Who

Quae, T'ral, Rhydian

What

Quae, a newcomer to Southern, meets some of the Weyr's denizens.

When

It is afternoon of the thirteenth day of the fourth 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 seventy-third day of Autumn and 84 degrees. Partly cloudy, the storm seems to have almost pass, occasional short falls of rain painting the ground.


Quae wanders in and heads directly for the fish stew, ladling the stuff into her bowl until it threatens to spill over the rim. Bowl in one hand, she picks up a spoon in the other and hooks her thumb and forefinger through the handle of a mug of klah. Thus loaded down with her between-meals meal, she casts an eye around for a comfortable, empty seat.

T'ral, buried in hides, looks up from his study and glances around the hearth. He quickly gathers up his hides and stands, gesturing to his empty seat, "Here, take this one," there's an endtable nearby and a low table in front. He re-settles himself into a squishy wingback, scanning down the page in front of him. He blinks. Shifts. Blinks again and then reaches behind himself to pull a pillow from the small of his back. He sets it aside and dark eyes fall on what he's registered now as a new face, "Afternoon. I can't say I recognize you. New to the Weyr?"

Quae seems surprised to be noticed, but slips gratefully into the free seat. She arranges her various encumberances on the low table in front of her. Flashing a relieved smile at T'ral, she tucks into her stew, but pauses first to answer his question. "You've a sharp eye, or at least a good memory for faces," she says in her low, soft voice. "Yes, I'm new. Just arrived from the Igen area, looking for an apprenticeship. I'm Quae." She blows on her stew to cool it and takes a bite, savoring the flavor. "And you are?"

His eyes flick back to the hides, a considering look in his eye, "Both," he answers off-handedly. He blinks at the hides. They'd keep. He straightens the stack, rolling them loosely. He stands, bowing at the waist, rolled hides held against his belly. An inclination of his head accompanies the introduction, "T'ral, blue Esanth's. A pleasure, Quae." Sharp eyes note a lack of beverage. "I'm getting a re-fill," of the glass he left behind on the endtable at Quae's elbow, "Want anything?"

Quae waves his request away with a hand, scraping up another spoonful of stew. "No, I'm right, thanks. Shoulda probably known you were a bluerider, eh? Guess I'll have to work on my own powers of perception." She pauses, considers something, and looks to T'ral with a hopeful expression. "Hey, do you hear much about 'riders from other Weyrs? Like, the 'Reaches, maybe? You heard anything about a brownrider named R'fan? He's my brother. We don't get to talk much." She looks away for a moment, then resumes eating. "I hear it's pretty tough up there. Heard the only thing colder than the winters is their attitude towards 'riders who don't cut it."

T'ral chuckles, with a rueful grin, "The knots tend to be a giveaway." He squints at the loops, "Blue's a little dark to make out though." He shrugs disappearing and returning with a mug and resuming his seat with a neat fold of limbs. He rubs at his face, it's drawn and tired for a moment, "High Reaches has had a rough time of it. You heard about their goldrider?" She was killed in Threadfall. Had to be living under a rock to not have heard. Or on a ship. T'ral had come South that way. He shakes his head, hands going to the arms of his chair, "I haven't heard anything. But I'll keep an ear out. You worried he's not cutting it?"

Quae finishes up her stew and nudges the bowl away, sinking back into the cushions of her chair. She uses her toes to pull off her boots and draws her knees up to her chest, looks back at T'ral and shrugs. "He's probably doing okay. He's always been a competitive perfectionist jerk. But, y'know, he's MY competitive perfectionist jerk, and I don't want him to be too worried. I did know of the goldrider… very sad. Makes me happy my boots stay planted firmly on the soil, yep. What did you do before you Impressed?" She waves a hand expansively, gesturing to the piles of hides. "Somethin' educated, looks like."

T'ral grins, lopsided, "Great riders up there," a pursing of lips, "Just ask 'em." He leans down to snag and chuck the pillow he'd fished from his chair to Quae, aiming for the cushion next to her. Hugging those knees… she seemed, vulnerable, more worried than she was letting on, maybe. Watchful bluerider that he is, T'ral makes note. He nods, eyes dropping, at the mention of the High Reaches Weyrwoman. He takes a deep breath, "Hmm? Before?" He reaches out to smooth the hides he'd put on the sidetable, "Apprenticed at Harper Hall. Archiving. So, yeah, 'educated.'" Nerdy. He looks at the hidestack, lips pursed. He takes up his mug and settles into the chair, "And you?" His eyes dip to the knot, "An Apprentice, what craft?"

Quae notices T'ral's eyes on her knot and touches it self-consciously, fingering the delicate braid. "Oh, this. Farmcraft. Just recently. My father is— was a Master back in Igen. Old Igen. We came here to help with the farming so that all the oldtimers wouldn't be too much of a burden, you know, all those extra mouths to feed. When my father found out his rank wouldn't be recognized by the Igen farmcrafters, though, he decided to just… retire, I guess is the word for it. I had been studying a bit under him, but after that, he sent me here." She looks around, taking in the seating arrangements, the vaulted ceiling, the polished floor. "He thinks the crafters here have a better approach to things. You know, old folks and new folks, working together." She chews a lip, lost in thought for a moment as she picks up the tossed pillow and wedges it next to her legs. "Have you been here at Southern long? Did you come here as a candidate, or…?"

"Farmcraft," T'ral sits forward, nearly sloshing the drink in his mug, he takes a moment to watch it carefully and then dark eyes return to Quae, "You must be excited to hear about the grubs!" Clearly T'ral is. His eyes shadow at the mention of how her father and his rank had been treated. Jaw muscles bunch, "That's a sore spot for me." The bluerider winces, "I sorta… un-recognized myself at Harper Hall to come South and learn from the Harpers here. Try to," he cocks his head back and forth, "Piece together what we lost," His eyes shadow again, a flash of anger and hurt, but only briefly, "and," he adjusts his position eyes lighting, "How we lost it." He shrugs, "I figure if we could work that out, we could," fingers flare around the mug, "Guard against it." He sits back, "Life's a lot different down here than I expected it would be." He blinks, contemplatively, "Uh. Two and a half turns. Give or take."

Quae grins, pleased that she has something to offer. She had looked uncertain about T'ral's piles of skins and his educated background, but grubs — now, grubs she understands. "Yeah, the grubs! Exciting stuff - should be real promisin' for all of us if we can track 'em down, right? They're gross little buggers, but mightily helpful - whatever helps, right? The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and I'm not mightily fond of Thread, so I guess I'm gonna be cuddling up to some grubs." She smiles at him, genuinely pleased by his response to her father's story. "It sounds real rough to have left so much behind, but you seem like a man of principle. How're you liking it? I'll tell you, I thought coming from Igen would prepare me for the heat here, but it's such a different heat. Some days it feels like I'm swimmin', not walkin'. 'Specially if it's rained a bunch."

T'ral shakes his head, a look of profound relief on his face, that haggard harshness returning to otherwise boyish features, "All the green here. It was unsettling. A whole continent of Thread food and no way any Weyr could cover it all." He breathes a huff from his nose, lips pressed together, "You can read about a thing," he gestures at the hides, "But until you see it, it's hard to countenance." He scrubs hands over his face, "I'm glad the grubs are healthy." A moment of thought and then a sympathetic wilting, "I left things behind?" T'ral snorts, "Yeah." A watery smile, "Principle." For all the good it does him. "The weather is a big adjustment. I came from Fort." With, you know, SEASONS. "I was miserable for a solid month and then decided to be miserable gracefully." It also might have had something to do with Impressing a dragon who's mindscape was the chilly void of space. Maybe. There are sweat stains on his clothes, dark patches, and a sheen on his forehead and arms. "This is the cool season."

"A lot of green," Quae agrees, nodding vigorously. "I haven't achieved grace yet, but maybe in some more time. Coming from Igen helps — at least my wardrobe is appropriate, even if I do find myself changing throughout the day after I sweat through my first tunic." Sexy, Quae. Sexy. "It's been an interesting adjustment. Most of what I know about farming relates to the Igen area, so pretty much getting water out of rocks. Hot, red rocks. To come here… well, it's like being spoiled for choice, really. Things we could never dream of growing in Igen run rampant here. Cripes, half the battle here seems to be stopping the greenery from choking us all in our sleep. The vines even grow through the rocks, poppin' out like… like…" She doesn't know, and trails off hopelessly.

"Igen is miserable," a healthy leavening of bitterness there. Whoa. He blinks, "Ah, I'm sure it was lovely in your day." He shifts on the chair, taking a sip from the mug mostly to cover embarrassment. Water. There's water EVERYWHERE at Southern. "Too much of a good thing sometimes. You'll have flood waters to deal with and a bevy of new fauna that want to eat your tender, little croplets." What?! T'ral pays attention to all the news of the Weyr, even the 'boring' stuff. He rubs his throat, thinking of choking vines, "I had that same thought," he blinks, laughing, looking a bit embarrassed. At Quae struggling for words his eyebrows raise, "Weeds?" T'ral supplies. Sometimes the simplest answer was best. He glances at the sandglass on the mantle and his eyes widen. "My pardon, Quae. I've a shift to get to." He stands and downs the contents of his mug and gathers up the hides. "Welcome to Southern," he bows again, briefly and cocks his head, "Try not to drown," a quick smile and then he's turned away and off, bootheels ringing on the cavern floor.

Try not to drown? Cheery! Quae gives T'ral's back a strange look as he leaves, then rises and goes to fill her klah mug — it's never too hot for klah, right? Holding the full mug in both hands, she returns to her armchair, sinking into the pillows once more and resuming her people-watching. Anything to avoid more of the hauling-of-the-baskets, harvesting-of-the-foods, and general apprentice drudgery.

Maybe it's been a long day, or maybe he's just naturally dishevelled - but whatever the reason, Rhydian is a /mess/ when he escapes the buzz of the living caverns for the quiet of the hearth. He's already got himself a drink and food, the latter being a plate of nibbles, the former something tall and possibly alcholic, and he settles himself into one of the chairs beside Quae. The journeyman blinks at her as he arranges his plate and glass, giving her a distracted smile as he ruffles the tangled curls of his hair - releasing a cloud of dust. It makes him sneeze… and then he acts like nothing at all happened, reaching for the noms on his plate.

Quae is no stranger to dirt, of course. She works in it day in, day out, and treks more than her fair share of it into every space in the Weyr. She's probably growing tubers in her ears right now. Still, fastidious evening bathing practices mean that she is generally presentable by the time she shows up in the 'Caverns, and that is the case now. "Catching cold?" she asks in response to his sneeze, arching an eyebrow sympathetically. "Everyone keeps telling me this is the cool season. You'll forgive me if I am somewhat skeptical. Damp, perhaps… horrendously, suffocatingly muggy. But not cool."

Rhydian looks up at Quae, blinking curiously at her. "Cold?" His nose wrinkles, and he shakes his head - causing another shower of dust to twinkle through the air as it leaves his brown locks. "I, er… no, this isn't cold." The journeyman's halting accent is pure High Reaches. "It /is/ the cooler season, but, ah, it's not cold. Humid, though, yes." He raises a meatroll to his lips, taking a hearty bite from it and studying Quae as he chews.

Rhydian's accent isn't lost on Quae, and she immediately leans forward, staring at the poor Starcrafter intensely. "Is that a 'Reaches accent?" she asks boldly, trying not to flinch at the dust-shower. "Have you been here long? My brother is there, I've been trying to see if anyone knows of him. He's… uh, very busy." The Reaches has a reputation for running their 'riders a bit ragged, after all. "R'fan is his name. He rides a brown… uh… Penrith's the name, I think. Haven't seen him since he Impressed, and it's been a few Turns." A pause, and a headtilt. "Did you know, um, you're really dusty?" You know, in case he was unaware. Quae would want someone to tell her if she was raining dirt clods, after all.

"'Reaches, yes." Rhydian nods, brushing crumbs from the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand. "You're… not, though? I… hrm. Your accent. It's…" Unplaceable, it would seem, as Rhyd shrugs when he can't quite put his finger on it. "I've been here, ah, maybe… maybe a turn now? I've not been, ahaha, keeping track. Not sure I've met a R'fan before, either." He shakes his head, brow furrowing in thought. "Nono, can't place the name. Um… yes. The dust. I… I was hungry. Keroon was, um… there was a big dust storm. Very strong winds."

Quae looks crestfallen a moment, then quickly recovers, moving on to less person topics. "Oh, nevermind, then. Just wondering. It's Igen— my accent, I mean. I guess. I think maybe it's not as strong as, uh… now." She gestures loosely, perhaps at the room, the Weyr in general, the entire time period, suggesting that maybe what Rhydian hears is an accent that marks her as an Oldtimer. "Keroon? Yes, I imagine it's dusty there. You were there… recently?" Her inquiry is innocent, eyes wide. Presumably she doesn't think Rhydian has been this dusty for weeks or months on end…

The dust in his hair must be making him itchy, as Rhydian starts scratching through his curls again. "Just now. We were there in the dust storm." He sneezes again, quickly hiding his mouth in the crook of his arm - the force of the sneeze makes dust fly from the fabric of his tunic, too. He's /drowning/ in it. "I, er, wanted something to eat before… um, bathing. Changing. Ah… hrm. Maybe I brought half the plains back with me. Haha."

Quae moves back slightly, out of sneeze-range, and wrinkles her nose delicately. "Looks like," she agrees, watching the dust fall from his curls. "Did you talk to any farmers while you were there? I imagine the storms are wreaking havoc on the crops. Winds that strong can blow the topsoil clear away if y'don't have a good treeline for protection." She pauses, cocks her head, and says mostly to herself, "Of course, in a place like Keroon, there probably isn't too many trees to begin with. Mostly just grasslands and desert, I think, 'least near the Hold… Knew I should've paid more attention when Mother was giving her lessons."

Rhydian blinks at Quae. "Um, no… no, I didn't… they, uh… y'know. Sand flying." He raises his hand swirling it around in the air to suggest just how /much/ sand was flying. "They stay indoors. Sandstorms aren't, ah, something you, y'know, haha, play in." Unless you're him, it would seem. The journeyman sets his plate down on the floor so he can stand up and step away from Quae, to a spot where he's able to shake himself down without getting too much sand on anyone else - though there's plenty goes on the floor. When he sees it, he frowns. "Oh. Shit. Um… don't tell Renalde, 'kay?" He pushes his glasses up his nose, then slinks back to the seat he just left behind. "Keroon's a lot of plains, yes. Winds get up fast," he's miming it all out with hand gestures again, sound effects too, "pick up the sand," wiggled fingers signify sand, "and it all… flies. Not so nice. I prefer proper storms."

Quae's lips twitch in a small grin at the pile of reddish dust that now sits conspicuously on the cavern floor. "So what took you to Keroon, anyway? Pretty long way from home, assuming home is here. You some sort of… storm-scholar? Or just a thrillseeker?" The klah in her mug has dwindled down to a few dregs, and she drains them and pulls a face. "Urgh. One day I'll learn to drink and talk at the same time, then perhaps I won't be stuck swallowing lukewarm klah so often."

"Oh, I, er, yes. Storm… scholar? Storm-scholar. I… I think I like that." He grins, standing back up to offer his hand to Quae. "Journeyman Rhydian, um… Starcraft. Stormcraft, hahah." The awkward laugh is followed by him ruffling fingers through his hair again, then by pushing his glasses higher up his nose. Not that they needed it. "I study storms. Not so much now that, ah, thread is falling, but if I can get a ride, I do. A-and you?"

Quae shakes the offered hand firmly - sorry, she's got a bit of a grip. No limp fish handshakes here. "Well met. I'm Quae — I guess Apprentice Quae, now," she remembers, raising a hand to touch her new knot. "Farmcrafter. My father is— was Master Quelloran. Just Quelloran now, I suppose, since we… you know, arrived. I couldn't apprentice under him at Igen because he's not considered a Master there now, so he sent me here to study. Mostly I do a lot of the heavy lifting." She laughs and flexes an arm, and indeed, it's bulging with ropey muscles. "Y'gotta start breeding some burly Southern stock down here if you want to bring in bigger harvests!"

"Quae." Rhydian's not at all phased by the hearty handshake, or the rank confusion… or the muscles. He's got his own in that department, though Quae's are indeed impressive. "I, um, don't know much about harvesting, but… well, welcome. Food is good. It's, ah, good that there's, y'know, more people to… to make the food. Grow it. To /grow/ the food." He grins at her, then picks up his plate to start nibbling away at the yummies it holds. "Your father came with you?"

"Food is good," Quae agrees. At the mention of her father, or at least his arrival here, a dark look passes over her face but is gone as quickly as it came. "I came with him, more like," she explains. "They thought it would be a good idea to bring him along so that his farmer knowledge could help with increasing food production to support all the additional 'riders and dragons, but it's been… complicated." She turns, as though looking through the cavern walls toward Igen. "I imagine it's difficult to survive for so long doing tihngs one way and then have a bunch of strangers show up and try tell you they have better ideas. It hasn't been easy on our family, and I think— well, nevermind what I think. I'm here now, and hopefully I can be of some assistance, even if it is just hauling in the harvest. Is everyone in your family a Starcrafter?" In her experience, farming tends to be a family tradition passed down through generations - at least in her case.

Rhydian is quite fond of food, as the rapidly shrinking pile of it on his plate suggests. "I think the, uh, Oldtimers shook things up pretty bad when they arrived." His instantly assumption is that that is what Quae means, when she talks about complications, strangers and their better ideas. Her question of everyone in his family being a Starcrafter makes him shake his head. "No. Nono. Women don't take crafts in my family. My father's a Master Starcrafter. My little brother, uh, he's an Apprentice in the Seacraft. I… well, da didn't like my ideas of studying storms - did you know there's a link between storms and the arrival of thread? I wanted to, uh, explore that, and so, well, there's a few of us here… I like storms."

Quae looks green at just the /mention/ of the Seacraft. She's a girl who loves her solid ground. She's intrigued by Rhydian's studies, though, not being much of a scientist herself. "That could be useful," she muses. "You're saying, like… patterns in the storms could warn us that threadfall is coming? We could be more prepared if we paid more attention to the storms, then." Hrm. An interesting idea, and a new one for Quae, though admittedly she has never spoken long with any other Starcrafters. As she mulls it over, though, a yawn rises up and she puts her hand politely over her mouth. "Goodness. I didn't realize it was so late. I should get going — early mornings, you know how it is." Or maybe he doesn't. Either way. "It was real nice to meet you, … Rhydian," she remembers, flashing a smile. "Hope to see you 'round some more soon."

She /gets/ it. Without him even having to explain! Quae /gets it/, and Rhydian looks up at her with the biggest, happiest smile /ever/. "Exactly. Patterns!" That's it; Quae goes down in his likeable book. When she yawns, he nods. "Oh, yes. It's about time to… turn in. Yes. Nice meeting you, Quae. I'll, ah, see you around, sometime?" He finger-wiggles a wave at her, then goes back to eating his food. Food is good.

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