More Salt (Or Lack Thereof)

Fort Weyr - Weyrsecond's and Jr. Weyrwomen's Office
Aged by time, just like the other offices carved into the stone, these ones have lived through the ages of Fort with the only change given to time being subtle ones to the decor as new staff come to fill the space. Situated next to the Weyrleader's Office, the small cavern leads into a spacious alcove of sorts before branching into two separate directions. On the right it leads to the Weyrsecond's personal office, a modest sized room complete with all the necessary furnishings required, along with a few shelves, a book shelf and storage for records and reports. On the left, it leads to the Junior Weyrwomen's offices and this larger room is set with three desks rather than one, along with all the other necessities needed. Both offices have small hearths built in to offer some warmth in the colder months and as there are no windows, several glow baskets have been installed to offer enough light and a few tapestries hung to offer a touch of color. Doors have also been painstakingly worked in, allowing some privacy if needed, though often they are left open.

Midafternoon means that Inri's daytime break is over, and has been over long enough that she's well settled back at her desk. There's a pot of tea steeping, and a short pile of papers surrounding the one she's actually writing on with a very slightly leaky pen. The tea, at least, smells good and is creating a nice ambiance for the room, along with the soft sound of Inri humming to herself because Dtirae, Thys and D'ani are all off doing things that don't involve sitting at desks. (Like, for instance, hunting and their crafts.) Her hair is down, which is a rarity; every time she stops to consider, hair ends up getting twirled around the pen.

This may, in the end, mean that she is going to end up permanently losing either a pen or a curl, when Zhirayr comes storming into the office, "respectfully" fuming a deathglare at the top of her head while he waits for her to notice him, because if he's going to yell at a weyrwoman — and he's going to yell at her all right — he's going to at least try to pretend to be polite and respectful at the start of the conversation. Briefly. Fumingly.

"Knocking gets my attention faster," says Inri without looking up yet to see who the person who's come in actually is — she's just responding to the sound of someone having walked in. It's only after she finishes the sentence she's writing that she looks up and registers his identity. "Hi, Zhirayr," comes with a smile. Yeah, he looks pretty annoyed, but Inri's nice to everyone, and they usually get along. She has no inkling he might be angry at her.

Slightly more than kind of; Inri's eyes narrow a little bit and there's a hint of a frown on her normally cheerful visage. "You already had it, at this point," she deadpans — though even her deadpan, in this instance, manages to sound friendly and approachable. "Need something?" Besides the ink he probably has on his hand, since that pen was leaking?

"Ninety pounds," Zhirayr growls. Through his teeth. Not actually caring if the ink on his hand smears all over the rest of that page. "Please. By all means. Tell me, weyrwoman, why you thought ignoring ninety pounds of a requisition was a good idea?"

"Um." That was a few weeks ago, because the kitchen orders are normally done so far in advance that nothing runs out — which means that Inri has completely forgotten about the hundred pounds of salt incident. "I don't know, because I don't recall what you're talking about and need a little more in terms of context. Ninety pounds of what."

"Salt," Zhirayr hissed at her. "You — you, personally! — canceled ninety percent of the salt order for the kitchens! Why!"

Oh. Right. The salt. Inri continues to look confused for a second and then once it dawns, starts to explain. She does actually have something of a decent reason; one, that she doesn't really understand buying in bulk, and two, the few people from the kitchen staff she talked to didn't either. Because apparently Zhirayr's the one with the bulk buying tendencies, not the people who actually put out the requisitions. "I thought it was an error, and I spoke to a few people who worked in the kitchens, and they were all pretty sure it was meant to be a ten. That sounded more reasonable to me?" She's trying not to appear intimidated or nervous. He's only a few turns older than her and she still outranks him. The collected calmness is mostly manufactured.

Zhirayr is trying, very very hard, to remain sort-of calm, himself. Because if he doesn't, he's going to keep yelling, and then he's probably going to start throwing things, and that's just … not good, all around. There's some inarticulate gesticulating going on, too, while he works on coming up with words that aren't shouts and curses. "We order salt once a month," he manages. "And we order it one time, for all purposes. For baking, and stewing, and preserving meat. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snacking. In the depths of winter, we still only order salt once a month, even when we're using it to keep the paths from icing up! And we order it mid-cycle, because it takes about two weeks for it to show up, and another week to run out of the last bits of the last order — which means that we've only just started on the shipment that you ordered, and we're already out of salt!" Okay, so he failed at not shouting anymore. He tried, though!

Inri and her chair have both retreated away from Zhirayr at this point. Because now he is scary. She's ducking her head and cringing and actually looks a bit frightened, so maybe at this point he'll calm down and feel a little disturbed and/or guilty for yelling up the chain of command, considering he's normally always been so traditional (at least for a Weyr). Inri certainly looks guilty! "I'm," she breathes, sounding shaky, "very sorry." She doesn't actually blame him for yelling. It's just scary. And it's the first real serious mistake she's made as a weyrwoman — it took nine turns, but it's a serious mistake. "It seemed like too much, is all," gets squeaked out. "Which is why I asked multiple people. I'll have more salt expedited in immediately." It takes her a moment to realize she doesn't need to add 'sir' to that sentence.

This is probably about the point where Zhirayr stops looming over her desk, finally, and straightens up, pacing back and forth in the area in front of it. It's also possible some of that ink ends up in his hair, not that anybody's going to be able to notice. "Next time it seems like too much," he answers, in that sort of icy-calm voice that is, if anything, scarier than the yelling — in part because it's coming after the yelling — "try asking the people who actually wrote it in the first place, instead of whichever people are closest to you and paying attention when you ask, hmm? Because it's going to be a flat-out miracle if you actually succeed in getting any salt at all expedited in!"

No one would be able to tell if ink ended up anywhere on him. Normally Inri would tease about that, too. Right now it looks like Inri's trying desperately not to cry, because that's accurate. "I didn't — it seemed logical to ask the kitchen staff, you and Lycander were both busy." She made a mistake. She apologized. Her hands are shaking a little. "Besides saying I'm very sorry and that I'll fix it, I don't know what else to say."

Deep breaths. Lots and lots of deep breaths, and maybe Zhirayr's going to succeed at calming down… eventually. (And then probably feel bad for making Inri cry.) "You could offer to make the apologetic announcement to the entire weyr, explaining why there's going to be an unanticipated shortfall for an unknown duration this month," he pointed out dryly. "You could also go to the salt mines, in order to see why we try to order at least three weeks in advance of when we'll need any of the salt from the order. And you can try to learn from this for the next time someone's requisition seems strange — you want to ask them about it, whether or not they're busy!"

"Announcements to the entire weyr usually cause more dramatics and catastrophe than just letting something go quietly — we try to avoid those unless it's something that needs to be explained," the last time Inri had to address the entire Weyr, it was at Nyalle's side for the explanation of what happened with Jajen and Iaverulth. Before that it might've been Dtirae's departure. "But I will of course apologize to the kitchen staff, take responsibility, and go directly to the source for the salt. With my absurdly gigantic dragon, who can carry a lot of salt." And possibly with a couple of Haast's dragons, likely browns, set for the salt-carrying.

Zhirayr runs a hand over his face (fortunately, the one that doesn't have ink on it), and sighs, and slumps into one of Inri's guest chairs. Finally. (No more looming at all, yay?!) "You might actually try Ista Hold, too — some of the smaller holds harvest salt from the ocean. It's not really in sufficient quantity for the level we use, most of the time, and it tends to have something more in the way of other flavors — but in an emergency like this, it might make the difference." Olive branch? (Olives are salty, at least, right?)

The lack of looming has Inri finally sitting up straight, and trying to smile weakly. She pours some of the tea into a mug and sips, first, radiating calm about herself. (And Kouzevelth, who thankfully remained relatively relaxed the entire time and didn't upset anyone.) "I wouldn't want to intrude on the rights of Ista's Weyrleaders to their own export," or maybe she doesn't want to deal with the diplomatic hassle, "but I'm sure I could buy some at market price." Tithe price: a lot better.

This, of course, would be the point where Zhirayr is raising a jaundiced eyebrow at her. "Ista Weyr doesn't have a monopoly on the salt harvested by minor cotholds," he points out. "Obviously you'd be buying it, and not stealing it, or they would get involved — but don't you dare offer market price. Ask for the weyr price. It's usually better, and they make up for it the times they try to gouge you."

"I assume that's still higher than the price one would give their Weyr, so I reluctantly agree to try to do that," Inri says calmly. Because now she is calm. She's very good at calming down fast, and also: tea. "But I am not causing any diplomatic disasters by purchasing a decent quality of salt." Which of course she wouldn't, but now that she has screwed anything at all up, she's naturally somewhat nervous.

Zhirayr shrugs. "When they gouge you, obviously. The rest of the time? It's whatever price they happen to feel is fair for you to pay. So that's what you pay, and hopefully Ista Weyr doesn't even notice, or thinks we're buying artisan salt for some reason. And at least we don't have another festival to host this month," he grumbles-and-sighs. "Where do you think all the last of our salt backlog went?"

"I'll get it sorted." That was at least a trustworthy definitive statement. When Inri said that she always did. "And I hope you'll forgive me." And the kitchen staff will forgive her, even though many of them aided and abetted her, albeit unintentionally, in the drastic error.

Another deep breath, and Zhirayr answers: "I'll… try. Sooner or later, I'm sure I also actually will. I appreciate that you're going to get this sorted, but until you have — well, honestly probably I'll still be fuming every time I see you, so I'm going to do my best to avoid that." Her. Whichever.

"I'll get on it now," Inri says, actually shuffling through the papers and starting to file things to put away so she can actually start speaking to people about repairing the Salt Incident as promptly as possible. "And maybe you won't hate me forever." That comes with an actual crooked little smile again, more Inri standard, less meek and terrified.

Zhirayr smiles back, a little, also kind of crooked, and suggests: "You might want to keep in mind, also, the amount of salt the bars go through in a week, from margaritas alone." Which is sort of like saying that she needs to come up with a new drink for him as part of her forgiveness package.

She probably would anyway, but Inri's so bad with vague hints that she may never realize he hinted. Which won't stop her from doing it anyway. "I think the Gemstone had a separate supply line from the Weyr," she recalls, or at least tries to, "but I'll take note. As well as asking if we can borrow any of theirs," is a little more sheepish.

And with a tiny little laugh, Zhirayr shakes his head, gets up from his seat, and heads toward the door. "I think they've been ordering with the rest of us — but in this particular case, I'd be happy to be wrong," he admits. "Good luck with that. Sorry," a little, "about yelling at you." And he eels out the door before she can get a word in edgewise.

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