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.

Today’s Weather: Blizzard - The storm is voracious. The world is swallowed up in a never-ending white, swirled by angry winds and freezing cold. Advisories around the Weyr are for all to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary. Conditions outside are downright dangerous and flying is nearly impossible.

It's early. In fact, the sky is barely turning from black to…well, dark grey. The low moan of a vicious gale-force wind howls outside and whatever covering they’ve put over the entrance to the living cavern for the winter is rattled by it, allowing intermittent swirls of hard little snowflakes to sneak in. There are few people up; most are staying hunkered down in their warm beds, sleeping in this morning since outside chores are impossible in the blizzard that rages across Fort's mountains. There's a skeleton kitchen staff on, a hot breakfast is underway. The bakers, always up early, are at it in there as well. The heartening aroma of baking bread, cinnamon and toasted nuts drifts out and mingles with the sharp scent of burning pine from the hearths.

Into the warmth from the frigid bowl enters one nearly-frozen and white-encrusted Weyrsecond. He's still wearing his dress leathers, brown hair tousled, a day's worth of scruff on his jaws and looking like he hasn't slept for two days. In fact, he looks badly in need of both a mug of klah and something to fill his stomach. But he needs to do something more important first. With the aim of finding Ezra, he turns towards the corridor where the boy's room is, only to be stopped by one zealous cavern worker who points to the nearby hearth and roaring fire. "You're not to go dripping down the hall. Stand there and dry off first, mister." Weyrsecond be damned. Today he's subject to her authority. And so he complies and edges over to stand where directed, toe-tapping in his urgency to be about his errand.

Ezra was dragged home and put in his room. Basically. The boy spent a sleepless night and so when he arrives in the living caverns he looks rather haggard and unkempt, his Stonehaven jacket rumpled but ever present. And he's going to need a new one soon, likely by the end of this winter season. Standing just inside the entrance, he skirts nervously around that cavern worker, edging towards the food tables more out of habit than actual hunger. Zoi pads along after him, the massive canine polite as she waits to be fed, even though a quick flick of the tongue could have her eating off the table with hardly a lift of her head. Ezra just stares at the food, his focus nowhere near this cavern or even the food in front of him, until he begins to methodially pile it onto his plate. And then he stops, taking a deep breath, and puts some of it back. His hand twitches, shifts with the intention of sticking a roll into his pocket, but with a grim expression he doesn't, resisting the impulse, and puts it back on the table. He hasn't gone hungry since he got here. He will never be hungry again. He needs to stop the hoarding.

Little curls of steam are lifting from D'ani's jacket, he's standing in a small puddle of water and warming enough so that he's mid-way through unwinding his soaked scarf from around his neck when movement spotted out of the corner of his eye turns his attention from the flames to the tables. Spotting Ezra, he shifts lifts his foot to head over there, but before he even places it to take the first step he's getting a fierce frown from the cavern worker and so he eases back and instead calls lowly, "Ezra!" He adds a little beckoning wave to the boy afterwards.

Ezra turns, his head whipping around quickly, a guilty look hastily pushed down. "D'ani!" he says, eyes widening in shock at his friend's appearance. He snatches up that extra roll and, without thinking, sticks it in his pocket as he hastens towards the hearth, Zoi bounding along happily. "What happened? You look awful, are you okay? Is everyone okay?" he asks, the words gushing from his mouth in his haste to get them out there and get his answers.

SPLOT. That's the sound of D'ani's soaked scarf hitting the hearth where it's dropped rather than wrung out. He wants to live, thankyouverymuch and the cavern worker is keeping her glary-eye on him. His open mouth closes at the wide-eyed look Ezra gives him. What he was about to say goes unsaid for the moment. He looks that bad? He runs a rueful hand through his hair, fingers raking through it seeking to restore order only serve to leave it worse, little spikes sticking up on his crown. "Not…much," he answers Ezra lamely, nodding that everyone is okay. "I was on my way to find you." Next the jacket is shrugged out of, that too is dropped on the hearth and he steps out of the puddle, shaking each foot off as he does so. Still, he remains by the fire. "We, uh, took the people to the- their new home."

Ezra fidgets a bit, holding out the plate of food in a silent offer to the Weyrsecond. "When you didn't come right away I got worried," he admits. "But the dragons all seemed fine, so…" And he shrugs a bit. Then he stiffens slightly, straightening a bit. "And they'll be there forever?" he asks, his voice quiet but his eyes intense.

"The Weyrwoman was… distraught. I went to check on her," D’ani says in brief explanation as to why he didn't come right away. The plate is for…him? D'ani is hesitant to it, murmuring, "You'd better eat." When the dragon guarding him allows, he'll go get a plate of his own. "Yeah, forever," he says starkly, brown eyes dark, but unwavering on Ezra's. His gaze is a touch questioning. Is this going to sit well with the boy?

"Not all of it," Ezra says, holding on to the plate for a slit second before he lets it go unless D'ani gives it back. "Distraught?" D'ani went to Deitre first. Of course. Ezra figured he did, and he sits down quickly. Exhaling slowly, the boy nods. "Good," he says quietly, but there's a lack of pleasure in his tone. Just a grim resignation. It's good, perhaps, that he's not happy with the verdict. Accepting, yes, but he is not excited for their demise. "So…it's over then?"

D'ani takes the plate, and after a brief hesitation wherein he notes the boy's expression, he lowers himself to sit beside the boy on the edge of the hearth. The fire feels wonderful after the icy onslaught fighting his way across the bowl. Yes, he went to Dtirae first, and though he does not explain further about what had upset the Weyrwoman, he says quietly, "I hadn't forgotten you, Ezra. Are you… upset I-" He sighs, "Look, I'm sorry I shoved you at Rayathess and stuff." Glowered, growled and glared at him. "That was a very dangerous situation. Or it could have been." He too, is resigned about the holdless folk. but firmly convinced that the right thing has been done. "Yeah, it's over for good. It's their own fault," he adds lowly. "And I think people will think twice before going off with anyone who talks badly about the holds or weyrs." He hopes so, anyway.

Zoi flops happily at their feet, hoping for some scraps in a little while. Ezra shifts to get comfortable, taking a pastry to nibble on. "I know you didn't forget me," he says quietly. "You were busy." Glancing at him, he is quiet for a moment and sighs. "A little? But not. It was stupid of me but…I couldn't help it. You were just keeping me safe," he murmurs, staring at the floor. "I'm glad it's over."

D'ani holds that plate between them where Ezra can reach things too. He takes a muffin, biting off half of it and chewing with relish. Zoi might feel a few crumbs rain on her muzzle sooner, rather than later. Swallowing hard, either because he should have chewed longer or the thought of what he's about to say is difficult, he says, "I'm sorry, Ezra. I panicked!" He coughs, admitting that, then breathes a hefty sigh. "Yeah. I'm glad it’s over too. Now all that's left is to help the rest of the holdless assimilate to… wherever they're wanting to go."

Ezra shifts a bit, giving D'ani a fleeting, small smile. "Forgiven," he says swiftly, as if it didn't need to be said at all. "I…I shouldn't have said anything. I'm sorry I made you scared." He shifts a bit more, taking another pastry to eat, tossing part of it to Zoi who waits ever so patiently for all her treats. She is never disappointed! "Where will they go?" Ezra asks quietly.

D'ani leans and shoulder-bumps his friend, grinning ruefully. "Thanks. And forgiven right back atcha." He straightens, draws a breath and says bluntly, "I'm pretty sure that some of the folks who were with Laris at Stonehaven were among the holdless crowd, Ezra." Hopefully that helps him understand D'ani's panicked reaction better. That second half of his muffin follows the first and when his mouth is clear, he shakes his head, "I'm not sure where they’re going. They're allowed to appeal to any of the Holds under Fort's territory and the orphans'll be fostered or adopted by the Weyr or Holds."

Ezra squirms a bit, staring into the fire and reaching down to rub Zoi's ears. "I thought so," he murmurs. "I…I recognized a few. They all went to the island," he murmurs. "I am glad they are gone. They are all gone and I don't have to worry any more, that they'll come back for me. Which…it was so stupid to yell that," he says, running his hand through his hair. "It didn't cause trouble? They didn't fight back?" He's so afraid his ill timed shout caused harm to his friends.

D'ani glances at his friend sharply at the revelation that Ezra recognized some of Stonehaven’s assailants. "Did you?" Hmm. He should have thought to take Ezra to the camp during all that questioning, maybe. Ahh well. Too late now. "Me too," he says heartily of them being gone for good, very glad Ezra is now out of danger. That was one of the things wearing him out while the holdless remained so near the Weyr. What if one of them had a vendetta on his mind and- He stops that line of thought abruptly and shakes his head hastily. "Most of them didn’t fight… too badly. A few weren't going to go without a bit of a struggle, but we tied them up before putting them on the dragons."

Ezra nods, "I did," he says, soft but steady as he looks into the fire. He'll never forget those faces. Never. Sighing, he slumps in his seat. "I'm glad no one was hurt," he whispers.

Well, those faces will not be seeing anything but cold grey northern seas and barren rock for the rest of their lives - and perhaps the faces of the slain of Stonehaven in their nightmares. "Yeah, me too," agrees D'ani of no one being hurt, perhaps a bit too heartily. He says nothing of the one hurt on the transportation. The plate is abruptly handed to Ezra afterwhich he stands. "I need some klah. Badly. And a shave. In that order." He smiles roguishly down at Ezra. "I'm going to get a mug,. And a bath." He chuckles ruefully. "Not going anywhere in this storm, so I'll be in my office if you want to drop by after the harpers get done with you. Bring cookies?" No, he doesn't prod to ask if the boy is attending his lessons, he just assumes. He punches his friend's shoulder lightly, adding, "Seeya later."

Ezra blinks, a little startled by his friend's abrupt departure. "I will," he promises of the visit and the cookies. As for his lessons…he ditches those. Going back to his rooms, he instead begins to slowly and methodically clean. Time to grow up, Ezra.

And off goes D’ani to the klah pot. High in the bowl, Dremkoth is hunkered down inside on his couch, the ledge is icing up and the winds buffeting the bowl are enough to keep the bronze from hazardous flight and the slippery landing required to get his rider back up there, so the bathing caverns will suffice to have him looking (and smelling) presentable for the day since he is confined to the caverns until the blizzard wanes.

'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.