Fort Weyr - Shenanigan's Lounge

The natural walls of this cavern haven been completely covered and replaced by straight and sometimes curving walls of brickwork. There's method to the madness of covering stone with stone. It's as simple as the electric buzz in the room. New grade electric lights dot the fancy brick worked walls, with wires cleverly hidden behind, allowing more focus to be centered on the rest of the room rather than the numerous strings of wire needed to operate the lighting. Each bulb roosts in a bronzed metal flowering fixture, giving the room a rich atmosphere. Still, the walls are not the only place which has stone on stone appeal. The floor has been run smooth, the surface now slate rock, creating an imperial cast.
Beyond the actual foundations of the lounge, the luxury continues. High backed wooden chairs with padded white seats have been stationed all around the room. Between the individual chairs are benches fashioned out of the same rich wood with pillows made to flatter the cushions. There are low lying coffee tables or end tables near the individual chairs, while there's larger dinning room sized tables with chairs to match scattered as well, giving much variety to those who find themselves in the room. Decorative hangings and framed artwork has been neatly hung around the room, but to offset the meticulous method of the room, there's some pieces that give a sporty feeling to the room - such as a fishing rod or a snow shoe.
Of course, the final appeal of the room comes in the form of it's purpose; athletic competition. There are several games of darts lining the walls, various decks of dragon poker cards available, a large velvet lined pool table centered to one side of the lounge, a mat area surrounded by ropes, and an area that keeps track of all the runner races around the world via radio signal, giving constant updates on the status of the runners. Lastly, there's a bar here, small and built with brick as well. There's usually a bartender on duty willing to mix drinks during the evening hours.

Late winter brings the hope of spring, even if the days don't seem to be getting any warmer, they are getting imperceptibly longer. If one looks closely at the trees, there is the promise that it is not soon far off, for reddish buds are beginning to form under the stubbornly-clinging ice and snow. Time is marked instead by the growth of baby dragons and the progress of weyrlings in their training and the days have marched on through the weary winter with evenings spent relaxing by crackling hearths, warming up in the arms of a lover, or with food and drink. This day is done and though evening casts the skies with a reddish hue that also tints the snowy peaks peach-pink - a sight worth watching were the weather more conducive to standing outside, the Weyrsecond is in here where he won't freeze. He's dressed not in leathers or casual clothes for the barns but in pressed jeans and a crisp shirt, sitting as far from the radio and gaming tables as he can get (likely in a small table in some back corner) enjoying a glass of bubbling wine. His first, as the contents of the bottle on the table indicate and the level in his glass is such that he's had but a sip or two. He's alone with a small journal in front of him on the linen tablecloth, which he's written several words in, pen in hand and lost in thought as brown eyes fixate upon the solitary candle in the center of that table.

Not everyone is keen to be spending time outdoors, beautiful sunset or not. While most do seek entertainment among the gaming tables (and it's a wonder that radio has survived as long as it has with tech-phobic Weyrleaders), one bronzerider who enters has a specific goal in mind — or rather, a certain individual. It's not difficult for Th'ero to track D'ani down and he'll waste precious little time in disrupting the Weyrsecond's peace. "Evening," he greets in his usual stiff manner. All these Turns and he still can't greet someone warmly. How many ales will it take tonight? "Mind if I join you?"

It's a wonder that radio was ever installed, though tonight it is at least muted somewhat (perhaps due to the lack of crowds tonight betting on whatever runner races are being conducted in the western time zones or a request from the weyrsecond - or both). Partially-screened, D'ani is seated behind a potted plant and though he's not hidden, his vision is partially obscured. He hadn't seen Th'ero enter, preoccupied as he is, and thus blinks up owlishly before rising to greet the Weyrleader. That's as formal as he gets, though. He's used to the man's manner, expects a thawing will come eventually, or not, he's learned to roll with it. "Not at all," he says with easy warmth. "In fact, please do." He'll wait until Th'ero sits and while doing that seek the waiter's eye. Attentive and well-trained, the man is heading that way anyhow, having seen the new arrival. A chin lift to him diverts him momentarily; he'll arrive shortly with another fluted goblet to take Th'ero's order. In the moments it'll take the waiter to arrive, D'ani will settle, grin cheekily at Th'ero and ask, "Join me in a toast or are you a man on a mission tonight?"

Taking one of the vacant seats across from D'ani, Th'ero looks mildly curious as he settles. A brow quirks, head tilted just-so as he keeps his gaze fixed on the younger bronzerider. "My mission, if you'd call it that, was to hunt you down." One less thing to tick off on his ever growing list of 'things to do'? "So I could join in on a toast. Seems fair, given I rarely come bearing good news. What is the occasion?" He seems to assume that D'ani is wishing to toast towards something positive. There's hope that some good things can happen, right?

It's a true fact that good news will dance lightly in on the toes of someone who can't contain their glee at some trivial happenstance announcement of a party or dance. Even bad news will breeze through the Weyr borne of it's own accord on the breath of gossips. Th'ero's sort of bad news now, that's usually of graver (and more circumspect ) nature. The weyrsecond offers no glib 'mission accomplished' because yeaaaaah, finding him is usually half or maybe even a third of Th'ero's intention. So he'll wait for the other shoe to drop, drawing a semi-wary breath and his grin fades somewhat although his expression remains relaxed. "Whatever you need from me, it's yours. You know that Sir," he murmurs as that waiter arrives and places that wineglass beside the bottle. The waiter pauses for Th'ero's order before withdrawing. D'ani meanwhile, pours carefully so the pale gold champagne foaming doesn't overflow that glass, only speaking when the waiter is out of earshot. "The weyrlings are doing well, their dragons are healthy. I haven't heard of plague or-" a grimace, "-anything else exploding today…" Still no toast yet as he casts a faintly questioning look at the weyrleader. As for the occasion, he raises his glass, "To family." Family is a good thing (usually). Right?

D'ani should consider himself lucky that he's only bracing for the other shoe to drop and not a brick to the head or something equally as unpleasant (and at a high speed). No surprises from Th'ero tonight, since even him seeking out the Weyrsecond is becoming more happenstance to not be filed under "unusual" anymore. Now it's just a matter of figuring out how much is business and how much is (awkwardly) casual. "I know," he assures him, eyes lifting to the waiter and ordering his usual poison for the night. He smirks and briefly there's a darkening to his features at the word 'explosion' but it passes swiftly. "No, but that's the sad part of all of this. It's too quiet. Even Jajen's reporting nothing unusual down south." he mutters and while he doesn't have his glass yet, he'll dip his head in acknowledgement. Still, a puzzled look follows. "To family." he echoes but there's a hidden question there.

Had the thought crossed D'ani's mind, yes, he'd be thanking his lucky stars for the lack of bricks in the air tonight. Though he's never known them, not even the metaphorical sort, to come flying from Th'ero's direction. "I'll take the 'too-quiet' over 'insanely crazy without a moment to breathe between catastrophes' any day," he notes sagely though the words 'even Jajen' causes him to choke down the impulse to laugh outright. The Queen of Calamity reigns in calm? No explosions at Drake's Lake? Wonders never cease! "Hm," he manages mildly, mouth twitching while he fights a smile (he's only half successful). Idly, "Ha'ze's still down there isn't he?" With two fingers on the base of that flute, one on either side of the stem, he slides Th'ero's glass where he can take it if he wants to. "To family and-" He coughs quietly, blinks once and draws a breath, "-having one again." The grin returns, blatantly uninhibited. "Inri's expecting." Babies are born every day across Pern, but he doesn't care. This one is his.

"Generally 'too quiet' here means there is about to be a catastrophe," Th'ero reminds D'ani with a grim look. As for Ha'ze, the Weyrleader only shakes his head as he leans back in his chair. "I tried to speak with him but he's harbouring a lot of anger. Nearly cracked my skull in half to get that point across. When spring comes, we've agreed to talk again. We'll see if he can be civil. To think I had better conversations with Jajen than him. She has changed. He has not," Pity. Since only the bronzerider stands a chance of ever calling Fort home again. Reaching for his pint of ale, he'll blink once as D'ani finally spills the news and now, with a proper drink in hand, lifts it in a fitting toast. "About damn time." That's the 'I'm happy for you' he'll get from the Weyrleader. Then, after a sip of his drink, a proper: "Congratulations, to both of you. When is she due?" And how hadn't he noticed?

"Yeah, I know. But until then, breathing is awfully nice," D'ani notes. "Ne'er-do-wells aren't usually idle. And they'll show their hand eventually." He's truly not as complacent as he might seem, however, for he listens to Th'ero speak about Ha'ze gravely. Afterwards he considers for a few moments, then remarks wryly, "I suppose he wouldn't be interested in trying another infiltrating mission for the Weyr then. To suss out why things're so quiet." As for the 'about damn time' there's a chuckle. "Thanks, I-" Oh damn. When will the child arrive? Inri is neither runner nor herdbeast. He'd know the answer to that question likely to the day and time if she were. "-hadn't thought to ask her exactly when." Though he'll hazard a guess, "Some months yet." He knows there's nine to ten months gestation for humans, but Inri must not look pregnant because apparently he hadn't noticed either. Go him?

Th'ero grimaces, "I'd prefer not to wait until they do show their faces. Until the Holds call though…" There is so very precious little they can do! Even now in this "quiet", the Weyrleader cannot relax. One has to wonder if it's cannot or will not. He snorts, levelling D'ani with a look. "Infiltration is what I exiled him for in the first place! Doubt he'd go on my command now." Never mind that Ha'ze was using Candidates to do the dirty work. "He's in no condition to be of help to anyone right now. Jajen says he's been insufferable since he arrived." Why is there surprise over this? Chuckling dryly as D'ani fumbles over Inri's stage in pregnancy, Th'ero simply nods to the answer. That's about where he was when Kimmila was first pregnant with Kyzen. "I'm happy for the two of you." he says earnestly this time with a small but genuine smile.

"Thanks," the weyrsecond is both pleased and still somewhat flustered (just wait until the Big Day arrives!) His smile fades to more pressing matters, however. D'ani'd heard about the candidates and of course was there for the chaotic meeting after that botched goldflight and so nods understandably. Of course the younger rider has been insufferable. He was insufferable when D'ani and Inri had sprung his butt from jail, insufferable in that staff meeting and if Abigail's demeanor about the Weyr is anything to go by… well. Ha'ze hasn't changed Th'ero's just said so. D'ani places his goblet on the table and slides it to one side so he may lean forward earnestly, "But did you really, Th'ero? For infiltrating?" He's got something on his mind, something he's been mulling over for awhile now. "Or is it more for being impulsive, insubordinate and unorthodox?" He holds up two fingers to forestall the Weyrleader, just give him two minutes to elaborate before spluttering at his weyrsecond. "I mean, if he'd come to you with his plan, made contingency for having Kainaesyth where a goldflight wouldn't tempt the bronze, kept in closer contact with you, taken a trained backup along… would you have been amenable to him infiltrating?" Hastily, lest he be misunderstood, "Sans candidates, of course!"

Th'ero sighs as D'ani sees the full reason without the Weyrleader having to so much as utter a single word about it. "You know as well as I that there was more behind it. He could be a good rider, D'ani!" He'll take a moment to enjoy a little more of his ale before continuing, snorting softly as the Weyrsecond goes on. "It's not like any of us ever play by the books entirely. If he had come to me with his plan, I'd have made it so it could work. He just doesn't seem to get it. He feels betrayed by what I've done." He makes a gesture with his hand, as if to wave off the rest of the discussion. "Not that it matters now. Done is done and we'll see by spring if he's willing to listen to reason." HA. "So have you and Inri begun to plan then, for the arrival of your child?"

"He could be," agrees D'ani. "He thinks outside the box; I like that. He's creative; I like that too." But… yeah, there are problems, big ones, for the rider to overcome. "He doesn't trust anyone, he's defensive and he has funny ideas about teamwork-" When Th'ero changes the subject he closes his lips, leaving unsaid anything further. Quiet for a thoughtful few ticks, he changes gears. Baby. Planning. Uh. The look on his face, it's comical, "N-o-o-o-o-t really?" He says slowly with a deer-in-the-headlights expression. Don't babies, y'know, just pop out and suckle? What's there to plan? "Just please not in a snowstorm in an abandoned cliffside hold without a healer present?" he finally says weakly. Because he may have delivered plenty of calves and foals but humans? Uhhhh. No. Just, no please!

Th'ero is all too aware of Ha'ze's faults but now is not the time to discuss it. Or is it? "I can't force him to change, D'ani. I told him as much and I don't want to break him. I've an idea and one I had planned to have underway. Instead we ended in blows and Kainaesyth asked that I come back in spring." So that is that and why he choses to speak little of it for now. Back to lighter topics and that look on the poor Weyrsecond's face! Familiar and Th'ero knows those feelings all too well. "You've time yet," he reassures, only to grimace. "You might want to scratch off in the back of a travelling wagon and caught between Hold and Weyr and inaccessible by dragon." It's traumatizing!

"Indeed you can't; it has to be his choice," agrees the weyrsecond firmly. Discussing Ha'ze's faults isn't his intention. No one is perfect. Hell, D'ani's got enough of his own faults. As for Th'ero's idea having to be shelved, he nods, his expression a curious mixture of relief, concern and hope. He doesn't ask what it Th'ero's plan is. Not yet because, "Mind if I send him a… package?" He coughs, "Via Inri." Who can say no to Inri? In his mind, no one, that's who. At least it probably wouldn't come to blows? As for the isolated wagon scenario, he gaks visibly. "Let me guess. You…'ve, uh, been there, done that?" Sounds like a story here and he's all curious ears over here. Also giving the weyrleader an obviously encouraging gesture. Spill it, pal! He may need this later (or not, hopefully not. Please Faranth, not!)

Th'ero brows lift and he can be forgiven for looking a touch suspicious, right? "What kind of package would it be…?" It's not a trap, is it? And so long as D'ani isn't there in person to deliver it, he may be safe. Back to traumatizing stories, the Weyrleader just sighs and doesn't even try to hide the fact that he's undergone that lovely life experience. "Kyzen was… his birth was early. Caught us both by surprise. I know nothing on such things. Only fortunate thing to that whole incident was that Kimmila had had a child before. " So she sort of, kind of, knew what to expect? "It was…" Traumatizing. Horrifically. "Just don't let Inri travel near the end." Sage nod.

Not a trap, no. Not for Th'ero anyway. And honestly not a trap for Ha'ze, either. Maybe an object lesson though? "Oh just a crate," D'ani says casually. "With a dog in it." He's already got an idea of how Ha'ze would react should the weyrsecond deliver such a thing. Of Kimmila directing her own childbirth his mouth makes a silent 'w-o-w' before he lifts his glass to Th'ero and then drains the champagne from it in one go. "She is one tough cookie." It's a compliment. Delivering animals is one thing. Things can go smoothly or very, very wrong. Delivering one's own child… is quite another. He says at last, "He doesn't look any worse for the wear." Or mis-shapen. He doesn't act oddly (or, heh, does he?) so he probably hasn't been dropped on his head, right? D'ani will have to scrutinize the lad in light of this news. Don't let Inri travel, check. This is assuming he has any inkling she's going before the goldrider just up and does it.

Th'ero frowns and clearly is trying to put two and two together as to how that would work. "A canine? Why?" Sorry to ruin the joke but it sadly went right over the Weyrleader's head. It happens (too often). "She is," He took that compliment because he knows it to be the truth and without him being biased. Kimmila is tough! "I'd never wish to put her through that again though." As for Kyzen, he chuckles. "No, he turned out to be fine and healthy, thank Faranth." Only the boy attracts trouble — and explosions. We'll just overlook that. "I'm sure everything for you and Inri will go fine. Fort has excellent Healers." Helps when you're more or less next door to Healer Hall! Perk.

The perks of living next to Healer Hall are not lost on D'ani. "I'm sure it will." As long as they are close enough to have access. "Because this canine is a tough scrappy guy a lot like Ha'ze." Not a joke. D'ani is totally serious and he's given this a lot of thought before broaching the idea to Th'ero. "He's resisted all of the beastcrafters assigned to work with him. The creature absolutely despises patience and gentleness. I've been trying to get him to come 'round, but my time's almost up. My orders are to destroy him if there's no improvement by the date given, but I might as well call it and end him now; we've tried just about everything." He shifts forward once more, seeking Th'ero's gaze. "Call it a hunch, but I think because the two of them are so alike, the canine might respond to Ha'ze." He's no mindhealer, though working with animals does tend to give a beasthealer some psychological training. "And if tough love works, I'm thinking that maybe in the process Ha'ze will have a eureka moment too and realize that fighting everyone is counter-productive."

"If you think it will work?" Th'ero doesn't seem too positive on the idea but neither is he so reluctant as to say a flat out 'no' in answer. "Don't see why not. Only thing is… what if he refuses? Doesn't sound like the type of canine you want going wild… even if this is the southern jungles. Drake's Lake is an island and there are people there. Families." he murmurs before lifting his glass up to nurse a little more of that ale.

"I'm not one hundred percent sure it'll work," admits D'ani honestly, "but I know enough about this canine to feel pretty strongly that it's worth a try." He leans back in his seat, pours another glass of bubbling wine into his own glass and sips it thoughtfully. "He has the right to say no - I can't see demanding he do it," he adds with a shrug, though he's far from negligent about the issue. In fact, he's visibly reluctant to cede the bronzerider any choice at all, given the stakes. "If he takes on the challenge, the canine's to be kept in a locked, stone-floored kennel," he adds firmly. "Beastcraft marks will cover that - and Ha'ze will be paid too." That'll come from D'ani's salary for taking the beast on, all of it.

Th'ero shakes his head again, "I'd be amazed if he does it. You'll have to send the instructions though or speak to him yourself — or at least Jajen. I've not barred anyone from going to see Ha'ze." Well, that's a partial lie. Some people have permission and the Weyrsecond is included in that. He doesn't ask how or from where Ha'ze will be paid. Could be he can guess just where the funds are coming from. A thought crosses his mind then and he'll become a master at changing topics on this little discussion of theirs. "Speaking of Beastcraft…" Uh oh. "I am considering looking into giving Kyzen a proper runner. At least for a boy his age. Kimmila and I have our own runner breeding stock in Keroon but none of the animals are sufficiently broken. I'm not about to give him a green runner." They all know what would come of that! Hello, broken bones?

"So will I," D'ani admits ruefully. "I'll communicate with him," he assures Th'ero. Whether that be through Jajen, writing or Dremkoth to Kainaesyth or all three, he doesn't elaborate. It's likely a visit from him will simply make things worse, so while it is an option… it may be the road less taken in this scenario. Of Kyzen, he smiles. "He'll outgrow a pony in a few turns, so I'd recommend your average-sized runner. An older mare or gelding, perhaps? There are several very patient ones used in guard training." Th'ero ought to know those - some guard recruits have never ridden in their lives. They're stoic, not very pretty but solid and pretty much unfazed by anything. What was it about explosions now? "Unless, on the other hand you want something more aesthetic and finer of breed," he muses, "That he could choose himself. Or something more fit and nimble. Have you anything specific in mind?"

Th'ero nods his head to D'ani's confirmation on communicating at some point with Ha'ze. He'll expect a report on it too, at some point. "Yes, I was thinking an older mare or gelding. Didn't think to ask the Captain if there were any in the Guard use close to retirement." Or could be bought. He shakes his head, downing the last of his ale and setting the glass down to join D'ani's at the edge of the table. "No, your suggestion of an older runner is the same idea running through my mind. He'll only be ten in a few months. When he's older, he can have a… more spirited animal." Of finer quality.

D'ani smiles. "Sounds like a plan." All of it - the piranha-dog trainee-volunteer, the runner for Kyzen, and oh yes, baby-stratagems - they'd better get on it, hadn't they? D'ani rises. "I need to talk to Inri about a few things." And yet he lingers beside the table for a few more moments, a lop-sided smile forming on his mouth. He really does mean talk but his words are, "If I'm going to be a father, I want to help Inri make a loving home for the child." And off he goes, head in the clouds and still somewhat dazed by the entire revelation from Inri. Further announcements forth-coming? Stay tuned!

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