Kyriatis, R'zel, Z'bor


A chat in the secret garden turns to conspiracies, and then tragedy.


It is midmorning of the tenth day of the seventh month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Secret Garden, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 22 Mar 2018 00:00


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"I heard that the refugees are deliberately making everyone sick."


Secret Garden

Ornate brass handles are kept shiny and bright, their age belied by tarnish in deep crevices. Brackets on the wall hold glow baskets to keep the smallish sized cavern lit up. On sunny days light spills through an iron-framed window fitted into a natural break in the weyr wall, invisible to the eye from above.

The sound of running water echoes like a ghost from a small pool set back just beyond the reach of the light. Fed by some subterranean stream that remains unseen, the water is cool and crisp. Small, dark fish dart in the shadows of stones and water plants. All around the little pond a soft carpet of mossy grass and ferns grow, some of it having gone over the carefully laid stone barrier to keep it in check. It would seem this place was at one time an indoor garden, but whether for work or recreation has long since been lost to knowledge. It is now a place of quiet and repose. Retreat. Vegetation abounds in raised stone beds, herbs and flowers alike. Though the growth in beds is wild, there was certainly a lot of thought put into the delicate but functional layout. Chairs, couches, bookshelves and desks fill the space forming clusters of seating areas. In the shadows, there's the outline of another door.

This garden is never overly crowded, so if you're looking for somewhere quiet to spread out a pile of hidework, and the Library isn't fitting the bill today, this is just the spot. That's R'zel's rationale, anyway, and his journey down the tunnels, clutching a mid-morning mug of klah and a pile of hides, has been rewarded by a cavern that's almost empty. He's here at one of the desks, the particular spot chosen because it catches the light from the window. It's not overly warm in here; he's wearing a thick sweater, and there's a flying jacket draped over the back of his chair. Those hides are now spread out on the desk, and the mug is there too, half-empty. He seems to be transcribing details from one hide to another.

With a heavy winter rain intermittently dousing the ground outside, an assignment to duty in this garden is a veritable pleasure, one that has Kyriatis humming cheerfully as she sidles her way in from the corridor. That the cavern is almost empty, not to mention largely quiet, doesn't seem to faze her; moving at just short of a skip, she weaves her way past R'zel's desk to settle on her knees at one of the nearby raised beds, reaching forward with bare hands to start pulling at some of those pesky weeds. Off-key humming improves most work experiences, right?

R'zel isn't bothered in the least by a gardener doing gardening-type things in his vicinity, but off-key humming is one of the things that sets R'zel's teeth on edge. When it penetrates his concentration, he looks up to see its source with a look of annoyance on his face. That look fades when he sees that the source is someone hard at work, to be replaced by a rueful grin, and his enquiry is more apologetic than anything else. "I say, would you mind awfully…. this cavern has rather splendid acoustics."

Kyriatis's face, so very, very expressive, goes through several obvious stages of response, following R'zel's apologetic question: clear confusion, then dawning realisation, followed unequivocally by blushing apology. "Oh gosh!" she says, which (if nothing else) at least means she's stopped humming. "I'm so sorry. Daddy— my father is always reminding me not to, but I think I don't even realise I'm doing it?" Earnest, the teen grins up at the dragon rider, emphasising her words with two upturned hands.

R'zel grins back, shaking his head in amused sympathy. "I know, I know - I do it too, if I'm not careful. You can take the boy out of the Harper Hall, but you can't take the Harper Hall out of the boy." Not that R'zel is exactly a boy any more, but he does have a polished Fortian accent and good vocal projection to support his story. "R'zel, bronze Verokanth's, of Ocelot." The shoulder of his sweater is unadorned, but if his jacket is visible from where Kyriatis is working, she might notice a wingsecond's knot.

"Harper," is murmured beneath the teen's breath while R'zel's is still speaking, and while the word itself is too low for tone to be recognisable, her expression is certainly impressed— or is that approving? "Kyriatis," she offers, in response, in a rather more normal tone: cheerfully bubbly. "Gardener extraordinaire, except that mostly I just weed, so the 'extra' bit may be buried a bit. Still! I wish I could sing. I can't - I mean I really can't."

"Well, I can't garden - each to his own! But, you really can't sing? Or can't sing in tune? Hardly anybody really can't sing." R'zel's sounding curious about the gardener's problem. "Can you hear the difference between notes?" He sets his pen down and leans back in his chair, then picks up his mug of now-tepid klah. Time for a break, apparently!

"But gardening is easy," insists Kyriatis. "Weed it, water it, and it grows. Easy." She tilts her head to the side as she considers the rest of what R'zel's said, her own hands still working as if on auto-pilot: her pile of weeds grows, no matter how little she seems to be paying attention to the work. "I can hear the notes, but I can't replicate them, I guess. I can hear that it's wrong."

"That's a matter of training, then," R'zel says seriously, frowning a little as he considers the problem. "When I was an apprentice, they told us a bit about teaching children who didn't sing in tune. You can train someone's ear, apparently. I never actually had to do it." He grins. "I don't think I've ever successfully grown anything, except maybe a pot plant when I was a kid - it always looks amazing to me. I'd drown them or starve them or pull up the wrong ones."

Kyriatis positively beams. "So's gardening," she argues, cheerfully. "You can learn how much water they need, and which ones are important— actually I feel bad for the weeds, sometimes, since it's not really their fault that we've decided they're bad— and all the rest." Settling back, her bottom resting upon her booted feet, she adds, "But no one ever successfully taught me how to sing, so I'll accept your inability to garden as well, for now." It's terribly magnanimous of her, truly. "Do you miss being a harper?"

R'zel's at a desk, supposedly doing some hidework but in reality chatting with Kyriatis, who's actually doing some work - specifically, weeding. They're talking about music, gardening, and the like. "I wouldn't say I miss it, exactly." Holding his mug on his knee, R'zel swivels round so that he's facing Kyriatis rather than turning. "I wasn't that happy with it by the time I got Searched, and I much prefer being Verokanth's rider. But I still play my instruments, and I even do a turn now and then, so I reckon I've still got all the best bits." He eyes the pile of uprooted plants. "It never occurred to me to feel sorry for weeds, but now you come to mention it, some of them are quite pretty."

Picking up one of the clumps of weeds, Kyriatis gives it a desultory examination. "I think I'd like to have a weed garden one day," she decides. "Where only the plants that mostly get uprooted are allowed to flourish. Just to give them their chance to shine." Those dark eyes of her slide back up to R'zel, however, as she picks up that other thread of the conversation to wonder, "Does it frighten you at all, knowing that you're risking death all the time? I mean, it's not just thread, is it? Think about how many terrible things have happened to dragonriders in general."

Z'bor is in need of a few herbs for a meal he's going to cook for his small family. It's been a while since the Serval Wingsecond has had the whole group home for dinner and for once, he and H'ris have the same rest day, so, dinner at home it is. And, so, Z'bor finds himself walking into the occupied garden, a small smile on his features as he begins to stalk the rows of plants. A salute and wave are sent R'zel's way when Z'bor is close enough.

R'zel frowns a little and takes a few moments to search for the right words. "Sometimes. Mostly, in Threadfall, there isn't time to be frightened - if you let yourself get scared, you're more likely to make a mistake and bring about the thing you're scared of. And when we do Search and Rescue - actually, that's worse in some ways, because people tend to get into trouble in really bad conditions. But we're trained just to get on and do what we do, and it's… what I signed up for? Naturally, I don't want to die, but I wouldn't want to be without Verokanth now." He notices the otherwingsecond's wave, and returns it cheerfully. "Hey there, Z'bor! What brings you down to the depths of the earth?" He's exaggerating a little, perhaps - it's not that far underground here. There's even a window!

Despite her almost preternatural cheerfulness, Kyriatis is solemn now, expressive brows drawing in upon each other as she considers what R'zel has to say. "Because it's your duty," she concludes, with a sharp nod, whether or not that's the bronzerider's own summation. She's abruptly cheerful again as she turns to smile at the newcomer, though the observant might notice a certain thoughtfulness lingering about her dark eyes.

Z'bor looks up and grins. "When last I was here, I noticed some herbs growing wild. I was going to collect some to cook with." And it's much more pleasant being down here knowing he doesn't have to go through the catacombs again. Kyriatis and her thoughtful repose are noticed and given a friendly wave in return. "What brings you down to the depths then?" He asks of R'zel as he notices a fresh and lonely crop of basil sprouting up from a crag and begins harvesting.

"Looking for somewhere quiet to do some thinking," R'zel answers, though clearly he's not actually working at the moment. "And go through some scintillating reports. The Library was - well, someone had been sick. Rather comprehensively sick - I'm afraid she looked pretty ill. So there were healers there and lots of cleaning going on, and they'd cleared the trolley." No snacks in the Library today!

With the keen-eyed gaze of a gardener ensuring 'her' plants are being properly looked after, Kyriatis sweeps her gaze over Z'bor's efforts, but says nothing on the subject. Perhaps that's because she's been distracted again, turning back towards R'zel and his news. "I heard that the refugees are deliberately making everyone sick," she announces, with all the confidence of a teenager who takes just a little too much enjoyment in believing conspiracy theories.

Z'bor wrinkles his nose up in distaste. "Well, glad I decided to avoid the library today." And pretty much any other day that something doesn't specify a trip there. Z'bor is more a man of action than words, He manages to carefully extract a good hand full of basil from the plant and tucks it safely away in one of the pouches on his belt. "They cleared the cart? Is it food poisoning?" Now they've got Z'bor's attention. the last time food poisoning went through Southern, well, Z'bor had been an unlucky victim. Never again he'd vowed, never again. Not that he can really control that, but he can at least try and avoid a known cause. At Kyriatis' mentipn of the refugees, Z'bor frowns, he hadn't thought about that, even with the rumor mill full of it.

R'zel frowns too. "Deliberately? I'd heard they brought something with them, but not deliberately. I suppose it might explain why it's been so hard to-" He breaks off, perhaps not wanting to perpetuate that idea any further, and looks to Z'bor. "But who'd try to make dragonriders sick, especially at the same time they want help from us? And weren't there were people ill before that boat came ashore? It seems to have been going on forever." For all he's trying to play down the notion, he looks worried.

All big eyes and seriousness, now, Kyriatis seems a little disconcerted at the reaction she's received from R'zel— and her gaze, too, flicks from one dragonrider to the other, hands now resting flat in her lap rather than continuing their efforts in the soil. This is serious. Darkly, "It's probably one person with a gripe against the Weyr, and they've orchestrated it all. Not the storm, of course, but making use of it. Opportunity. I don't know about motive."

Z'bor seems worried too, hands moving to live in his pockets as he thinks on the subject. It's an odd situation to try and detangle. "Who indeed. it does seem rather suspect don't you think?" Kyriatis' remark is thought on too, a darker sort of emotion coloring his features. "You might be on to something there…" He says to her, moving closer for the sake of conversation. "I'm Z'bor by the way, rider of green Ozriath." He extends a hand in greeting then, a light smile on his face for the new acquaintance.

R'zel takes a few moments to reply, and then he briefly extends an open palm to indicate the gardener. "This is Kyriatis." He ponders a moment longer. "Given how many people have been ill, and for how long, it's hard to imagine that that could be true. It's not as if they're going round killing people - or not directly." Because there have been casualties. "So I'm not sure what they'd be getting out of it, unless they just wanted to make us miserable. But just suppose it is true. It would be better not to alert them to being suspected. So maybe it would be better not to go round spreading the idea." He looks at Z'bor, trying to catch the other wingsecond's eye. "We could quietly ask if anything like that's suspected."

Kyriatis' "Hi," lacks the perky exclamation mark it probably usually would, though she manages a fleeting smile as she returns Z'bor, extending her own (somewhat soil-covered) hand to shake. She's distracted by that only for a moment, though, teeth resting sharply upon her lower lip as she eyes, eyes, R'zel, concerned and perhaps slightly dubious too. "Spreading chaos," she announces. "Or weakening us, ahead of something else. I won't tell anyone else, I promise."

Z'bor nods. "You've got a point R'zel, I think that's a good idea." Some real detective work might be needed if this is a suspicious situation and it will be hard enough without showing their hand too early. "Well met miss Kyriatis." Her own observations set Z'bor's senses to tingling. And now that his curiosity is up, he means to get to the bottom if things, even if the bottom turns uut to be the more innocent ANSWER to the problem.

Apparently accepting the young woman's commitment to silence, R'zel seems more willing to entertain the notion. Perhaps his earlier caution arose from all that harper training in how to avoid causing fear, alarm and despondency! With deliberate words, he says, "It might actually explain why it's been so hard to find a cause - I mean, the healers still aren't sure whether it's actually a disease as such, or something else, and the smiths have been taking the place to pieces-" And then he stops and looks blankly into space.

Probably every other dragonrider is doing something similar, because outside, a high keening is coming from dragon throats, as the news passes round from one to another that blue Zanisth and his rider, Marsha, are no more. The blue has followed his rider, Tiglon's beloved and grandmotherly wingleader, into death.

Despite her promise, there's a fiery and eager delight in Kyriatis' expression, as if the romance and excitement of this possibility is almost too much for her. But she's weyrborn and weyrbred, and not oblivious to the dragonrider habit of staring into space— nor what the keen filtering in through the window actually means. "Oh shells," she says, bleak and horrified, squinting away hormonal tears. "Who?"

Z'bor is nodding along with R'zel's and likely agreeing with him when the keen begins to split the air. Z'bor's own eyes go glossy and a look of mournful repose coming over the man's face. He'll come around presently, wiping at his face with one hand. "Marsha and Zanisth." Comes his short answer while he tries to block out at least some of the keening, having it in stereo and in your head is something else.

R'zel needs a few moments to clear his head, too. When he speaks, he sounds stunned. "Marsha! They'll be devastated." The mostly-young riders of Tiglon were fond of their wingleader. "And it was one of theirs who was so sick in the Library too - that blonde greenrider with the really tight ringlets? Lucy? I hope she's going to be all right."

Kyriatis bites at her lip, swallows, and then says: "Then it's extra important we get to the bottom of this. You do, I mean. But someone, anyone. Just in case." She glances down at her plants, doleful and almost resentful, then back up at the two dragonriders. "If there's any way that I can help…"

Z'bor has to wait for the case of the heebs to go away before he shakes himself out a bit. "There may be much consoling to do today." It's no secret the pair now lost to ::between:: were loved by their wing and a few more. Z'bor right and looks down at the herb beds. he may have to come back later.

R'zel eyes the herbs that Z'bor is gathering. "You've not got any peppermint there, have you?" he murmurs in a resigned tone. Anything with stomach-settling properties has been in demand lately. "Well. I think these reports are going to have to wait." He starts to clean his pen and put away his writing gear. "Tiglon's seconds were close to Marsha. I think I'm going to see if they need a hand there." Not that his concentration stands a chance right now anyway.

Helpless to do anything, Kyriatis opens her mouth, closes it, and then sighs. "Good luck," she says, a general statement that may be aimed at both dragonriders, or perhaps a the Weyr as a whole. Reluctantly, she drops her gaze back towards her weeding, reaching out to pluck at a stray bit of green. Life must go on.

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