Fort Weyr - Living Caverns
This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.
Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.


It's winter and it's drizzly outside, and it's cold and fairly miserable. Along the top of the bowl the drizzle has iced over where the wind can get to it, and the floor of the bowl itself is ankles-deep in sucking mud. It is the perfect day for people to curl up by the fire with sweet rolls and a steaming hot mug of klah.

Except… there is no klah.

Not a drop of the fragrant brown drink is to be found anywhere in the Weyr, barring the odd personal hoard here and there. Thunderous scowls accompany the stomp of dissatisfied feet when people are denied their favorite beverage. Standing at the door to the kitchens, M'lo looks rather aghast at the news. "What do you mean there's no klah?" he asks a cook. "The shipment arrived yesterday, we should have enough for the next month. How can there be /no klah/?"

K'drozen makes his way into the living cavern, appearing distant and surly as well. Shaking he water out of his hair he sighs as she near the serving table and hears the pronouncement of no more klah. A deep frown creases his face until he sees who is speak and begins to turn to find a place to sit instead of speakig up himself, Having not spoken to the weyrsecond since his incarseration.

Drizzly, cold or miserable it won't keep the Weyrleader from his usual dawn patrols and rounds of the Weyr's nearby territories. Having seen Velokraeth settled comfortably to his ledge, Th'ero paused only long enough to gain another companion and changing from soaked, mud speckled clothing into warmer, drier clothes before making the trek across the Weyr. He'd be one of those looking forwards to something warm and hot to drink to take the chill from his bones, so as he enters the living caverns from the outside, he frowns as he overhears the conversation by the kitchens. Brushing some of the water from his jacket, he gives the one accompanying him a sidelong look and a low and hushed murmur. Straightening, Th'ero then exhales heavily. Looks like his day of problems is starting early? Unknowing of the true scope of the situation, he steps forwards to where the Weyrsecond still stands in conversation with the cook. "Morning, M'lo," he murmurs with a respectful nod to the brownrider, the same echoed to the cook. "Everything alright?"

Th'ero whispers "I think that is M'lo over there by the kitchens. He looks annoyed. Everyone does. I'm not back for even a candlemark and the Weyr is going to the pits. What is it now?" to Kimmila.

Kimmila has spent the morning on her own patrols, visiting a few distant cotholds and delivering some supplies. She walks in beside Th'ero, pushing back the hood of her jacket and stomping mud from her boots. Tilting her head to listen, she gives him a smirk and soft reply before following with him, eyes scanning the room.

Kimmila whispers "A Weyrleader's work is never done."

"I don't know, sir," the cook says, wringing his hands. His face is bright red, but then it usually is. "I was told it came in, just like you was. But it's not there. We've looked everywhere! Three times! We even looked in storage rooms that haven't been used since my grandfather was knee-high to a vtol!"

M'lo slaps a palm to his forehead, then runs that hand over his face a few times while a long groan issues from his throat. He turns to Th'ero and Kimmila, glances at K'drozen. To his boss he says, "No, not alright. There is no klah."

K'drozen slips into the seat near by lowering his head tring to slip from notice as he sighs deeply, listening in on but not joining the near by conversations.

Th'ero only snorts to Kimmila's murmured reply, lips pressed into a firm line. Doesn't seem as though the Weyrleader is in too good a mood this drizzly morning. Dark eyes shift to the cook as he wrings his hands and blathers on. Storage rooms? Searching? Slowly something begins to piece together and he shoots his weyrmate another sidelong look. M'lo's groan has him the focus next by Th'ero's gaze, which rapidly narrows under a deepening frown. "How is that possible? Were we shorted on our tithes?" he asks. "And the shortage is only being noticed now?"

Kimmila frowns, glancing around and then looking thoughtful. Wondering, perhaps, where she could get her own klah? The bluerider loves her klah.

"I — I don't know!" M'lo says. He sounds frustrated. "Who ordered the shipment?" he asks, glancing from Th'ero to the cook. The cook just wrings his hands some more and gives the Weyrleader a pleading look. "It was Jajenelja, wasn't it? Isn't that her duty?"
M'lo pages: Feel free to bring her in whenever you like.

K'drozen says softly, "Perhaps it was just misplaced. Got packed in with stuff taken over to the crafters or something…" Almost immediately wishing he had not spoken up he looks back to the table before him, yeah thats it.

Th'ero's mood darkens as his questions are answered with nothing but more questions and he lifts his hand up to brush irritably at a strand of his damp hair. When his hand lowers, it gently grips Kimmila's arm. The cook's pleading look is all but ignored but it does get the man another sharp glance, "Jajenelja was in charge of shipments this month, yes." he replies crisply, as if uncertain to give so much information freely. Then the cook is dismissed (not literally) by the Weyrleader as he turns to find where K'drozen is seated, his comment overheard. "Perhaps," he says, "But unlikely. I'd like to think the Wingriders in Roc would question such an oddity." Th'ero grimaces then, now just as frustrated as M'lo is at the news.

Speak of the devil and she shall arrive? Whether Velokraeth bespoke Iaverulth or Jajenelja has an ironic sense of timing in strolls the goldrider. The plain young girl is still as gangly as ever, still growing into herself despite being closer to her sixteenth or seventeenth Turn by now. Her mousy blonde hair is twirled into a neat bun and she breezes into the living cavern without a care to the world. Blissfully unaware, it seems, as to watch she's about to walk into. "Morning!" she greets a little too cheerfully, though her bright smile soon falters for the looks she receives — particularily from Th'ero. Uh oh.

Kimmila glances sidelong at Th'ero when he grips her arm, and she reaches up her hand to rest over the top of his. Silent support? "Doubtful," she murmurs, glancing around. "Perhaps it was stolen," she mutters, too low for anyone but Th'ero or M'lo to hear. Then as Jajenelja enters, the bluerider sizes up the young goldrider, and just shakes her head. Someone's in troooouble.

"Someone messed up somewhere," M'lo sighs, pulling a mournful face at his empty klah mug. "Might as well start at the top and work our way down." The poor cook turns and flees into the relative safety of the kitchen as soon as no one is looking at him. Jajenelja's arrival has M'lo giving the girl a squinty-eyed assessment, like he's trying really hard to remember something. Which likely is exactly what's happening. He glances at Th'ero, takes in the man's stormy expression, and steps forward. He gives the young goldrider what is meant to be a soothing smile. "Jajen," he says. "It seems the cooks can't find the klah. It's, uh, not there. Now… I am pretty sure I got a report saying that it had been ordered, and the cook was told that it arrived, or so he claims. Do you maybe know anything about this?" he asks. Totally not accusing her at all.

K'drozen winces as the weyrleaders respondes to him but nods, "Probably not likely sir but is is a possiblity." still not looking to the weyr leaders or there group.

It could be silent support, as Th'ero slips closer to Kimmila's side and his hand does not pull away from her touch. Could be he's seeking his weyrmate to stay grounded, as the morning is proving to already test his temper. "Stolen?" he almost hisses in an incredulous exhale, eyes flashing as his logical mind grasps that part of the puzzle. Possible? "Could be a prank." he adds in a tone that suggests that any weyrbrats behind it will expected tanned backsides by the end of it. Jajenelja is given a cold look, but as M'lo steps forwards he keeps his mouth shut and comments bitten back.

Jajen brazingly shoots Th'ero a rebellious look, like any teen her age would do before her eyes drift over to Kimmila. She gives the bluerider an equal sizing up and then snorts softly, almost distainfully. Not worth her /time/ or perhaps she's envious of the woman. Who knows! She's young and a bit dimwitted in her naive and green-nature. M'lo's comments have her wary and uncertain at first, but his tactic works — for a bit. She tries to give him an innocent look, almost pouting and perhaps it would have worked on a prettier girl but Jajen is not. "I'm certain that all the paperwork was in order. I made sure to have it double checked this time. So I don't know anything about the klah, honest!" She plants her hands on her hips then, giving all riders present a narrowed and hurt look as it dawns on her. "So, you looking to pin the blame on me again? I'm not stupid you know!" No, she's just so young and untried.

"A prank would be the best outcome," M'lo agrees with Th'ero very quietly so that the bronzerider and his lover are likely the only ones to hear him. "If it's stolen or if Jajen was that incompetant…" he shakes his head. And then he listens to Jajen. "We're not looking to pin the blame on anyone, just yet," he assures her. "We're just trying to figure out what happened is all. If you're sure that you did your part, where do you think the problem occurred?" he asked.

K'drozen pushes back from his chair and stands turning to moves way from the group discussing the klah sistuation and heading towards the exit to the cavern.

"If it's a prank… then how did that much klah go missing unnoticed?" Th'ero counters, giving M'lo a long and lingering look. "I do not think it has been stolen. Just misplaced." he remarks dryly, his tone still low but he does glance for a moment to where K'drozen was seated. Perhaps that piece of logic was also considered by the Weyrleader. "We cannot go without klah for long and I do not wish to overburden another Weyr. So we will have to solve this soon or figure something out." he points out with a grimace.

Jajen only stares at them all as though they've lost their minds and she's the only sane one. "Yeah, just yet!" she blurts out, only to shrink back and drop her gaze briefly at the look of warning Th'ero gives her. "Okay, I get it." she mutters and she gives M'lo another pouting look. He doesn't believe her? "How do I know? I did the paperwork just like Dtirae, Elara and Neyuni taught me to. Checked the stores too, made sure to order the right amount for the right time so, this wouldn't happen!" she says, stubborn in her innocent in all this. Ahh, youthful pride. "So I'm sure! If it wasn't my doing, it was whoever had the paperwork last!" Jajen exclaims with a triumphant look. See? Pin the blame on someone else! When really… it starts at the source.

Kimmila shakes her head, "Folks will grumble to start, but if it goes too long we'll have some serious rumblings of discontent," she agrees with a small nod.

Th'ero's question only gets a shrug from M'lo. And Jajen's juvenile antics aren't winning him over, apparently. "That would be the headwoman," he says patiently to the goldrider. "Do you think that somehow Talica is at fault for this?" His eyebrows climb.

Th'ero turns his head to glance to Kimmila and for a brief moment his lips quirk into a faint smile. "Indeed," he agrees but his tone drawls just enough to hint at some inner joke. Directed to her, perhaps? Then his features fall and the Weyrleader is back to his brooding and thoughtful mood, brows knit into a frown and lips drawn back and down. "Any ideas? Benden may be willing…" But Th'ero is out of his league really.

Jajen only lifts her chin definately to M'lo, youthful stubborness and rebeliousness in full swing. Either she's a total brat or Iaverulth is proddy (Faranth save them all), but it's likely her prickly nature surfacing. "Why not? She's capable of mistakes too just like the rest of us," she exclaims hauntingly, a slight flush creeping across her freckled cheekbones. Crossing her arms now over her chest, she gives them all hard looks. "Is it really that big a deal?" Again, she's silenced by Th'ero's heated glare and Jajen mumbles, "Should I go get the old invoices? And uh, Benden Weyr is mid-shipment too, Sir." Stressed just enough to be close to insulting but isn't. "I could get those updated reports too." she adds.

Kimmila snorts, eying her Weyrmate with a knowing look. Yeah, she caught that. "I'll talk to mom. Maybe Fort Hold, or Xanadu. I'm sure some sort of trade can be reached." Glancing back at Jajen, the bluerider nods. "Go get all of the records, please," she says, reaching out to start clearing a space on one of the tables. They're going to figure this out now, it seems.

M'lo nods to back up Kimmila's orders to the young goldrider. He tilts his head toward Th'ero, and nods a little. "Hopefully things are just misplaced," he agrees. "What can we trade with the Hold for enough klah to last us the week?" he scratches his head and thinks. "Don't we have a few furs somewhere? Or… wasn't there a whole case of undyed thread?" He's reaching.

Jajenelja only shoots Kimmila another look, clearly sizing up the bluerider with disdain. She opens her mouth, lips already curled into a snarky tilt to counter Kimmila's request when she promptly closes it again and wilts a little under Th'ero's cold, warning look. Worse than the glare! Sniffing slightly, the young goldrider gathers her skirts and with her chin still held high, storms off without comment.

Th'ero's eyes follow Jajen's exit out of the caverns and once the girl is gone, he sighs heavily, "I thought she had matured from her rebelliousness," he grumbles under his breath, reaching up again to brush irritably at his hair but this time his fingers press against his brow. Headache? He turns to help Kimmila clear a table then, glancing up to M'lo as he works, "We do have that case of undyed thread, yes. But I think that is meant to go to the Weavercraft Hall… or the Holds near to it, anyways." The Weyrleader is reaching just as much as the Weyrsecond! "Wingmate, do you think Elara would know off hand? Though perhaps once Jajen returns, we can see…" Because he's convinced the young goldrider is in the wrong. Again.

M'lo squints after Jajenelja's departing back. "I don't like the way she looks down at you," he harrumphs to Kimmila. "Here's hoping she stays a junior goldrider for… oh… the rest of her life." He quickly reaches for a couple things on the table, too, and once it's clear he takes a seat.

Kimmila shrugs at M'lo, "Don't let it bother you," she says flippantly. It doesn't bother her, apparently.

Th'ero snorts as well as he clears the last of the table. "She's just opinionated and perhaps envious. Young and foolish. I'd not take the way she behaves seriously either." he remarks dryly, clearly ruffled only for the young goldrider's overall behavior more than her pointed looks to Kimmila. M'lo's comments have him chuckling, a faint smile quirking one corner of his mouth up. "For all our sanity, I hope you are right in that prediction, M'lo." he drawls in a low mutter. Slipping out of his jacket at last, he drapes it over his seat but not before offering the choicest one to Kimmila. Only once his weyrmate is settled does he finally sit as well. They won't have to wait long either, as Jajenelja returns only minutes later with a thin leather folio which she promptly sets to the table with a bit more force than is necessary. "There. All the invoices and then the most recent updates on supplies. For Fort and abroad." Satisfied?

M'lo just harrumphs and picks up his mug. It's only whne his lips are touching it, and no klah comes out, that he remembers, frowns, and thumps it back on the table. He crosses his arms and heaves a sigh. "If the klah was nicked as a prank, whoever is responsible should have to clean latrines for the next eight sevendays. I don't care what their rank is, or what color their lifemate is." That's just before Jajenelja comes within hearing range. He glaces at Th'ero and extends one hand toward the folio, silently asking whether he should pick it up of if the weyrleader would like to, himself.

Kimmila sits down, accepting the chair that Th'ero pulls out for her. Glancing up when Jajen returns, she nods. "Thanks." And then there's a brief pause. "Could you get us some hot cider, please?" Ouch. Burn? Subtle dig? Maybe she's just thirsty, who knows. Reaching out, the former assistant headwoman begins to sort through the records, laying them out in chronological order.

Th'ero gives M'lo a look when the Weyrsecond thumps the mug back to the table and again he smiles wanly, but his mood soon turns brooding again as he settles into his seat. "If it IS a prank, I doubt a rider had a hand in it. Likely some weyrbrats with too much time on their hands. We can fix that, for certain." he murmurs and then shakes his head, "But it's too elaborate for a prank. Too much at risk. You cannot just sneak a whole shipment like that," And he snaps his fingers for emphasis. "And I don't see this being a seedy enough job for darker purposes. So really, that only leaves…" But he trails off, as Jajen is there and the folio suddenly in front of him. Grimacing, he leaves it to Kimmila to handle while he simply fixes the young goldrider with another disapproving look.

Jajen's cheeks flush red and her lower jaw tenses for Kimmila's orders. Burn! Her eyes flash with anger, but before she can open her mouth to tear into the bluerider, the Weyrleader speaks up. "Do as she asked of you, Jajenelja." Learn some respect! "Get something for yourself too and then you'll sit and you'll be quiet about it while we sort out this mess and perhaps you'll learn something. Understood?" Double ouch? The young goldrider only turns sharply on her heels and stalks off again, but not without a few muttered words drifting from her, one sounding much like "whipped" before she's gone again.

M'lo leans forward in his chair to watch Kimmila at work, interested in her methods. When Jajen stalks off he glances at his mug again. "I should've asked her to get me some, too," he says thoughtfully. Then he shrugs, not too fussed about it. "So if the klah was stolen, the paperwork would probably look fine," he muses aloud. "That much klah would fetch a fair few marks, but there have got to be easier ways to do it. Smaller things to steal." He rubs his forehead for a moment while he thinks.

Kimmila ignores Jajen's tantrum and Th'ero's reply, brows furrowed as she is completely absorbed in sorting through the paper trail. "Well…look here," she finally says, pushing a paper towards M'lo and Th'ero. "See how these numbers are smudged? If you look at it this way, it looks like a zero. When it should've been an eight."

"If she's got some sense in that skull of hers, she'll bring enough for all of us." Th'ero points out to M'lo, only to frown again and lean back against his seat and cross his arms loosely over his chest. "I just do not see how that much klah could be stolen so easily. Perhaps a little at a time, but not whole shipments. Not unless they wish to be caught. And the Weyr boasts so much more wealthier stock to steal and items that are /much/ smaller and easier to pocket in small amounts…" he murmurs and then glances sidelong to Kimmila when she speaks up. Tilting his head, he cranes it so he can see the line that the bluerider is referring too and when he sees it, he makes a disgruntled noise. "Stupid girl," he growls, freeing one hand to tap the sheet. "If I understand this, it means the shipment isn't lost… it's delayed?" he asks, giving his weyrmate a questioning look that extends to M'lo. "Wait. What of this line?" He taps out one with two numbers blurred and clearly rewritten. "Are these even correct?" If they aren't, will they be drowning in klah or short of it again? Or is it bound for some other Weyr or Hold? How did Talica ever approve this sloppy work? Does it even have the Headwoman's signature?

M'lo peers more closely at the numbers. "Oh, yeeeeeaaaah," he says slowly. "You're absolutely right, Kimmila." He eyes the line that Th'ero points out. "The math doesn't add up," he observes. "It's short by eight from the first smudge, and then…" he makes a noise in his throat, one of frustration. "Does she write with her feet?" he grumps. M'lo himself has neat, rather boxy handwriting. "It's going to be a sevenday late and… and there won't be enough to finish out the month." He starts scanning the document for Talica's signature, too, if Kimmila's fingers aren't in his way.

Kimmila gives up the document to the men, flipping through the rest of the records. Making sure that they won't be short on anything else. "Can she count?" she mutters, half serious.

Th'ero is done with the documents and papers, having seen enough to worsen his headache considerably. Numbers and math aren't his thing, though he'll do it if needed. Unelss it's strategy and tactics they're working out. But this? So M'lo has the documents to himself and Kimmila can reclaim any she needs from the Weyrsecond. The Weyrleader is going to brood, snorting at their comments as he stares darkly at the table top. "Oh, she can. I've been assured that she isn't witless. She just /won't/. I've no idea why she continues to act like a spoiled brat and occasionally make our lives difficult with things like this," And he gestures with a sharp wave of his hands to the documents. "So a sevenday late and short. Kimmila, did you find the report of the other stores? May as well figure that out and send it to Elara perhaps for approval. Roc should be starting their transport runs shortly…"

Jajen returns just then, tray balanced in her hands and her temper back under control. Seems she's at least competent as a hostess? She's has enough hot cider to serve all of them and she's even brought some light breakfast foods: pastries, some grains, fruits and nuts and what looks like oatmeal. The tray is set safely on the table and before she can greet them (and politely!), Th'ero cuts her off. "Sit, Jajenelja. We've much to discuss." The goldrider doesn't argue, she just hastily takes her seat with an audible 'fhwump' like sound and avoids anyone's gaze. So much for innocent?

"I don't even see Talica's signature on here," M'lo mutters darkly. "This is unacceptable." That doesn't stop him from grabbing a cup of cider and a breakfast pastry, however. He carefully places the offending paper in front of Jajen and one by one points directly to the mistakes. "Just like Dtirae, Elara, and Neyuni taught you, eh?" he asks. To give him credit, his tone is gentle.

Kimmila shakes her head, taking a mug of cider and some breakfast food, peering at the reports. "I'm still working that out," she murmurs.

Jajen only turns her head away from M'lo as he confronts her with the obviously tampered paperwork, her eyes downturned to where she picks at her nails in a fidgeting manner. A typical teen caught red handed! "So maybe I made some changes…" she mutters and her admittance only has Th'ero exhaling heavily. "Jajen, you best take the paperwork you altered and report to the Weyrwoman." Suddenly it seems as though the Weyrleader has had enough of her and the young goldrider sullenly takes only some of the paperwork. The sheets Kimmila is sorting through are left with the bluerider and Jajen doesn't even linger to explain herself or beg their forgiveness. Jajen simply leaves and it's only from Velokraeth that the bronzerider ever knows that she actually obeyed. "Well, we best puzzle it out now then, before there's more of an uproar over this." Th'ero murmurs, ignoring the food brought but going for some of the cider and likewise pouring some for Kimmila and M'lo as well. With the bluerider's understanding of the documents, they'll work something out over hushed murmurs, something that will get them enough klah to stock the Weyr until the true shipment arrives and then a little more from somewhere else to supplement the deficiency. And just as before with Jajen's other blunders, it's done swiftly enough that her behavior does not raise too much interest and there are no riots for the lack of klah. All is calm and reputations saved — sort of!


'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.