The Forgotten Storage Room
A stone archway, high above any person's head, is the first indication that this
room is not your usual room. Behind the door, the cavern stretches out, and the floor is
covered in small boxes, endless stacks of them. Inside the boxes are a multitude of small
glass containers of various shapes and sizes, and apparently different uses, as well. Each
one is carefully wrapped in soft wherhide and cushioned with dried leaves, and the boxes
themselves are stacked in a way that it would take considerable effort to knock them over.
A large coating of dust is evident on every surface, showing that this place hasn't seen a
visitor in some time.

Very few people actually enjoy being awake at the crack of dawn; if Fort's new Steward is one of them, it's no more obvious than if he isn't. And in sentences that make more grammatical sense than that, Zhirayr is up at the crack of dawn, in a forgotten back corner of the weyr, rooting around in dusty, forgotten boxes full of glass vials wrapped in unidentified dried leaves that may or may not be poisonous. There's nothing suspicious here at all, of course.

Ha'ze doesn't particularly enjoy being up at the crack of dawn, but he is today. Winter makes getting Kainaesyth out of the weyr hard, and thus Ha'ze wakes late. But today there is actual work to be done and so he's… here? What could glass bobbles possibly hold for him? The shuffling has Ha'ze raising an eyebrow upon entering- "Who's there?"

"The Steward," answers Zhirayr, not actually meaning the dead one. There's definitely enough dust in here to hide a few skeletons, though. "Who's that?" There's a lot of clinking going on behind him, too.

"Last I checked," Ha'ze picks his way through the boxes, the voice having given away who was there. "the steward was dead. Tell me," Maybe he's feeling talkative this morning as he steps to bring Zhirayr into view, "how does it feel to have people think you killed someone?"

Zhirayr gives him a wholly unimpressed look. "Seriously? That's your question? That isn't even an original question, at this point. Also, 'steward' is a position, and I've been appointed to it, so either you haven't checked in a few weeks or you're just trying to startle a nonexistent confession out of me."

"Just curious. And I suppose… congradulations?" Ha'ze hasn't been keeping up with things the past few sevens. Too much effort. Things change and they are totally not within the bronzerider's interest. "Did they ever figure out what offed the old man?"

"No." Not that anyone's told Zhirayr yet, anyway. Who knew that dying of old age could cause so much trouble for everyone else, anyway? Answer: Nobody at Fort Weyr, where deaths are always catastrophic and never accidental! "It would be a lot easier to accept congratulations if I knew, really," he adds more quietly, because he does actually like Ha'ze, and — well, he's been lonely, what with Mirinda accusing him of murder and then the two of them breaking up.

"Too bad. Sucks when people think you did something you didn't." Not that Ha'ze was… totally innocent of everything they accused him off. But innocent ENOUGH. He bends down and picks up a glass bobble, tossing it from hand to hand. "Like your new job?"

"Yeah, well." Maybe that's why Ha'ze is here — solidarity? Zhirayr was one of the only people with any authority at all in the Weyr who thought he was innocent of what he was accused of; for better or worse, anyway. The 'yeah, well' kind of applies to both comments, but Zhirayr decides to elaborate: "The job isn't really different. It's just the title that is, now." And the respect would be, if people weren't busy accusing him of murder.

"So, you were doing his job before he kicked the can, huh?" Oh look, a handy wall. Ha'ze leans against it as he tosses the glass between his hands again. Silence, for a moment or two, before abruptly, "If you need to run." Which would be unfortunate, "just get me a message. Kainaesyth and I will take you anywhere you need to go."

After a moment, Zhirayr stops staring at Ha'ze and draws a hand over his face — and promptly regrets it, considering how dusty his hands are. A fastidious moment later, he tucks his handkerchief away again. "I should hope," he answers acerbically, "that I won't have to run, since I didn't kill him."

It's a large rolling shrug that meets Zhirayr's pronoucement. "I know that." Ha'ze actually has the audacity to smile. "But if needed. We're here. Kainaesyth doesn't like flying in winter, but we could make it happen." Solidarity man, Ha'ze will help him run.

Zhirayr is still staring. "I have no idea what to make of you," he says eventually, in a conversational tone, and starts poking around through the various dead leaves and dusty boxes. "I think I appreciate the sentiment, for what it's worth."

"Join the club?" The people who get Ha'ze are limited to one large lumb of bronze who is currently doing his best to pretend that dragons totally hibernate in the winter. "I wouldn't offer to wake Kainaesyth for most people. What are you looking for?"

"There's supposed to be a purple box somewhere in here that has eight jars, and only one of them is supposed to be empty, and one of the others has some sort of waxy substance in it that one of the healers needs." Not Mirinda. Zhirayr isn't doing any favors for her any time soon. "Remind me to send Kainaesyth a goodie basket sometime, in thanks for the notion, then."

"Why aren't the healers searching for it? Like that…" Ha'ze tilts his head slightly. He can't think of any healers who would object to rummaging for the things they nead. "That Mirinda one?" Because the OOC is just too much for Ha'ze NOT to mention that name.

Zhirayr only flinches a little bit, to be fair. "Many of them are busy, and the ones who aren't aren't involved in this particular search," he manages, only sounding a little bit flinty. On the other hand, if he could reach Ha'ze's OOC from here, he'd set it on fire.

Ha'ze catches that flinch and raises an eyebrow. "You okay?" Other than people thinking he killed someone, of course. That's always a bit hard. "Still, this isn't your job?"

"No, it isn't my job, but I have better low-light eyesight than most of the people I could delegate to this, and —" Zhirayr shrugs. "It's not as if I particularly enjoy people endlessly accusing me of murder. Sometimes it's nice to get away from that." Thus neatly sidestepping the Issue of Mirinda, and also explaining that trip to Telgar a little while back.

"If people enjoyed getting accused of murder, more people would die." Ha'ze points this out as if it was TOTALLY REASONABLE. "We could get more glows in here. More light, and you could do… what is it you do? When not arranging for lower cavern drudges to get away from accusations?"

"Virtually everything that has to do with overseeing the lower caverns, at this point," he answered, and waves absently at the closed glow-baskets by the door that were phenomenally unhelpful under the circumstances. "Also, your logic is off — if it was the accusation people enjoyed, there would be a lot more accusations around. There wouldn't necessarily be more actual murders." This is the kind of conversation he has that convinces people he's planned a few of his own, of course. Hopefully nobody else happens by?

"Accusations are better if they're true though. Or there's a reason for them to be true. Like dead bodies." Ha'ze doesn't have anything against his logic. IT works for him? Pushing away from the wall he goes to fetch two of those glow baskets and opens them up. "Has anyone ever tried cleaning all this up?"

"Everyone comes up with eminently logical excuses that involve other bits of work that are higher priority," Zhirayr explains absently, still poking through the boxes. "And when I try to get candidates to do it, they get pulled away by other people. Maybe this next cycle, I'll manage."

"Like dragons?" Ha'ze was responsible, at least partially, for some of the last set of candidates not making it back off the sands but instead gaining little lifemates. "I'd help, but they keep candidates away from me." On purpose. Once he told a whole group of them to run.

"Even when you're the clutchfather? — Well. You know what I mean." Presumably. Zhirayr might be a little more specific, but apparently he's too busy dusting off a dark-hued box that might or might not be purple. Or blue. Or grey, or black, or —

"Even then." Ha'ze might have glared at a few of them when they came onto the sands this last time, and tucked himself behind Kainaesyth. Not his job to babysit the little candidates flocking around the eggs. Leave that to the weyrlingmasters and Thys. No one had objected to him absenteeing himself. Rather then leave out another acidic comment Ha'ze steps forward and opens a box himself to poke inside. "Why does Fort have all of this glass junk?" Apparently his box holds small glass orbs. Reason, unknown.

"Because someone, at some point, decided to write 'being a pack rat' into the Weyr's charter," Zhirayr answers absently, scowling as the box in question turns out to actually be a dark green. He resists the urge to chuck it at a wall, and instead sets it with care into the discard pile. "And, well, any time something glass is no longer in use, but isn't broken… it might be useful again, someday. For decoration, for utilitarian purposes, for some combination of the two — and there have been the occasional horrifying health crazes, too. Like what those were for." Don't ask him for the details, and don't ask him how he knows, Ha'ze; you'll have nightmares.

"The weyr has a charter?" Ha'ze, woefully ignorant of just about everything. Really, someone should have noticed this by now and shoved knowledge into his brain. He can read? More or less? "What about dusting? In all my years of cleaning, no one ever sent me here." And he didn't offer.

"Like I was saying earlier — priorities. Nobody really wants to come here, so any time someone actually thinks to send someone here… they come up with reasonable-sounding excuses to work on higher-priority items, and then they —" Don't, but Zhirayr is too busy sneezing to finish the sentence.

"So more people need to get accused of murder to get people down here. You know, if you're hiding," Ha'ze knows he's just going to get glared at, but maybe he's teasing? Something had to make at least two women sleep with him. A latent sense of humor perhaps? "might as well clean too."

"Alternatively, we could get prisoners to do it, but considering it's a lot of glass, which could easily be broken and turned into weapons that could kill other people," Zhirayr glares absently, for a few seconds, before redirecting his attention to Yet Another Goddamn Box, "I think it unlikely that that will be the plan at any point. How many goldriders do you hang out with, anyway, that you don't even know the Weyr has a charter? They all do." Change the subject! Distract!

Ha'ze is actually helping, looking through boxes. Purple jars. What would be funny now is if Ha'ze was colorblind. Though that would affect reds and greens right? So less likely to happen here. "Well. Thys wasn't talking about the Weyr when we last spoke. The time before that didn't involve talking at all. And the goldrider before that…" Ha'ze turns to upraise an eyebrow. "She was yelling as she pushed a baby out." Two goldriders down, three to go. But really, who is counting?

Red vs. green, green vs. blue… one of those, at any rate. Purple jars will be somewhat less helpful than purple boxes, but if he doesn't stop to double-check, Zhirayr isn't going to know to tell him either. "Do I want to know why you were hanging out with a goldrider in labor? Or was she pushing a baby somewhere other than that." Does he want to know the answer to that question? Now he's not so sure.

"Because it was my baby? I have three now." Why else would Ha'ze hang out with a pregnant woman? "She might have yelled something about killing me. Is that against the charter? I don't actually think Jajen cared at that point."

Zhirayr manages not to laugh audibly, at least. "I think that when a goldrider threatens death to another rider, but doesn't carry through on it, it's covered by the grey area of 'nobody's going to actually do anything about it so long as she doesn't make a habit of such threats, or start carrying through on them'. Subsection one-nineteen-alpha-forty-four." Okay, so Zhirayr is full of shit.

"Got it. So long as she doesn't stab me in the back, it's legal." They're bantering. This is real conversation. Does Zhirayr realize how weird this is? It really is. "Maybe I should read this thing some time. Or get a goldrider to explain it to me…. except I promised Abigail not to sleep with other people at the weyr." Cue a wrinkle of his forehead. He doesn't really mind the promise. But it does make some things less darkly amusing.

"Only a very few goldriders would consider the charter apt pillowtalk," Zhirayr points out dryly. Never say never, and all of that, but … well. Quite. "Was she threatening you because she was in labor, or had she been threatening you before you got her pregnant?"

"She told me to get out and not come back. Even appealed to Nyalle to get me to leave her alone." Jajen and Ha'ze? Not the happiest couple out there. A frown crosses Ha'ze's face as that thought crosses his mind again. Really, he needs to do something about his daughter out in the boondocks. It's been three months since he even saw her last.

"I take it," Zhirayr says — dryly, again — "that there wasn't some sort of deep passionate affair going on, leading up to this pregnancy." Maybe it's the dust that's making him so dry? … Yeah, no.

"Apparently, telling a woman it was a mistake to sleep with her after, is a bad idea." Ha'ze is almost flippant. No, there is no love lost between him and Jajen. In fact, it would be hard put to say that Ha'ze does love anyone. Even his relationship to Abigail is casual. To the EXTREME. "At least the other mother of my children is still speaking," and sleeping, but he leaves that to be implied at least, "with me."

"Technically speaking, I think a goldrider is allowed to get away with most forms of assault with minimum punishment," Zhirayr remarks lightly, before sneezing again — which does, at least, blow the dust off another stack of boxes for him. (One hell of a sneeze, that one.) "So long as there are no lasting damages. So you're lucky you don't seem to have gained any scars from her."

"Is this what you were looking for?" Ha'ze pulls a purple jar from the box he had just opened, and wiggles it at Zhirayr. "No, no scars. Not into that kind of stuff."

Zhirayr stares at him for a moment, before transferring his glance to the jar, and then to the box, and then heaves a sigh of 'thanks but no thanks', really. "Purple box, six jars, one empty. The jars are probably clear. They might be brown. It's very attractive, however, and you can keep it if you want and if the insides don't smell too bad."

"Ah, purple box." Ha'ze ponders the jar, and actually does open it. Only to slam the lid back on and screws it firmly, coughing up. A floral scent, strong, waifts out. "No."

Zhirayr sneezes again, but once he's done clearing his nose he looks thoughtful. "You know — I'm pretty sure that's actually the base of Nyalle's favorite perfume," he mentions. Casually. (Actually casually, because he has no idea of Ha'ze's larger purpose, despite the rest of this conversation.) "I do appreciate your help," even if it's been pretty much useless so far, he adds.

"Do I care about that? I'm not actually trying to sleep with all the goldriders. I mean," Ha'ze pauses, as he actually thinks it through. "I wouldn't say no?"

"Is there actually," Zhirayr asks, amused — despite himself, perhaps — "any circumstance under which you would say no to someone who wanted to sleep with you?"

A pause, Ha'ze's eyes sweeping around. Ah, there is a box that might be purple. He steps over another one and digs into it. Nope, no jars here. "I did promise Abigail that I wouldn't sleep with people other than her at the weyr itself?" So… he might think twice there?

"And how far outside the actual cave system and bowl do you have to go before you count it as outside the weyr?" is Zhirayr's skeptical response, as he goes back to moving Clearly Not Purple boxes out of the way.

"I figure, at least pas the Gemstone." Yes, Ha'ze has actually thought about it. "On the practical side, it works for what Th'ero has me doing. Sometimes women talk, uh, during." Right, so Ha'ze's willingness to have sex is just work.

Zhirayr stops, and sets down the black box he's holding, and turns and just stares at Ha'ze for a moment. "What Th'ero has you doing?" he paraphrase-repeats, slowly and deliberately.

Oh look, a purple box. Ha'ze opens it up and holds up a jar. "This stuff?" Could he have finally found the missing not-purple jar? MAYBE.

Zhirayr just waits.

"No?" Hopefully it wasn't really the stuff that Zhirayr actually wanted. "Just learning stuff. I spend a lot of time in bars. A good place to meet women." It is QUITE possible that Ha'ze has other children out there he doesn't know of.

"And what sort of stuff is it that the Weyrleader has you learning, while you're chatting up women?" Zhirayr holds his hand out impatiently for the jar, because hey, you never know — it MIGHT be the right stuff.

"I usually take my knot off and leave it behind for it." So things that people wouldn't tell riders. Ha'ze is being deliberately obtuse, and looks over at Zhirayr pointedly. He's not suppose to report to anyone but Abigail and Th'ero.

Zhirayr can, actually, take a hint, ever. And he can also take a jar, and investigate it, and there's definitely something waxy inside, that smells kind of like… cinnamon? Zhirayr's face clears, and he outright smiles at Ha'ze, even if this means he's losing his excuse to hide away from all those murder accusations. "Thanks," he murmurs, dropping the previous subject.

"Sorry. If you want, I can hide it again for you." Ha'ze reaches out for the jar, an upraised eyebrow. He gets the need to hide. But he knows Zhirayr'll say no, so even as he reaches he adds, "Feel free to come up to Kainaesyth's ledge any time. I've got wine. And I don't usually bring women home." Abigail's weyr is more comfortable.

"A truly stirring recommendation for it," Zhirayr laughs, shaking his head, and keeping the jar away from Ha'ze. "I'm sure that Abigail will be delighted when you start bringing men home, instead." Because that's what Ha'ze meant by that, right…?

Ha'ze eyes Zhirayr, then a slight look of revlusion spreads on his lips. "Not my type." He could totally be crude and add a gesture about exactly what on Zhirayr isn't his 'type'. But he holds off and uh, doesn't. "But you're welcome. Any time. It's not hiding if you're with a friend."

It's not hiding if you're making very visible hand gestures either, Ha'ze. "I try to limit my hiding to about four hours a day, at least during my work periods," Zhirayr mutters, and shakes his head. "But I do actually appreciate the offer, and may just take you up on it. I won't even drink all your wine." Or if he does, he'll bring more to replace it, because that's what a true friend does. Or… something. He flaps a hand at Ha'ze, then. "Go ahead, I'm done here — as soon as I make a path back to the door, anyway." He has, a little bit, boxed himself in, it seems.

Ha'ze eyes the black-clothinged-man and shrugs. "Whenever. If I'm not there, chances are Kainaesyth is. I've a desk that never gets used." So he's welcome to bring his work away from prying eyes. "Good Luck." Ha'ze has left himself an escape route, and after brushing some dust off his pants, picks his way out of the storage room.

And eventually — someday — Zhirayr will manage to make it out, as well. (But not before he's beaten all the dust out of his clothing, so that his reputation for avoiding any stain, spill, or smear on his all-black clothing will only grow larger.) Hopefully the healers will be happy with the whatever-it-is, after all the effort that went into finding it.