Who

Sevreni, T'ral

What

Klah-sipper in which Sevreni and T'ral hatch a plan for self-improvement.

When

It is before dawn of the twenty-second day of the ninth month of the first turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Southern Weyr

OOC Date

 

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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.

It is the twenty-second day of Spring and 63 degrees. It is a clear night.


Midnight, give or take a few minutes. The weyr has quieted down, the rabblerousers are off at the Kitten rousing… rabble, and Sevreni is on a well-deserved day off from her beloved tavern. Still, old habits die hard, thus she's ensconced at the nighthearth, staring moodily at the cheerfully crackling fire there that wards off the remnants of the early sprint chill. There's a mug of klah to her side, rarely paid attention to. Instead, dark eyes are half-lidded to gaze at the flames, and rarely flick to other vistas, even though watchriders and runners and the like idle through the place fairly regularly. Her expression contains no hint of whether she's seeing anything in there and, if so, what her feelings on the matter are.

The door to the Star Stones creaks open and a swirl of chilly wind skirls in, teasing embers from the merrily crackling fire. T'ral shifts a huge tome under his arm as he shuts the door carefully, slipping into the nighthearth, cheeks flushed and eyes bright with the crisp air high above. He turns and starts slightly at finding someone at this late hour, face lightening at seeing Sevreni's lean form curled before the fire. "A million 'lengths away there, eh, ma'am?" He puts his tome in the chair next to Sevreni, also facing the hearth and snags a mug and klah for himself. "Want a warm up?" Eyebrows up, he waggles the klah pot.

"You may call me Sevreni," the woman states, ignoring the stretch of years between them. Given who his father is, it's even more important that T'ral be encouraged to speak informally with her. The proprietor of the Kitten and the headman of the Weyr do not get along well, after all. She blinks at the offer, then nods. Her cold klah is swallowed with a grimace, and she holds out the newly emptied mug. "Thank you. Yes. I was just thinking a bit." Self-evident, that; the realisation makes her grimace, and look towards the tome instead. "You're up late. I thought all virtuous riders were tucked up in bed, and the unvirtuous ones in others' beds."

The bluerider pours, "Sevreni," nodding at the self-evident admission. Replacing the klah pot on its hook by the fire T'ral wrests the tome from his seat and settles in, wriggling into the leather and pausing to peer at Sevreni, a brow crooked. He snorts lightly at her comment and settles back, hands curled around the klah mug and staring into the fire himself. Mesmerizing. "Some of the unvirtuous simply can't sleep." He shifts again, head tilting. "And some of us are feeding babies." As if on cue a pitiful little creel, muffled by clothes and distance comes from T'ral. He fishes in his coat and brings out a new-hatched little gold flit. His eyes are troubled as he juggles it around a bit, patting pockets before coming up with a little packet unfolded on the arm of his chair. He smiles a trifle sadly at the little girl eating greedily before policing his expression to something more neutral. "You have any children, Sevreni?" Random. And personal. Swing for the fences.

There's silence for a long time; it has to be, with a question like that in front of her. Dark-dark eyes return to the hearth, and the shadows allow for the slightest hint of lines around her eyes, particularly when she stares into the flames as she is. "I'm thirty-seven turns old," she finally says. "Of course there have been children before." Her tone does not invite asking about them, nor does the dark-eyed look she shifts to him. Still, they eventually droop to the little gold that creeps out to be fed; when she speaks again it's about the 'lizard. "Pretty." A vague statement. "And very young. I hope she brings you joy."

The grammar of that statement BEGS for follow up questions, but Sevreni's tone says otherwise. T'ral looks up and Oh. So does her face. He blinks and dips his head, "Sorry. I wasn't feeling like small talk. But, uh, smaller…" he looks back to the flames, thumb idly stroking the head of the tiny now-snoozing flit. "Smaller… Read any good books lately?" There's a bit of a twitch to his lips, a glint that might be firelight or something else.

"So you decide to go for the big talk off the bat, hm?" Sevreni asks. The bland seriousness fades a little, mellows into something appropriate for late-night talk. "I've little time for reading these days, but I will say that what I've read doesn't really… well, the books were rather more saucy than I was used to." Someone ran afoul of that shuffling in the library, it seems. "At least for books with recipes in them, but then it's my punishment for attempting to cook. One of the feminine virtues I had never had much association with, I assure you. It's a good thing I employ a cook at the Kitten."

T'ral shifts, moving the weight of the tome from one leg to another. "Well, it's not usually something folks mind talking about. Their families. But more important than the weather or…" another shift, "You take my meaning." At her admission about the books, "Ah. Recipe for Love and Dinners for Two. That was one of the more synergistic swaps." He chuckles and then clears his throat, "Damn shame someone would wreck the Archives like that." The little flit well and truly asleep, he tucks her back into the warmth of his coat and takes up his klah mug again. "I should probably learn to cook something. Just, you know, one thing well. Right?" He fixes Sevreni with a look. "Let's do it. You and me." He's talking about cooking, right? "Pick a dish and learn to cook it."

Sevreni's expression is a complex one again, and there's the barest lift of her shoulder. "You have a father here, correct? Who is rather strict, and has things done his way? I would imagine that's wearying at times; imagine if I had a daughter that's disappointed at her mother's, ah, unique views of how women should act in this world?" She leaves it there; he is free to draw his own impression from that brief snippet. It disappears soon afterward, along with her expression, as the latter changes first to a frown, then a reluctant smile. "Cook? The two of us? It'll have to be a dish of some magnitude then."

"Wearying." T'ral rolls the word over in his mouth, brows knit, inhaling the steam from his klah. "Not because he's strict." The bluerider pauses again, thinking. He hums, "Dissonant world views. That I understand. Sorry to hear it." He's not really sure what conclusions to draw, framing a woman her mother's mirror in his mind's eye. Hmmh. He shakes off the imagining and watches Sevreni flicker through reactions. Then, "Whoa, whoa, hold the reins," he puts out a forestalling hand. "I was thinking something simple. Don't want a gazillion steps and ingredients and timing and-" he shakes his head. "Something failsafe." He holds up a finger, "And tasty." Brows go down, lips pursed. But what…

Sevreni's face is perhaps too sculpted, too lean to imagine in younger, softer curves, though she must surely have had them once upon a time. Those lean curves readjust now, slipping from one hip to the other until she's got her feet tucked up comfortably. "I'll settle for knowing how to get eggs in a pan without breaking the yolks," she shares. "Or how to make a really good stew. Everyone says to just throw everything into a pot and let it cook for as long as it wants, but what about seasonings? How long is 'long enough' and how do I know whether something that tastes good to me does so for others?" A small grimace and a sip of klah. "These are the thoughts that range in my mind when I stand in front of a stove."

"Stew!" T'ral brightens, nodding, "Wait. That takes a long time. Something fast." Inspiration strikes, "Something with bacon. Everyone loves bacon." He ponders a long time, mulling over sips of klah, before coming to a conclusion. "We need an expert."

She watches, half-fascinated, as he settles on the topic of bacon. It's such a manly choice. "I really don't understand what the fascination with bacon is," she mutters around the rim of her cup. "Whether it's soggy or crisp, I don't like it that much. Give me a good orange or a ripe redfruit anyime." Her eyes flicker from the hearth to the sliver of sky available outside, trying to gauge the hour automatically, by the stars visible. "There's Ardstelle, of course. She looks as if she knows what to do with a pound of bacon." Sip. "And a quart of butter."

Manly? Everyone likes bacon. Except Sevreni, apparently. "It's delicious." Duh. But his love doesn't end there, "Oranges, good. Redfruit, good." T'ral ponders, "Something with bacon and fruit." He brightens, "There were these sweet, mealy fruits in the bazaar at Igen. Bacon and caprine cheese." Whoo, he puffs a breath out through pursed lips, "So good." He blinks, stilling. Brow furrowed, mouth dropping open a bit and eyes moving rapidly back and forth, searching. A look of stark panic and disappointment flicker so quickly it could well be the shifting light of fire. "Dates." Jaw muscles bunch, "Bacon wrapped dates." He swallows. "But that's not really a meal."

"Bacon and fruit," Sevreni questions weakly, trying to imagine that unimaginable horror. "I don't think so…" Whatever else she would have said is quiet, and she watches, fascinated, as T'ral's memories dip and sway so chaotically. "Perhaps around something like a melon?" she hazards, and presumes on the strength of their friendship to reach out and touch one forefinger (warm from the mug) to the bridge of his nose. "Relax," she whispers, alto voice low and smooth. "Relax. Don't try to force it. Bacon-wrapped dates it is." For herself, she can't imagine the horror of that taste, but it seems to have emotional significance for him.

A sharp inhalation at the unexpected nose prod has T'ral blinking. And then smiling sheepishly, scratching at his jaw. "Melon could work. We have plenty. It'd be easy enough to get dates, I can…" He winces, "Pop up to Igen. I can't. Grounded." Crap. The import of the punishment and the restrictions it places on him are sinking in. He's not really thinking about missing Falls and drills. That burns. "But that's why I can do this," he waves a hand between them. A yawn cracks his jaws, catching him rather by surprise. He covers it apologetically, blinking away the tears the yawn brought on. "Not used to being up this late."

There's a slight wrinkle of Sevreni's nose, a small enough gesture that she fills with wordless scorn. "I heard about the grounding, of course. That man is going to be pushed under a very large wherry one day; I'd not be surprised if most of the riders in the weyr want to punch him by now. "I'll see if I can get hold of some dates." That, apparently, is for him; it's not a fruit she normally eats. "In return, you get the bacon ready and we'll see what we can do." She empties her klah mug, uncurls slowly to stand. "Tomorrow?"

"Oh, I earned it." T'ral admits. "My mouth runs out well ahead of my thoughts." His brow furrows, "I don't feel like I was this way before…?" A look of query at Sevreni, but not really expecting an answer he hefts the tome (a book of star charts) and levers up to his feet. T'ral's got nothing to say about the Acting Weyrleader. The vigor of youth sees him to his feet, even burdened by the tome, faster than Sevreni. He nods, "Deal." The young bluerider holds a hand out to Sevreni to help her up. So gentlemanly. Or does he think she needs help getting her old bones outta the chair?

The former is flattering, the latter ludricous; if T'ral has any deisre to survive there'll be no aspersions about age. Sevreni takes the hand, of course, and allows him to pull her up. "Whether you deserved it or not is not the issue at hand. The issue…" Her mouth snaps shut, and there's a fine, almost febrile rill of irritation that runs through her. "You are as you are now. I'll see you tomorrow. See if you can wheedle some juice out of Ardstelle as well, please." With that and a squeeze of his hand, she makes for the exit.

"Good night. I'll see to it." T'ral heads to the Archives. Don't want any of those books to go astray, eh? He sketches a salute to Sevreni as their paths finally diverge and, bleary, but still restive, seeks out Esanth. A flight would do his head some good. Who'll know?

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