Ginger, Kyriatis


Two teens decry adulthood - and spread conspiracies.


It is early morning of the sixteenth day of the eighth month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Archive Library

OOC Date 02 Apr 2018 23:00


ginger_default.jpg kyriatis_default.jpg

"I mean, she never liked me much, but that doesn't mean she's insane…."


Archive Library

Where once books reigned supreme, this open space is now dominated by a stalwart skybroom reaching to the sky through a broken ceiling. What was once evidence of collapse is now ornately carved with engraved ivy, matched by a clever contraption of stone that allows the gap to be closed in inclement weather. A small garden occupies the space around the tree-trunk, all manicured bushes and flowering shrubbery enclosed by a grated gutter. The walls are lined with bookcases, while a spiral staircase leans on the western wall to wind upwards to the second level. Tucked in the corners and scattered in the main areas are tables and chairs, cafe-style, and comfortably worn overstuffed armchairs. It is the perfect place for individuals to gather, to enjoy the offerings of the food-cart or a spirited conversation.

It's early; most people are at breakfast so the library is almost empty, and the food trolley doesn't have a lot on it at present. There's some juice in a half-empty jug, some biscuits that are a touch soft from being left out overnight, and various bits of fruit and cheese under a glass dome. Clearly the morning's refill hasn't yet happened. Ginger's making the best of it; fruit, biscuits and cheese are on a small plate beside her as she works; there's also a nearly-empty glass of some orange-coloured juice, dangerously close to her flying pen. Her eyes are blearly and blinking; she looks thoroughly sleepy, but she's still frantically scribbling calculations.

An early-bird by nature, it's not terribly unusual to find Kyriatis skipping into the library at this hour, secateurs in hand (did no one ever warn her not to run with sharp objects?!). Her footsteps make a soft thudding sound upon the floor as she moves, coming to an abrupt halt in front of the trolley— and promptly resulting in a much larger thud as she (presumably) drops the secateurs altogether: at least they miss landing upon her foot, for all that she exclaims, "Ouch!" rather as if they had.

Ginger looks up, and murmurs, "Careful!" in the way people do when it's far too late for care to make any difference. "Oh, Kyriatis! Crumbs, are people coming in already? Don't tell me I'm late for class! I thought I must have time to get this done!" Panic tinges her voice as she looks down at the hide in front of her. "It's almost finished…." She reaches for her glass and gulps down the rest of the juice.

Kyriatis crouches to pick up the stray shears, guilty-faced and a little embarrassed, especially as she recognises Ginger. Still, she's quick to reassure the older girl, promising, "No, you're fine, honest - I'm early. It's still early." Her voice is a little muffled as she says that, but becomes more audible as, standing, she turns to peer in the redhead's direction. "Whatcha working on?"

"A big exercise - lots of maths." Ginger sounds frustrated as she explains, "I've been working on it for two days, and I just couldn't get it right, and then I woke up in the middle of the night with the solution clear in my head. Got to hand it in this morning, so I came over here to write it up - didn't want the Masters finding me around the workroom at that hour. And it's almost done. Let me just put the last few lines down and then I'll have a brain again." And she goes back to writing, the symbols and numbers flowing from the pen as if she were reading it from some internalised page. It's a minute or so before she stops, scans it, and lets out a deep breath. "There. Done."

'Maths' makes Kyriatis wrinkle her nose (though, to be fair, most things related to education tend to do that - a natural scholar she is not), but she obligingly nods enthusiastically, and even shuts up long enough for the apprentice to finish writing up her answer. The time gets used to pour some juice, the now-recovered secateurs placed upon the trolley for (presumed) safekeeping, as she meanders her way closer to Ginger. "Congratulations? I mean, I bet it feels good that it's done."

Ginger thinks for a moment, and sounds quite surprised as she conclude, "Yes. Yes, it does! It'd better be right! Oh, my, and I'm hungry now I'm not writing." She wipes the nib of her pen and carefully blots her work with sand from a jar, then arranges pieces of cheese on one of the stale biscuits and takes a bite. "I think that's been out too long," she says gloomily. "How are you doing? Actually, what are you doing, these days? I keep meaning to ask Ravi about you, and I never seem to get round to it." Ravi is Ginger's sister, two turns younger than Ginger.

"They'll probably bring new ones out soon," offers Kyri, wrinkling her nose at the prospect of stale biscuits, not to mention (as she adds a moment later), "Unless the flour has all been poisoned too!" Her fingers twist together behind her back, keeping them occupied as she adds, "I don't seem to see Ravi as much these days, either. I guess that's what happens when you're not in harper lessons together anymore. I'm good, though! Gardening." A pause. "Weeding, mostly. But that'll change."

"Oh, right, I did a bit of that. About two sevendays. Then I pulled up- Well, let's not go into that. D'you like it?" Ginger giggles. "I'll tell Ravi I saw you, if I see her. But she's getting terribly ladylike. Actually wants people to call her Ravira - you know how she used to hate the full thing!" She eyes the biscuit in her hand. "I suppose you could poison flour. If it's close enough to sweetener to hide it in that, it'd maybe have bigger grains than flour, but still, you can grind stuff down. And if it's white…" It doesn't stop her from taking another bite.

Big, big eyes suggest Kyriatis is imagining exactly what kind of thing Ginger might have pulled up; truly, she's horrified. "I do like it," she confirms. "But not enough to want to be a farmcrafter or anything." Ravira's change of heart can only draw a bemused shake of the head; in any case, the teen is much more interested in the prospect of being poisoned. "It's probably for the best if it isn't in the flour. I mean, besides the obvious, I guess. But it's terrible, not being able to have sweetener."

"Yep. Flour's in everything," Ginger says, stressing the word. "Bread. Pastries. Biscuits. Meatrolls!" However would Pern function without the humble meatroll! "I'm really glad I don't take sweetener in klah any more." She lowers her voice. "D'you really think Laeiva did it, like they're saying? She'd have to be stark staring crazy! I mean, she never liked me much, but that doesn't mean she's insane…."

"I heard," or possibly made up, who can tell, "that she intended to take us all down, one by one, until no one was left alive at all. I've never met a homicidal maniac before!" Kyriatis' eyes are wide again, though she seems almost ghoulishly excited by this prospect; it's all a little exciting. "But maybe she was framed. Maybe it was… Ardstelle, or someone else! And now they've killed her off too and hidden the body."

"Weren't there people sick just after Ardstelle came back? When Laeiva was away?" Ginger glances around before she speaks, and keeps her voice low of confidential as she lets her imagination run wild. "But maybe that was Laeiva trying to frame Ardstelle! Maybe she planted the poison in something before she went! It's not as if they've ever liked each other!" Rather the opposite, as anyone who grew up in the lower caverns knows perfectly well.

Kyriatis can't help herself: she gasps, immediately clasping one hand over her mouth as she attempts to recover her composure. "Oh gosh," she says, as she draws her hand away. "There could be poison in anything, Ginger, just waiting. All because of some stupid feud between two people who don't like each other. Sometimes I think adults are just ridiculous."

"Aren't they just!" Ginger pauses for thought. "It's kind of worrying that we're going to turn into them, isn't it?" She's just turned seventeen, which is adult by Pernese standards! "But why now? I mean, they hated each other for years before, without feeling the need to go murdering people. Maybe she really is crazy - whichever one it is." She eyes her biscuit again. "I wonder if anyone did think to check the flour…."

"I'm never going to be like that," Kyriatis avers, shoulders drawing back. "And if I am, someone should stake me out in Threadfall to put me out of my misery!" Mouth drawing in, she considers the situation at hand— not to mention Ginger's biscuit. "I wouldn't eat it, if I were you. One of them must have snapped. Someone must have heard something, or seen something! Or maybe one of them kept a diary, you know, their whole descent into madness… someone should search their quarters." Invasion of privacy, go!

Ginger frowns. "Surely they'd have searched Laeiva's, seeing as they're looking for her!" Privacy? What's that? Ginger takes the lack of it for granted. But she does lay down the rest of her biscuit, then picks up the piece of cheese on top with her fingertips and just eats that instead. "I suppose, not all adults go round murdering people. Some of them are pretty decent, really. It's just, most of them seem to lose touch with, well, how things are." She considers that further. "If you're us, I mean."

"Maybe," allows Kyriatis. "But I bet they haven't searched Ardstelle's. Of course, Laeiva could've planted evidence, so who even knows." Her sigh is loudly dramatic: this is all so complicated! "No, I know. They're mostly okay. They're just so… serious, I guess? And I can be serious, too, but… but I guess I get tired of how they see things, and forget how they really are. Forget what it's like. I don't want to be like that."

"Or Ardstelle could have had time to plant evidence on Laeiva." Ginger bites her lip. "But if they're - or one of them is - just plain mad, I guess they wouldn't think to do that sort of thing? Or can you be mad and devious at the same time?" Her head tilts a little as she reconsiders. "I suppose you'd have to be, though - because who'd appoint a crazy Headwoman? Or head cook." Ginger's understanding of mental health issues is a little lacking. "Or maybe she wasn't always crazy. Neither of them ever looked crazy. Maybe something made them that way. And you'd have to be either very mad or very bad to go round poisoning people. Or maybe both."

Kyriatis presses her own lips together unhappily. "I don't think I trust either of them, anymore," she admits, a little woeful. "And that's so sad, because I've known them," as authority figures, "for so long. Forever." Perhaps it's a good thing that she abandoned her glass of juice after pouring it, though perhaps she should have kept the secateurs, just in case. "Something must have made them that way. Something must have happened, something terrible. It'd almost make you feel sorry for them." Almost.

"Laeiva had things happen," Ginger says thoughtfully. "You knew Saevian, didn't you? S'vian, I should say?" Though he wasn't that while they were growing up. "He wasn't much older than me. And, do you remember that little girl she had with her for a bit? That was her granddaughter, and I heard that riders brought the mother's body back here after the storm." Ginger's ear has been pressed firmly to the ground, it seems. "And Ma said, there were other kids they didn't find."

Kyriatis' nod comes with pinkened cheeks: someone had a crush on young S'vian, once upon a time. But now is not the time for such thoughts— the gardener's expression is serious, her teeth resting tightly upon the skin of her lower lip. "That would be enough to make a person snap, I think," she says, finally. "I mean, it could be enough. And then she started killing us all because we didn't save them. That's…" She shivers, visibly. "That's so sad."

Ginger's eyes widen. "Marsha - she was his wingleader! And there were those guys from Jaguar - didn't Jaguar take the Black Rock people back? They took her granddaughter away! But why all the others? There's been loads of people ill. I mean really ill, not just a bit ill like I was. Does she blame the whole Weyr?" She looks genuinely troubled at the thought. "If you wrote it in a novel and left it round the caverns," like certain romances that Ginger would of course not deign to read, "everyone would say it was way too far-fetched."

For the second time in the course of this conversation, Kyriatis gasps out loud, and clasps a hand over her mouth as she glances around quickly, presumably making sure they're not being observed. "Maybe—" she begins, as she looks back at the redhead. Unfortunately(?) at that moment there is the sound of approaching footsteps, and the gardener positively jumps. Red-faced and wide-eyed, she says, with barely a break between words, "I should get to work but we should talk about this more later and find out!" And then she'll grab for those secateurs… and duck towards the plants. Nothing to see here! (Because clearly this conversation was somehow dangerous.)

"And I must pack up and get to my lesson!" Ginger gathers up her things as quickly as she can, and she's off, leaving a half-eaten biscuit on the plate behind her. Oh well. It's not likely to endanger anyone else with that big a chunk missing!

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