Goblin King! Goblin King!
Who Ibreily, Thys
What Thys has had enough. Ibreily volunteers to give the candidates a sleepless night.
When Summer, Turn 2711
Where Living Caverns, Fort Weyr

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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 a warm evening in the Weyr — a warm front from the sea pulling in warm, heavy air for the night. Clouds gather, but do no more than threaten rain outside. All chores dispensed with for the day, dinner and desserts dealt with for most, the Weyr's candidates are scattered to the winds. Freshly-bathed and wearing clothes meant for sleep, Ibreily is set up in a quiet corner away from hearths, a tea service in front of her. The harper-candidate sips absently from a mug as she reads a long roll of paper, expression highly amused. Apparently finishing, Ibby sets the roll down, picks up a pen in her free hand and eyes a blank sheet in front of her, foot tapping below her table. She's not exactly the only person around, but the smallish groups have been growing fewer and fewer since dinner officially finished, and it's quiet. Quiet enough that the expectant chattering of the bronze firelizard perched in front of her, too close to the steaming kettle really, goes further across the space than it usually might. "Shut up, Zippy, or I won't give you one of these." Down the hatch goes a delicious-looking confection. The firelizard makes a deeply wounded noise. Ibreily goes back to her not-writing, smirking.

It's been a few days since the empty caravan was found, and there are bound to be rumours circulating around the Weyr about it. Thys has probably heard none of them, as she's been entirely preoccupied since coming back to the Weyr with an unexpected burden to bear. That same burden is clinging to the reluctant junior weyrwoman as she makes a late appearance in the living caverns, with a thankfully clean toddler on her hip that's clinging tightly to her shirt. The little girl is sniffling and red-faced, on the verge of tears, and Thys? Well, she doesn't look like she's doing any better as she struggles to one-handedly pour herself a cup of klah. The tot starts crying when she's shaken too much, and Thys? Thys throws down the mug in frustration and actually stamps her foot, while knotting her spare hand into her short, seemingly uncombed hair and tugging. "Stop. Stop it. Just stop. Please." The sound of a firelizard makes her look up, desperation in her bloodshot dark eyes rather than her typical cool - and she lets out a ragged breath. "Candidate. Please." Snap snap snap go her fingers as she tries to recall the right name. "Ibreily. Could you please…?" Wave your magic wand, perhaps?

Ibreily has gotten all the way to 'Dear Snotbrain and Giant Whale,' when her admittedly non-existant train of thought is interrupted. At first, the harper shakes it off, not glancing up, but chewing thoughtfully on the end of her pen and scrawling an uncharitable picture of a possibly-pregnant woman in the margin of her page. Foot-stamping, mug-tossing, and crying, then her name — well, those are enough to drag Ibby up out of her reverie. The candidate blinks at the tableau that meets her gaze, expression blank for a few seconds. Thys. Thys with a baby. Thys — OH. Ibreily is a harper, about as plugged into the rumor mill as you can get, and her eyes widen immediately with understanding. Sympathy follows shortly, and she hops to her feet, not bothering with shoes as she gestures at the table. "Sit? I've tea. It's a special blend. For sleep-nerves." She explains, zeroing in on the tot. She might not have a wand, exactly, but she has a flair for dramatics? "Look at you!" The candidate gasps, dramatic, and gestures broadly with both hands, a 'c'mere, you' and 'tiny, cute human!' kind of waggle, both. "You wanna see the firelizard, squirt? Give Thys a break? She's gonna throw ya, she is." Ibby croons like she isn't saying terrible, and likely untrue things, grinning crookedly at the poor goldrider. She gestures one-handed, and the firelizard hops up onto her shoulder, chattering and preening a little.

Thys is so exhausted, so fed up, that she gives up on the pursuit of klah to follow Ibreily's directions. She slips into the seat, slumped, rubbing a hand over her face in an attempt to at least look more awake than she actually feels. "Thank you," she murmurs, giving the crying toddler a jiggle. Or something. She tries to do something to make it stop. As for the kid? Well, she's bawling at Ibreily's hands, hiding her snotty face against the goldrider's neck. It makes Thys cringe. "She won't shut up. She won't go with anyone else. Can you… try?" Desperation, again. It makes Thys' voice crack as she looks pleadingly at the candidate. Any port in a storm, Ibsy, and your docks're looking mighty fine.

"Oh, gross." That's for the snotty hiding-face, and Ibby's face scrunches up. Well, it is, and there's no denying that. She doesn't victory-lap over having denied the poor woman her klah, but she does pour a mug of tea and the sugar bowl across the table one-handed. "Are ya scared, squirt? Scared's alright. Thys's got you, doesn't she?" Whether or not the kid understands, she pitches her voice comforting, and makes a grimace-y face at the rider. "She's from the attack? Probably think's I'm going to." That's a descriptive kind of gesture, disrupting the flit from his perch, and it's probably good that the baby has her face hidden. Then, she's — gone? Underneath the table. Disappeared. Shuffle scuff — "Ha. Firelizard won't work, get backup." A little muffled, until she reappears, this time with a giant mass of fur and giant puppy eyes under one arm. The harper-candidate holds the pup up, shifting her so she can nose at the toddler's leg. Ibby settles on the floor, then, not looking much concerned as she crosses her legs and puts the puppy in her lap. "I'll try, ma'am. Have you tried runner-back yet? Used to put me right to sleep. Something 'bout the rocking. I bet she likes runners."

Thys looks very, very grateful for the tea. It's just really hard to drink it when there's someone tugging on your hair and screaming in your ear, and the closest it gets to her lips is a few inches from them. She lets out a frustrated sigh, setting the mug back down to try again later. "Found her in a chest. We're guessing her parents stashed her there to be safe, but Faranth knows." She's tired, and from the sound of it, Thys doesn't really care what the backstory is. The puppy gets a fonder look than the toddler's probably received from the goldrider - but it does capture the tot's attention. The wet nose causes the sobs to subside, and she actually loosens a hand from Thys' hair to make grabby gestures at the poor canine. "She likes Heart. My canine. Maybe I should just strap her to Heart's back for the day." Thys runs a hand through her hair, ruffling it up even further, then reaches for her tea to try again. "Unfortunately I don't have time to go riding runners. I don't have time for this," kid! "either, but it would seem I have no say in it… the nannies sent her back after she screamed until she was blue."

Ibby sits up for long enough to grab the plate of sugary confections — leaving a few on the table for the frazzled rider — before re-settling, scratching the pup's ears happily when it doesn't investigate. "Probably. She's lucky you found her." The harper murmurs, looking somber for a moment; it fades, though, with the promising lack of crying. The pup wags her tail, ears perking as she stands on Ibby's legs to lean a little closer to the todder. Not close enough that she can be reached without some maneuvering, though, since she's held back subtly. "I betcha the canine wouldn't mind babysitting." She grins, lopsided. "Ask for one of those…cages, for kids. Put 'em both in it, do your paperwork near it?" Suggests the only one who's probably gotten any sleep real recently. She plunks one of the puffy egg-foam sweets in her mouth and makes a happy sound, smacking dramatically. "These are so good. Mmmmm." They're good, but they're really not good enough to require enthusiastic bouncing and loud 'nomnomnom' noises. Probably. Subtlety and babies doesn't pay? "Ahhh. The rewards of being a decent person. Kid imprints on ya like a baby avian, don'cha, squirt? She's safe, but why on Pern would the nanny be?" Tut-tut-tut. "They don't have folks backing you up so you can take a few days to get her adjusted?" Not WANT to be slobbered on 24/7, you say??

"She's the lucky one." Thys rolls her eyes, giving the kid on her hip a look. The goldrider clearly does not consider herself to be lucky. "Heart doesn't stay with me all the time, the Herders look after her while I'm working." Which is more often than not, on a typical day. "I honestly, honestly just want to leave her with the nannies. They're good! I promise they're good, and they'll take bloody good care of you," this is all for the benefit of the little one, of course, "and they'll spoil you rotten - but nooooo, you've got cling like a sharding limpet to someone who doesn't even want you." It's delivered in a sing-song end-of-her-tether sort of voice - and yet somehow, Thys actually makes her ward laugh. When sound happens Thys cringes, expecting it to be more tears… and there's a visible relief that washes over her when it isn't. "I don't want to pull folks from their regular jobs to help me out," she says to Ibreily, shaking her head. She's too proud for that.

"She is." Ibby agrees easily enough, then hums agreement with the working-rider-working-canine of it all. "Not a bad setup. Tee came from the herders, too." The candidate relays, ruffling the loose skin on top of the pup's head back and forth. "Of course the nannies are good. They're just not you." Probably Thys knows this. Just, y'know, sometimes things bear repeating on negative sleep. Thys is continuing though, and the harper is doing a just-terrible job of containing her mirth, eyes scrunching up. Mostly for the kid's reaction for the sing-song descent into possible madness, but you know. "Funny rider, isn't she? Can you say 'Arrrrr', little barnacle?" The last is a terrible impersonation of a sailor's accent, as Ibby pointedly eats another sweet, num-nom-nom-ing indelicately. The rider's pride gets a wincing kind of nod, but she doesn't waver in expression, dramatically eating. Things are great, down on the floor. "It's just an adjustment period, eyy? She's been through a faranth-shardin'-ton of crap, for a little. Change is hard on 'em. And those that they won't let the shells go, I guess." Sympathetic wince.

Canines? Those Thys can talk about, and she latches onto that snippet of information provided by Ibreily. "Heart actually came from the desert. Rhenesath found her litter, dead mother, and we brought them back… Faranth, just like this one." 'This one' being the tot. Thys groans, leaning back in the chair and sinking a little. "It's always Rhenesath's fault. She's always pushing me to have one of these." Something suggests Thys thinks her dragon may have planned it all. "She doesn't speak yet. Or she hasn't spoken yet. Just crying and screaming, and then screaming and crying, and then maybe a little bit of giggling, and then more screaming and crying and screaming and screaming and crying. She's hoarse. Has to be. I'm hoarse just listening."

This is NOT Ibreily's Judging Face. Nope. That rogue eyebrow is under control, mostly. She just grins a little, fondly scritching the Teensy's ears. "That's a lucky find for Heart, too. Is she a herding type? Rhenesath is a good ally, in a sweep, it sounds like. Not every dragon has the eye for it, do they?" That is probably meant to be a compliment, and not a condemnation of a meddling dragon. Bless. She definitely can't defend the dragon, either. "Could be she just wanted to save the little wherry from a terrible fate?" Except she kind of can. Or maybe she's testing the waters of being The Reasonable One. It doesn't seem to suit her, if the grimace is any indication. "Ah," A dramatic wince, and Ibby kind of glances away. "That. Sounds normal? Maybe she's teething. Maybe her stomach's upset with a different diet. Maybe she just wants her ma." The last is quiet, but it's only for a moment. "If you can get her to get off ya for ten minutes, I'd be happy to help. Got plenty of cousins. Nieces, nephews, the works. Shells, you want me to take 'er now, she'll calm down eventually. I can take the yelling." The harper-candidate grins.

"Rhenesath is as broody as a bloody hen, and she'll gather all the little things under her wings if they'd let her." And it annoys Thys to think about right now - she closes her eyes, pinches the bridge of her nose, and exhales to clear her mind. "I have no sharding clue what's 'normal' for little humans. Not. A. Sharding. Clue. Goats? Sure. Dragons? No problem. Canines, firelizards? Bring 'em to me. But people?" She lets out a thoroughly frustrated sound, that makes the little kid giggle again. Thys also gets a handful of her hair tugged at. Her head moves with each pull, and she closes her eyes and grits her teeth, lips pulled into a thin line. "Take her. Oh Faranth's flaming arse, take her. I'll let you off chores for a sevenday if you can take her and get her to shut up and stay in the damned nursery for Faranth's sake why are you crying again?!" It's a long sentence to exhale on one breath, words coming increasingly more rapid-fire, because the kid is howling once more. "Take her. Please."

"Golds." Wisely, Ibreily slanders, like her blue-sharding uncle Jaesriuth wasn't also a broody hen of anything small and cute. "I'll have a book sent up. I got it for my id — my brother, also. I looked for ages for one that'd help him, and if it'd help him…." Definitely not an idiot because he doesn't know what to do with a baby, but Ib's not taking any chances here. Thys isn't exactly on the well-rested side here. And — oh, there's the giggling again, and Thys is promising terrible-beautiful things, and Ibreily is so in. "Deal. I'm on the case. I will do my best. If nothing else, da's tried-and-true whiskey pacifier ought to do the trick, oughtn't it, little barnacle?" And Ibby is surprisingly strong; fighty, clingy squirt or not, she's been given a begging-order and she'll follow it. Whether or not she actually follows through on boozing a toddler is probably never to be known. Still, the harper-candidate isn't unkind, as she bolts out of immediate sight of Thys as quicky as she can. It's going to be an interesting night in the barracks, for sure. Zippy sits by the abandoned letters looking disgrunted; but Teensy is up, following on her girl's heels loyally. Screaming baby what screaming baby? "Come on, barnacle baby, let's go meet some runners! Yeah!" She's upbeat because it's hour zero.

And Thys? Thys has two hands to herself and a mug of tea and NO CHILD, and while she looks dopily after Ibreily as the girls runs away with her unwanted ward, she smiles. Then she laughs. And then? Then she just nestles herself into the seat, crosses her arms over her lap… and dozes off. Because why not?


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