turns, 3 months and 12 days until the 12th pass.
Where Nighthearth, Southern Weyr

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Nighthearth
A comfortable nook, this natural extension of the living room is cozily attired with overstuffed chairs and a couple of well-worn loveseats. All have been covered in various shades of green, giving the very incongruous appeal of a miniature forest hidden away inside… a grove of man-made proportion. Fish stews and spicy white-wherry chili are often kept hot on the minor hearths east and west of the main, for those whose hours defy when meals are kept. Ornate, the largest hearth towers high, rich with carving and utilitarian in fashion: it holds court by providing the weyr with rich klah, the air thick with the scent of cinnamon wafting.


A spring afternoon finds Hannah tucked away in the Nighthearth. The living caverns are loud, busy, and crammed full of riders that have just come off of Q'fex's wing drills. The noisy bunch has made the living caverns themselves almost intolerable with the amount of shouting and the crush of bodies that's happening. Thus, the relative quiet of the Nighthearth is a welcome spot for those would eat in relative silence. Hannah's curled up on a chair, a half-empty plate set on the table next to the chair. Cradled in the palms of her hands is a mug that's surely full of hot klah. It smells deceptively spicy, too.

Nora appears, just lingering on the edge between the noisy cavern and the respite of the nighthearth, a mug in her hands, a clipboard tucked under her arm and her gaze cast out across the boisterous riders. Compared to the loud chaos of the newly arrived wing, she's a negligible figure to the living cavern, just watching from the sideline, but perhaps a good deal more notable to the lone woman enjoying a comfortable chair and a bit of solitude.

Hannah does, indeed, notice Nora's arrival and purview of the boisterous riders. A hand pulls away from the warmth of the klah mug to wave for the assistant's attention. "Nora," followed up with a husky call pitched to reach Nora's ears, but not so loud as to disturb anyone also seeking respite in the Nighthearth. Her attire is consistent with one who's enjoying a rest day and studiously avoiding a formal meeting of any kind: loose white trousers, loose turquoise thin-strapped top with her pale hair pulled up into a braided bun. Around her neck hangs a single golden necklace with a tiny dragon in-flight pendant. "If you'd like to escape the chaos, it's much nicer in here."

Nora might not look all that eager for escape, watching as she does, the faintly guilty smile she wears when she turns at the call of her name to smile at Hannah and sway into a gliding step with a swing of her clean white skirt. "I thought I might sit for a bit," she replies, moving to make it true as she takes up her own seat with the cross of pale legs and green shoes. Her mug comes up for what may very well be a delayed first sip, delayed further so she can say, "How have you been? I feel like we've done nothing but miss each other over the past few sevens."

"They are fun to watch, aren't they?" Hannah asks, her gaze slipping from Nora to the riders who are, obviously, in good cheer. For now, anyway. A successful day with drills is enough to push back the shadows of the erstwhile Threadfall. "It has been that way. If it's not meetings, it's more meetings. Thread, then our situational readiness for Thread. I'm…" A wan smile curves Hannah's lips before she brings the mug up to sip. "… exhausted." And if she casts a strained (worried) look to the happy riders, well. These are trying times.

There's a quick bounce of agreement on Nora's brow, though she doesn't look back at the caverns now, just Hannah. And it doesn't take much to cool the easy smile of greeting into a more sober expression when the conversation turns, as it always would, to Thread. "I hate that it has to come again before we'll even know if half of the things we've tried to do will be any help at all. And in the meantime, adjusting to extra drills and sweeps… I've been trying to keep the kitchen staggered, so there's always something when they get back." Like right now. Maybe there's an impulse now to glance toward the serving tables she's surely just finished checking, but it's little more than an aborted tilt of her chin and instead she settles back without quite relaxing, at least not yet.

"Extra drills and sweeps…" Hannah's murmur is quiet, but thoughtful. She gives her head a shake and tilts a smile up to Nora. "Well, we're as ready as we're going to be right now and I, for one, am taking a few candlemarks to just enjoy this chair, this klah, and good companionship." Husky tone is light, as the goldrider forces the darker thoughts from her present thoughts. "How have you been?" The unspoken otherwise is left just that: unspoken, but it's there as even Hannah cannot push all of the troublesome thoughts that linger. "That's a good idea, by the way. Oh! Did you get the food service going to the library? I haven't been there in a while, but I sure do love the late-night offerings that the kitchen has now." She might have a touch of the insomnia.

Nora is slowly settling into that whole 'enjoying a few a bit of time in a chair' thing, little by little starting to let it hold her slim weight instead of looking as if she's about to pop up again and run off. The clipboard end up tucked beside her, finally taking its own break from activity. "I'm…" Oh, the unspoken otherwise might give her a bit more pause. "Okay." And then she's happy to turn her talk to the library. "There's some klah and tea, usually. And I think maybe a few times the kitchen has sent some things over to test out. And have a few more titles, now." There's a sorry twist on her mouth as she names one of the fallen riders. "He had quite a collection." So maybe that isn't so much an 'otherwise' comment either. As for the increase in late-night offerings, she admits, "We started it for the healers, mostly, since a lot of them were up through the nights, and then just… kept doing it. Judging by what's left over in the morning, you're not the only one," she points out with a knowing quirk of a smile.

"I'm glad we've got some more in the collection — it does people good to have a way to escape," Hannah's comment is quiet, perhaps for the fallen rider who's library collection was purloined. "Hopefully, it is not adding to my mid-section," she laughs, keeping her voice light and steering clear of death-talk. "Although, the poor healers probably need it more than I. I hope that — their constant vigil is lessening, at least for now." Until Thread falls again. Thoughtfully, she brings the mug up to sip, brows drawing in. "Despite everything, you and Renalde kept things tight here. Thank you."

"Yeah, it seems like it," Nora says of the healers and their hours, pausing for a drink of her tea, an idle glance toward that mentioned midsection and a smirk to make light of any such possibility of expansion. She shakes her head, though, gaze dropping for just a beat. "It's all I can do. And I have to do something." She tries to shrug it off. "Even if it's only calling for laundry and food." Which makes it a good time to shift the attention. "How are you doing?"

Tucked away in the Nighthearth are Hannah and Nora. All around them is still the boisterous chaos that cram the living caverns — Q'fex's riders that have just come off wing drills. The noisy bunch has made the living caverns themselves almost intolerable with the amount of shouting and the crush of bodies that's happening. Thus, the relative quiet of the Nighthearth is a welcome spot for those would eat in blessed silence. "We all have things we need to do, to divert attention from — that." A tight smile follows before she shrugs, "I'm doing okay. Tired, but — I don't suppose you've spoken to Prymelia at all? She's a trader who's brought to my attention a missing girl. I might have looked around a bit for her, but so far, I've found no sign of this girl. Her name is Merid." Hannah is seated in a chair with a half-eaten plate of lunch and a mug of warm klah in her hands. Nora sits next to her, with her own delectables at hand.

Roughnecks, Ocelot all. Especially the one who comes in decked out in his obsidian-and-emerald jacket with the sweet stench of sweat and firestone ash. SMELL LIKE YOU MEAN IT. He hasn't noticed Hannah and Nora, just yet, though doubtless he'd go bother them if he did. The weyrleader has a klah-mug in one hand and he fetches acros the way to fill it at one of the hearths. In his OTHER HAND lies something more deadly than nuclear waste, something more intrepid than the keenest Harper schemer, something more alluring than the loveliest of debutante Hold girls… a sandwich.

Nora has a mug as well, and as far as other delectables, just the clipboard slid beside her in her seat. "I guess I haven't thought much about diverting attention," she admits with a press of lips. Of course, she might just define her diversions differently. "It slips when it does, and…" Her head cocks to the side. "Prymelia? I bumped into her briefly but we haven't had much of a chance to talk. Is this, like, a child?" she wonders, a hand flattening low to the ye height of a very young person. "Or more like 'young woman' girl?" The stench hits her before anything else, nose wrinkling as she turns to see just which of the newly arrived riders has leaked into the nighthearth's refuge. "Weyrleader," she greets with a light nod, prepared to let him go about with his very special sandwich otherwise undisturbed.

Hannah's nose wrinkles — Q'fex is smelled before he's seen — but she answers Nora with a frown of concentration first, then, "No I think it's a young woman-girl. Like Prymelia's age? She was out with her one night and they happened upon an abandoned ship. They explored it, and at the end, they went their separate ways and no one has seen this Merid since." But wait. Q'fex has a sandwich. Hannah's senses are alerted as the goldrider tracks the Weyrleader's movements. "Q'fex," she greets, hiding her expression behind her mug. "Your riders are in fine spirits."

Q'fex is the best man-stink ever, come on now. "Nora!" he greets bluffly, waving his sandwich in her direction after he's filled his klah. "How are you?" Then, just a bit belated, "Hannah." Is there … is there a bit of DELIBERATION on how he lifts that sandwich to his mouth, the scruff around his mouth dark as he takes a bite. A pointed bite. It's a PB&J, and it looks like honey wheat. He chews a moment then responds: "They are. They should be." Is that a look of SATISFACTION on his face?

Well, at least Nora didn't gag or anything? And with Q'fex's brassy greeting and satisfied declarations, she's quick to flash a wide smile at the sweaty man. "Good," is all she says to his success in the sky, though she does stretch up and over to glance back out toward the living cavern, spying towards those boisterous riders. And thus she might miss his over-mouthing on the sandwich, but it probably wasn't for her anyway. She might almost forget all about Prymelia's lost girl, too, distracted by the Weyrleader's arrival, but she remembers it after an idle delay. "This was while Prymelia was traveling?" she double checks, since she's probably know if someone went missing from the Weyr. "How long ago did she disappear?"

Hey, at least all Hannah did was wrinkle her nose, but it might be why that klah mug is stuck to just beneath her nose. A deep breath is inhaled, though the smile given to Q'fex is full of sharp teeth. She's noticing the extra attention to that sandwich. "Drills are going well? How's Bailey's brother doing? I know she worries." She shoots a glance at Nora, then, expression falling into concentration as she struggles to remember the details. "No, it didn't happen at the weyr — but outside the weyr. Prymelia said the girl said she'd be going back to the weyr — I think. I don't have any reason to doubt Prymelia's word that she saw this girl, but the girl seems to have up and vanished. It's strange. Especially— " Oh but that is cut off with a significant look slipped to Q'fex and his damned sandwich. If looks could be real, Hannah would have knocked the man down for his sandwich by now. "She disappeared a few months back," this is said as attention goes back to Nora, "I think. Prymelia's timeline was a little unclear." Not that Hannah is not remembering correctly. Not at all. "But at least three months ago, if not longer."

Q'fex has nothing to say on the topic of Nora and gagging that would be at all appropriate for a public PG-13 scene. Just in case anyone was actually wondering. He takes another bite of the sandwich, when he notices Hannah's gaze on him. "What about Prymelia?" is his shameless butt-in before he replies to the goldrider's queries. "Drills are going excellent. They are finally shaping up… El'ai included. He's a strong bronze, that one." Here's another bite. Slower. His eyes even flicker upwards with the pleasure of it, because he's a dick.

"Maybe she got here, caught a ride north. I don't doubt Prymelia saw her, either, I'm just not sure… what kind of… I mean, it could be felines," Nora suggests with a sorry shrug and a sorrier twist of her mouth. Though perhaps not unfeeling, it's clear that the headwoman is ready to chalk the missing girl up as either dead or gone by choice. Regretful as it may be, it's out of her hands. The expression starts to drift, though, as all of this sandwich business seems to take more of Hannah's attention. A more confused glance is darted from goldrider to bronzerider and back again, and then she just focuses on her tea instead.

"That's what I am thinking too," Hannah adds in, tucking her feet up beneath her and turning her own eyes studiously to her klah. "Either dead or left by choice, but still I tend to think the girl was part of it. The whole abandoned ship and that her appearance there with Prymelia was a ruse." Q'fex is spoken to, but only glanced at from beneath the privacy of her lashes, "Prymelia is worried for a young woman she met out in the wilds. I was looking for her — er, trying to find out what might have happened to her. Not actually out looking for her." She'd never dare to risk the wrath of Lendai. "It could be felines, but." The goldrider shrugs. "It could also be whatever is tightening our firestone and whatever is causing ships to be abandoned."

"What now?" Q'fex focuses his eyes on Nora. He's a little confused. How dare they have a conversation before he arrived, y'know. Hannah answers, though, and his eyes drift back to hers. "Huh. What do you think, Nora?" At least he doesn't move to sit down. That would imply his stinkiness is staying long-term. "I suppose I could scramble my riders to sweep for her if she really is afraid for a girl," he muses aloud.

Nora's lashes begin to narrow, though the look is one of calculation rather than concern, and perhaps that only contributes to the blink of surprise as Q'fex's address snaps her out of her thoughts. "Oh, just that… If Hannah believes she's involved, somehow, with the firestone and ships, I'm much less afraid for her well being a good deal more interested in whatever answers could be found with her." There's a touch of apology in the thin blip of her smile — poor girl, yes yes. "I'm afraid I don't know what steps you've already taken. Planting informants on the ships or attempting to have spare riders shadow their paths, if we have the manpower for that. It could be preventative, I suppose, to have an overt presence, but stealth would probably give us a better explanation." And at the end of that, she realizes she's thinking aloud more than anything else, her gaze having wandered off, and now all of her attention snaps back to Hannah and Q'fex, a little guilty to have mused so vocally and so readily, and with so little interest in the present fortunes of the missing Merid.

Does Hannah look slightly uncomfortable? Surely it's because she's sitting on something for the way she reaches behind her back to pluck at something. "There's not much too have done so far, and not with Thread falling and not with being grounded." Oh wait, that last slipped. She hastily takes a sip, shooting quick glances from Q'fex to Nora and back down to the ever-interesting klah. "I think," she begins, "that Merid probably escaped north or wherever she hailed from. But on the off chance she's involved, I think it would behoove us to have sweeps ride over the northeasterly jungles. Just below where the river connects to the lagoon." She bites her lip, "And maybe send some scouts into the jungles." Nora's vocalized thoughts were good ones! "I wonder if there are more ships sitting out there." You know, unexplored. Carefully, Hannah treads this topic. Her grounding sits fresh in her thoughts.

Q'fex narrows his eyes THOUGHTFULLY. "More of a reason to find her," Q'fex agrees with Nora. His eyes SHARPEN on the word 'grounded' coming out of Hannah's eyes, but it's moreso of interest than alarm. Hannah's troubles are Lendai's, after all. His eyes drift back to the caverns and he shakes his head. "I'd better get back to my wing. Let me know what the wings can do to help." His brain isn't wired for this conversation at the moment, apparently. He takes ONE LAST BITE of sandwich before heading out, smirking at nothing in particular.

"Don't sweeps cover…" Nora may have been ready to turn that question on Q'fex, but since she can only ask his back, the last word, "Everywhere?" fades from her voice. It leaves her in another moment of consideration, mug held close to her mouth, near without drinking again. A though comes to her visibly, furrowing at her brow. "You're still grounded from what happened… the last time you found a ship?" She arches a brow at Hannah. "I'd say you should leave it to someone else to tend but…" Her eyes flick off in the direction the Weyrleader just went. "I suppose he has other things on his mind." Though if the ships are connected to the firestone, perhaps that would explain the dubious expression she wears. "Maybe you could speak to one of the wingleaders."

"No, not anymore," Hannah answers, attention shifting back to Nora. "Not for a while, but. I don't want to get grounded again, you know? So I can't go out and look for … things. People. Whatever." Twirling the now half-empty mug she considers Nora's words. "Q'fex has a lot on his mind and I don't know if sweeps will necessarily find anything." She shrugs and sighs. "Being how thick the jungle is. Anyone can hide in there." Is that a slightly mournful look directed downward? Maybe. "So I ask around. See if anyone's seen anything." It's what she can do, really!

"And why would you? Send someone. Really, we should have people all over the those jungles, while there's still time." That clips Nora's mouth closed, though, because it's not so much a matter of 'while' but 'if'. "Hunters to bring back furs we can sell, miners to look for firestone, harpers to check on settlements, communicate with those…" Her fingers lifts a touch dismissively from her cup. "Wildmen, bush people, whatever they're called. And there are wingriders who aren't ready to return to active duty, but might be able to rebuild their strength exploring on your behalf. They could talk Merid's people, perhaps get some idea where up north she might have gone, find out their usual trade connections to see if there are any leads there…" And it seems that all of these possibilities fuel movement, with Nora pulling out of her recline to perch at the edge of her chair. She looks at that downward glace of Hannah's with a mix of sympathy and confusion and, with a deep breath, she lets her brainstorming dissipate. "I can ask around here." Perhaps that's all that was really wanted.

With both Nora's galvanizing ideas and the other woman's movement, Hannah unfurls herself from the chair as well, coming to stand and tipping a slightly crooked smile up at the assistant headwoman. "Those are all very good ideas. And ones we should use. And please, do ask around. At this point, though, I think Merid is a lost cause. She'll turn up or she won't, but the other stuff. The people who are doing this to our ships? Those we should look for in earnest." The smile warms, however, "Hopefully, we won't keep missing each other, but I'd best get on to Dhiammarath." And likely, start looking into some of these possibilities. "It was good talking to you," the touch of vulnerability is there, the friendliness genuine in the expression. If Nora allows, Hannah'll offer a gentle shoulder pat before making her way out of the Nighthearth and to parts unknown.

Nora is fumbling a little to get her clipboard back into place beneath her arm as she stands, so while Hannah can surely pat, the assistant headwoman is slow in juggling a hand free to return the touch. She can smile, though, a little self-effacing, considering everything, but no less warm for it. "Of course. Perhaps next time I hear of something exciting ending up in the library, I'll have someone fetch you and we can sample it together." She may have been the first to make the motions of leaving, but once Hannah is off, she just returns to lingering at the nighthearth's edge with a scanning glance across the living caverns.

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