Harper Hall - Dining Hall
Another large hall, it has enough space for everyone to assemble at mealtimes and room to spare for any guests. Closest to the door leading from the Entrance Foyer are the round tables where the Masters sit. In the center of the hall, several long wood tables are arranged in rows with benches and this is where the Apprentices will sit. Only the tables closest to the great hearths are reserved for guests. More round tables fill the back of the hall and these are intended for the Journeyman. Opposite to the wall holding the great hearths, tall shuttered windows have been carved into the stone and overlook the courtyard. By the door leading to the kitchens, small serving tables have been arranged and are refilled often by the kitchen workers and staff.
At mealtimes, the hall is a hubbub of conversation and even between meals there is activity with places being set and cleared, while the appetising savor of meals to come drifts in from the kitchens below.

Snow, snow and more snow. It's a true Fortian winter and that means mornings suck! Especially when the fires have burned down low and the cold has seeped into the stone. At least it'll be warm in some parts of the Hall? The kitchens for sure and the Dining Hall has long since attained a comfortable temperature. Breakfast has come and gone and with it most of the Harpers and workers within the Hall and any visitors. One lingers behind though, nose in a book and his plate largely untouched. Not that that is unusual for Rayathess of late and it doesn't look like he's slept either and his hair is untidy and he may need a shave soon. At least his clothes are clean and he looks to have bathed recently?

Tyani hates the snow. She has learned, has decided, and she is dead set in her ways. Thankfully the kitchens are warm, and she's thawed after a night spent shivering in her room. Warm by Fortian standards is not warm by /her/ standards, and she needs more blankets and maybe even a brazier in her room that lacks a hearth. She's warmed up now though by the kitchen fires, dressed in her usually well made clothes, blonde hair back in a neat runnertail with a few tendrils purposefully left to curve around her face. Carrying a tray of bread into the hall she looks around and the mostly full plate catches her attention. With a click of her tongue she boldly approaches. "Did you find something wrong with this morning's meal, Harper?" she asks, polite enough, but the hand on her hip is a challenge.

She'll have to get used to it as sadly Fort is cold for most of the Turn! Rayathess is oblivious to her arrival and her disapproval until she's approached the table. EVen then he's slow to lower the book and focus on her, brows already knitted in a mild look of annoyance as he reluctantly draws his attention away from whatever it is he was reading. He gives her a cursory look over, a brow quirking as he realizes she's unfamiliar (not that he's well acquainted with the kitchen workers or any other posted Crafters here). "No? I just forgot to eat… and then realized I was not hungry at all. It'll go to my firelizards," he mutters and unaware that that may seem like an insult and rise to her challenge.

He was doing something else before she arrived? Tyani doesn't notice, a fine brow arching upwards at his look of annoyance. "Forget to eat?" The concept is foreign to her. Then she scoffs. "Are you saying my food is fit only for firelizards? You wound me, Harper, with your words."

Rayathess closes the book he was reading with an audible snap and thumps it down on the table. Really? They're going to have this conversation? "Why does it bother you?" he grumbles, eyeing her with a mixture of curiosity and annoyance. "Would you rather I throw it out? I've three of the things to feed and if it's good enough for me it's good enough for them." So there.

Tyani barely glances at the book, and that flicker of curiosity in her eyes is just that - a flicker. "Because I made it! And I'd rather /you/ eat it, since it was made with people in mind, not firelizards." And yet Kilo gets all the scraps he wants. Go figure. "What was wrong with it?" she asks, professional curiosity demanding she get feedback. What if a recipe needs to be changed?

Rayathess wouldn't have told her what the book was about even if she asked but he figures she can read at least and thus figure it out herself. "Journeyman," He doesn't have her name. "It's none of your business if I eat or not. I'm sure you're skills at cooking are fine and it's no slight against you if I'm just not hungry." he replies bluntly and smirks, only to exhale in exasperation. "Nothing is! Look for yourself, I've not taken a bite. How would I know?" Which brings him back to an earlier point and his eyes dart to the knot she wears.

Tyani looks down at the plate, and then she leans over to stab his fork into some of the food and take a bite. Then she's huffing and jerking the plate away. "Salty. I /told/ them I'd already salted it!" Spinning on a heel, she takes two steps, turns back, points, "Stay there," turns, and vanishes down the stairs into the kitchens.

Rayathess jumps when she so brazenly grabs his fork and stabs it into his food. "What're you doing!" he exclaims in a low, almost hissed voice. Now she's taking the plate? He eyes her warily, as if already pegging her as 'a little off in the head'. Her command earns her an indignant huff. "What—-" Makes her think he'll obey her? But she's vanished and he can only lift one hand in a dismissive gesture. Okay then! That was… odd. He totally doesn't think she'll be back either and with a shake of his head, disappears back behind his book.

Tyani isn't gone long. Less than five minutes and she's back with another plate, which she sets in front of him. "Try that." She's smiling at least, pushing hair out of her face. Eager for him to try it and tell her that he loves it, no doubt!

Five minutes is better than none but Rayathess was hoping for more. A LOT more! Again, he slaps the book shut and now his eyes do narrow in annoyance to Tyani. Really? "You're persistent." he points out dryly and his tone implies FAR more but luckily for the both of them he's civilized now and doesn't speak so crass. "And," The book is placed down on the table and he leans back in his chair, hands laced together on the table's edge as he peers at her. "What part of 'I'm not hungry' did you not catch?" Nope! He's not touching it — because he's a big jerk.

Tyani nods, "I am." She won't argue with him there! She blinks. "What does hunger have to do with eating? Not like your mouth seals itself when you're full. Try it. I made it for you." And there's a little smile. And a sweeter tone. "Please?"

"It means I have no desire to eat anything, not even a mouthful!" Rayathess fires back with a smirk and as stubborn as ever as he continues to stare at her through a frown and narrowed eyes. How is she not yet upset at him? Most girls by now have thrown in the towel or stormed off because of his behaviour and he's not exactly been fuzzy and welcoming to her. In fact, he's close to telling her to shove off (politely) but then she pulls THAT card! Ugh. The 'I made it for you' card. With a 'please' insurance. Sighing, he relents and picks up his fork with a bit more force than necessary. If he has to do this, he won't enjoy it! Stabbing a forkful of food, he takes the bite, making sure to stare her down the entire time. "There. Satisfied now?" Can she go away (and the food too)?

Tyani slides over to settle a hip onto the table across from him, beaming sweetly as he takes the bite. "Was it good?" So, no. Not satisfied yet.
Rayathess closes his eyes briefly and not because he finds the food SO GOOD that he's in a state of bliss but more because if he doesn't, he's going to snap something at Tyani that WILL send her away crying. "It was," he says simply and makes to pick up not his fork but his book.

Tyani is satisfied by that. "Great!" she says brightly, swooping in to take his plate and fork again. "That wasn't so hard now was it?" With a giggle and a wink, she turns and flounces back towards the kitchen stairs. She has work to do after all. And wasn't he reading something?

That was it? And of course Rayathess had to go about it the hard way. He snorts at her giggling and reclaims his book (yes, he was reading!) and it's when he glances at the cover that he seems to change his mind. "Hey, wait—!" he calls out. Or is he too late?

Tyani pauses at the top of the stairs and turns, blonde runnertail swinging as she peers at him over her shoulder and grins. "Hungry now?"

"Who are you?" Rayathess doesn't answer her question but asks one of his own. "If you're going to interrupt my morning, you may as well give me your name." he adds with dry sarcasm and another one of his smirks.

Tyani laughs, light and easy. "Tyani. Baker Journeyman, newly posted. Hey," she adds, taking a step back towards his table, "are you from here? Is it always this, you know. Cold? And snowy?" She looks genuinely concerned.

Rayathess blinks when Tyani only laughs and for a moment he is silent, peering at her again as if studying her anew like some fascinating (and frustratingly confusing) puzzle. "Ahh, well. That explains a few things," he admits and when she begins bringing up the weather, he shifts in his chair and though he says nothing, it's implied that she's welcome to sit by the change in his body language. "Well, yes? It's Fort. We're north enough to be cold most of the winter months and snow too yes. Lots of it. Ice as well if the Turn is particularly bad." He pauses, giving her a lingering stare. "Southerner, aren't you? Or an Islander?"

Tyani doesn't read his body language, she just walks forward and sits down across from him, his plate in front of her. She heaves a heavy sigh. "Southern continent. Norwynn Hold, on the coast. I'd never even /seen/ snow until a few days ago…" She pauses, pushing hair away from her face. "I don't like it. But at least now I have some clothes that are warm enough."

That poor neglected plate of food! Rayathess eyes it briefly but doesn't make any move to sample more of it. Not yet, anyways. He silently mouths the name of Tyani's hold and then recollection hits. "I know of it," Of course he would. He's a Harper! It's his business to know even if he focuses more on Fort's region. "And yeah, I bet it's a shock. What brought you here, then? Posted here?" he asks and then smirks, "Guess that rules out running away, huh?"

Not yet, not ever, as Kilo comes bounding up to Tyani, standing on his hind legs with his curled tail wagging, paws against her thigh. Tyani momentarily ignores Rayathess as she coos over the canine in a girly, baby-talk voice. "Ooooh, Kilo! Have you been a good boy? Have you? Sit. Siiiit…. close enough!" and she gives him a bite of food from Raya's plate, which sends the canine spinning in brainless delight. She's drawn back to the conversation though with a wide, proud smile. "It's a good holding. And I was posted here from Southern Hold." Wasn't her choice, as she giggles. "I wouldn't run away again."

Annnd any appetite Rayathess may have had vanishes the moment Tyani baby-talks to the canine and it's clear, even from his incredulous staring at Kilo, that he's… not fond of the creature. "What… is that?" he asks, barely able to keep from curling his nose in dislike. "You've a pet canine? I didn't think they'd allow that, given you work in the kitchens. Unless he's a spit-dog?" That must be it, right? Surely the canine has a purpose! … or maybe not, as with those brainless spins Rayathess is beginning to think something is wrong with the thing. "Again?" he prompts.

Tyani giggles, bending to lift Kilo into her lap, though she keeps him off the table. "This is Kilo! He's such a sweet little thing, yes you are! Yes you are. And he's not in the kitchens often, and goodness no, he's not a spit-dog! He's much too pretty for that. He's my dog." Isn't that purpose enough? "Mmmhmm." Yes, again, and she smiles at him and winks.

Rayathess will keep his distance from Kilo and certainly doesn't fawn over him. When she claims he's not a spit-dog, he frowns. "Is he a hunter then? Pest control?" Nope, his brain cannot wrap around the concept of a 'lap dog'. He does his best to ignore Tyani's baby-talk and the wink too. "So you are a runaway then?"

Tyani ruffles Kilo's ears and giggles when he licks her chin. "Oh, sometimes he manages to catch something…" So…no. Then there's another little laugh, but there's sorrow in her eyes. "They know where I am."

"What use is he then?" Sorry, he can't resist. It's utterly baffling to him and it shows in his expression! Rayathess just stares at the dog with an almost comical perplexed look etched on his features. His eyes finally dart back to Tyani and he catches the sorrow there and hastily he ducks his head down and clears his throat. "… sorry. Didn't mean to pry." Where's that plate of food? There it is. He drags it a little closer.

Tyani turns Kilo and lifts him up, the canine panting, tongue lolling as he grins at Rayathess with a vacant expression. A /happy/ expression, but yeah…not much going on up there. His tail wags and he is kind of cute…but he's functionally useless. "He's a sweetheart! And he keeps me warm. Those rooms are /freezing/." Huff. Then she waves a hand, pushing hair away from her face. "Don't worry about it. What's your name anyway?"

Rayathess will never, EVER, admit that Kilo is cute or show public affection towards him. At least not today! It may take Turns before he warms up to the thing (yes, thing). Dogs to him are workers, not pets. "Ask for more blankets. You shouldn't sleep with canines," he mutters. Animals go on the floor or in the stables! Pulling that plate of food closer, he'll begin to idly pick at it. Better to hide his awkwardness (and okay, maybe he IS hungry!). "Rayathess," he tells her quietly. "Rayathess Stonehaven. Journeyman Harper."

Tyani nods, "I did. And he's so soft and warm…" Of course she's going to let him snuggle with her in the bed. "And he'd be so cold if he wasn't under the blankets…" Ha. Hahaha. She watches him pull that food towards him with a pleased grin. "Well met, Rayathess. Still posted here at the Hall?"

Rayathess rolls his eyes — again, it cannot be helped. "He's got fur," he replies dryly between mouthfuls of food. "He'll be fine. My brother breeds canines and if they can survive being in the stables during a Fortian winter? He" And he jabs his fork in the air towards Kilo. " I'm sure is just as well off." Nope! He doesn't see the appeal. At all. "I am, for now but I travel often."

Tyani shakes her head, stroking Kilo's fur. "He's not bred to be an outdoor dog. He's a Southern dog. He likes the warmth and the sand. Not snow and ice." In his defense though, Kilo loves everything. He's too dumb to know any different. "How do you travel?"

"A canine is a canine and he looks furry enough to me," Rayathess stubbornly remarks. Sorry, girl, he just doesn't like your dog (yet!)! "He'll adapt if you let him." Smirk. "By runner. I've my own stallion." Okay, maybe he sounded a little boastful there.

Tyani tsks, shaking her head again. "He doesn't want to adapt…" And down he goes to the floor again where he can sniff around for scraps. "Ooh, a nice one?"

Rayathess gives her a skeptical look, "How do you know he doesn't want to? He's an animal. Animals adapt," Or they die. He's not cruel enough to say THAT to Tyani's face however. "I've had a few requests from runner breeders for him, yes. I suppose that'd make him 'nice' but after the runner plagues…" He shrugs. Maybe his stallion is a show stopper? Rayathess wouldn't know. "He's sound and he rides well. Reliable."

Tyani scratches Kilo under the chin. "Because he's such a /sweet/ little thing…yes you are. Yes, yes you are." She smiles over the table to Rayathess, nodding. "That's good. Important. Even better if he looks good too, then he has everything a good runner should have."

Rayathess has to resist gagging for Tyani's baby-sweet talk to Kilo and her smile is met only with a neutral look from him. One that shifts again as he quirks a brow. "A good runner doesn't have to be flashy to be a great mount." he mutters and resumes tucking into his plate of food, his book from earlier forgotten.

Tyani shakes her head. "No, of course not, but it's nice when they are that /too/."

Rayathess pauses mid bite to look up again and snort in a scoffing way. "Oh? Please. Enlighten me," he mutters and his voice drips with sarcasm. Maybe he does want some entertainment with his breakfast?

Tyani blinks, looking a bit confused. "Enlighten you about what?" she asks with a light giggle. "It's always better when a runner has looks as well as skill. No one's going to look twice at an ugly stud, no matter how good he might perform."

Rayathess's mouth curves as if she just gave him the answer he expected. "Just as I thought," he remarks dryly and cryptically. He does not elaborate but looks down at his now almost-empty plate.

Tyani laughs, but it's a bit hesitant. "What were you thinking?"

If she asks, she'll receive! Rayathess finishes the last bite of food and with a low exhale, pushes the empty plate aside as he stretches out in his chair. "Oh, just your answer. Wouldn't have expected anything less…" Wait. What's that supposed to mean? Is he calling her shallow? (Yes, yes he is.)

Tyani eyes him for a moment, and for an even briefer moment there's a flicker of a keen intelligence in those grey-green eyes. But then it's gone. "What's wrong with something also having beauty? It's not necessary, but it certainly helps."

Rayathess doesn't catch that flicker but he is thrown slightly by her answer. Okay… that's a bit more intelligent! "Beauty is not the make all and be all though. Sure, it could help, but some beautiful things can be quite ugly too — or dangerous. A beautiful runner could be just that: beautiful; but dangerous temper. Same goes for people and plants…" He waves a hand dismissively and snorts, "Sorry. I'm rambling…"

Tyani shakes her head with another laugh. "I never said it was! Just that it's a nice bonus if your runner is also a good mount. Sound, rides well, reliable, as you said. /And/ pretty? A bonus."

"Oh. Well, you made it seem like that's how you felt," Rayathess grumbles and smirks for her laughter. So who's too quick to judge now, huh? Despite his earlier reluctance in having the young woman as company, he seems to be thawing a little bit towards her. "If it wasn't winter, I'd offer to bring you to see him. Though he's hard to miss. His colouring is unusual."

Tyani turns towards the door and shivers. "I don't want to go outside until it's summer." There's a brief pause and an almost pitiful question, "It /does/ get warm during the summer, right?" She fiddles with Kilo's collar, adjusting it. "What's his coloring?"

Rayathess chuckles dryly and not entirely in a nice way. It's more like a 'oh wow, you got to be kidding me…' way. "Get use to the cold. Welcome to the north!" he says with a unsympathetic smirk. "And you'll have to go outside at some point. Else you'll get all weird up here…" He taps the side of his head. "Cabin fever. Not pretty." Now he's just being mean to her! "And yes, our summers are warm but brief. And his colouring is known as blue roan with a… shards what do they call it? Lattice pattern? It's a white pattern on his rump. Looks like lattice work…"

Tyani eyes him for a long moment. "That's just a myth," she finally decides. "I can stay in here where it's warm, as long as I want to." She ruffles Kilo's ears again, and looks relieved at the mention of summers. "Oh good. And ooh, he /does/ sound pretty. Maybe someday I can see him. I had a mare back home. Very flashy, all black but with a cream mane and tail."

Rayathess shakes his head, "It is not a myth." he replies with a smirk. "And I give you a month before you're crazy from it." Challenge accepted? "Cold really isn't THAT bad, you know." he mutters and then, for the first time, looks genuinely curious. "So why didn't you bring her?"

Tyani grins brightly at him. "A month? I can do that." Challenge accepted! She shivers. "It's awful. It hurts and it makes you all…slow, and I don't have anything to wear." She has a few things, sure, but nothing /cute/. Then she looks down to Kilo and ruffles his ears. "I left home by boat."

Rayathess rolls his eyes and sighs, "Alright then." Just don't come crying to him when she starts to go loopy! "Just saying, you'll want to get as much outdoor time now before the snow gets deeper and the weather colder. This is just the start…" Which is probably not helping matters at all. "Harper Hall has storage you know… plenty of clothing there." he reminds her and then snorts. "They ship runners by boat all the time."

Tyani blinks. "Just…the start…deeper?" Look at her almost panic. She pauses. "I don't want anything from /storage/." And she laughs, as if he's just made a joke. Because he had to be joking, right? Then she smirks. "Not when you're trying to not be seen on said ship. Kilo was easy to hide. A runner…not so much."

Rayathess brows lift up, "Shards. Do you know anything about the north? Yeah, it's going to get worse. Not as bad as High Reaches but we still get pretty cold." he mutters and then sighs, "What's wrong with the stuff in storage?" Is he going to regret asking this? He peers at her, frowning now as she proves to be such the enigma. "Right. You ran off. Why?" Did she ever say?

Tyani shifts a bit, darting a look at him. "Why would I?" she mutters sullenly. Then she sniffs. "They're old, not at all the current fashion. Wrong colors, wrong cut, and they're not made for me." Does he regret it? She darts a look at him and then down to Kilo's ears again, stroking the dozing idiot. "Wanted to see something other than my home hold."

"Most folks consider all options before moving continents!" Rayathess explains dryly and then sighs, "Who cares?" No, he does not give one ounce of interest into 'fashion' — not in levels like Tyani, at least. "And let me guess… daddy and mommy didn't want you to?" he mutters.

Tyani shakes her head. "I didn't move continents. I went to Southern Hold." /Then/ she moved continents. Then she just stares at him. "/I/ care. And no, Father didn't. Mother is dead." That's said a bit bitingly. To maybe jab him back for being such an ass.

Rayathess smirks, "Yeah, you started there. Now you're here." So he's going to call her on that! "Why do you care? Clothes are clothes. You're a baker…" Baker don't need no fancy things! Tsk. At least he looks properly sheepish and ashamed for her biting retort and the knowledge that yes, he's an ass. "I'm sorry, Tyani. I didn't know…" And this is supposed to make it better? He hesitates, fidgeting a bit before he mumbles under his breath. "My mother is dead too." His whole family is save for two of his siblings but… he'll leave it at that for now.

Tyani nods slowly, and her voice is slow too. Measured. As if talking to an idiot. "Yes…and my runner is still back at home. The Bakers weren't going to pay for a runner's passage to the Northern Continent." She scoffs. "And I look good doing it!" She quiets, rubbing Kilo's ears and looking down at him. "Sorry," she murmurs. "Did she die giving birth to you?"

Rayathess's ears turn red as he flushes a bit from embarrassment and the fact that she's talking to him like he's an idiot which also sparks his temper but he bites his tongue. "Could you send for your runner now?" he asks gently and then it's his turn to be silent. For a long, long time and well into the point of awkwardness. He's not even looking at her and when he does speak, it's obvious it costs him considerably to find the words. "No." Pause. He wants to stop there but he wonders if Tyani will just pry further and to save them the awkwardness of that he just pushes on. "She was killed when I was thirteen."

Tyani shrugs. "I could, but what's the point with all this snow? And there's no one really to take care of her, as you said, I'm a Baker. Bakers don't need nice clothes /or/ runners." She focuses on Kilo until Rayathess speaks agian, and then she looks up. "Oh." There's another long pause. "I'm sorry." And another. "How?"

"It's better for travel and they'd care for her in the stables. I leave my stallion in their care here." Rayathess mumbles and begins to fidget again, uncomfortable with Tyani's sudden negative behaviour. Guilty because he KNOWS he's the cause behind it. Nice going, big shot! "It's fine, it's—-" A long and sad story and now she's asking 'how' and Rayathess can only falter and his mouth work soundlessly. He doesn't want to tell her but feels he owes her that much at least for being a jerk. Besdies… who doesn't know by now? It's in the archives! And he gave her his name. "Murdered." he says flatly. "My whole family was. It's only my brother and sister who're left. He has Stonehaven now and just married. So…" That's that.

Tyani is about to protest again, just to be contrary, when he drops /that/ news. And of course she didn't do research and of course she didn't hear of such horrible things back home. She just gasps, a hand flying to her lips. "Murdered?" she whispers breathlessly. "Oh! That's…that's so awful, I'm so sorry!"

Rayathess does his best not to wince for the reaction Tyani gives but it's hard not to and he'll grimace all the same. "Yeah," It is awful. Terrible and tragic and it's clear he's uncomfortable and awkward now. Sympathy has never settled well on him. "Don't really… want to talk about it." Not with her (not yet). "If you go in the archives it's all there." All of it, including Rayathess' stupidity that led him and Ha'ze right into Ustrr's path.

Tyani looks a bit surprised. "The archives?" Vacant for a moment, it then sinks in and she shakes her head. "That's okay, I'm…I'm good." Not knowing. She's good not knowing. "Does your brother like being a Holder?"

Rayathess shrugs his shoulders and begins to reach for his book, pulling it off the table and settling it in his lap. A sign that he's preparing to leave. Not right away… but soon. "Suit yourself," he says but now she knows where to go if she's ever morbidly curious about Stonehaven's past. "He does. It suits him far better than it ever would have suited me. He's happy." And that's all that matters in the end.

Tyani nods, looking around, towards the stairs down to the kitchens. She's surprised no one has come to yell at her yet. "And you?" she finally asks with a slow return of her usual smile. "Are you happy as a Harper?"

Rayathess has his own duties to attend to as well and sensing that they're both looking to escape back to work, he'll begin to stand and his book is now tucked against his side. "Yes, I am." he says without hesitation now. "And I suppose you are as a Baker?"

Tyani puts Kilo on the floor and then she also stands, smiling fondly as the canine darts over to Rayathess to run happy circles around his legs. Hihihihihihihi! His return question has Tyani considering, before she puts on a bright smile. "Of course! Who wouldn't be?"

Rayathess resists the urge to just… kick Kilo, even if it'll be mildly satisfying (but so very cruel and he's not a cruel man). So the canine is ignored and he'll focus instead on Tyani. "Hard not to be if it's the Craft you enjoy," he mutters and then dips his head politely to her. Neutral. "Good day to you, Tyani." And sorry he was such an ass for half of their interaction.

Tyani curtseys properly. "Good day to you as well, Rayathess." She hesitates, and then turns and makes her quick way back down the stairs to the kitchens. Kilo…still runs around Rayathess and he'll try to follow the Harper as he leaves. I LOVE YOU AND YOU'RE MY BEST FRIEND NOW RIGHT?!