Following on from An Attack of Tunnelsnakes.

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.

Autumn has brought with it a few clear days and cooler evenings, though this one is still fairly drizzly, the bowl dotted with shallow puddles and slick mud spots. The hearths are lit, sending flickering light across the living caverns and the dwindling crowd which seems to be lingering still.. the dreary weather outside likely having something to do with that. Huddled close by one of the fires is a group of old aunties. They're chatting away in low voices, with the occasional cackle as one or another reveals a juicy bit of this sevenday's news. Or as much news as it can be, considering all the various rumors flying around. Though the talk quiets as one pale figure moves down from the wing lounges, hair unbound and left to fall upon slim shoulders, that dyed lock unbraided today. It brushes the side of hsi face as he nods greetings to those few who offer them on his way to the food tables. There's a bit of pointing and mutterings going on by the old aunties, though B'ky seems oblivious. Indeed, the wingleader is looking, not only tired, but vaguely distracted, gaze barely registering the mug of klah he picks up. He's no longer in crimson and indigo.. no, he's wearing a pale grey tunic and pants, with matching boots, and his left arm is bound in a sling, while his right hand is bandaged. It's probably a miracle the man isn't limping around with the sevenday he's had.

K'shan is making an attempt to ignore the world. At the moment, instead of making any attempt to look dignified, the greenrider has put his head down on the table he sits at, head burrowed into his arms. Maybe he's taking a nap or something. No, there's food nearby on a plate. One that he occasionally reaches for, and plucks something off of it to nibble on.

Marika enters from the lower caverns, muttering to herself. She looks rather weary, but she plods over to get herself some klah, and then moves over to plop herself down in a seat at a table by the hearth, with a relieved sigh. The tittering of the aunties is steadfastly ignored by the guard, as she focuses only on her klah for the moment, and resting her weary feet.

The tired look on Pralius' face is unrelated to the flourishing rumors of tunnelsnakes and vicious attack shelves. Instead, the very young child in his arms, seemingly finally having fallen asleep is the cause. He doesn't really notice at first where he settles into a chair with a tired sigh, then he finds himself glancing up at B'ky, "Oh.. sorry Wingleader…" He frowns slightly, "I hope I'm not interrupting…" He glances at the aunties, then back at B'ky, "I trust you're as well as you can be, all things considered?"

B'ky isn't so out of it as to miss Marika's entrance, raising his own klah mug somewhat and inclining his head to her, offering a vague smile and a, "Hello," in greeting. He regards the guardswoman a long moment before asking, "Ah.. long day?" He can probably guess, and his tone isn't without sympathy. However, Pralius' arrival and apology has the wingleader blinking, nodding another, "Hello," and tilting his head slightly at the child, "Hm, yours?" He sets his mud down on the tabletop, "It's alright. I'm well enough, I suppose. All things considered, I'm certainly grateful to the healers," there's a bit of a half-sheepish look down at his injured hand and bound arm, "Certainly moreso lately." He pauses, though, the sight of K'shan over there, bringing a look of mild concern. The sudden frow surely can't have anything to do with the fact that the greenie has his head down and is looking.. well. Pressing lips together, B'ky moves over to the greenrider, gently reaching for the younger man's shoulder, hand aiming to brush into the other's hair slightly. "…K'shan?" his voice is uncertain, soft.

K'shan tenses almost immediately, both at the touch and the sound of his name. Or the sound of B'ky's voice, anyway. "Don't. Don't you dare right now." It's hissed, and K'shan doesn't even bother looking up at the moment, remaining with his head least for the time being. The greenrider doesn't seem very interested in conversation at the moment. Not at all.

Marika blinks a little, and tilts her head in the general direction of that greeting. Oh, it's a B'ky. "Sir! Are you alright, sir?" she asks, eye tiredly travelling to the man's bandaged hand. "…long day, yes, sir. One of the longest." she says, slumping a little in the chair. She does give the wingleader a relieved look though, when he mentions healers. K'shan gets a frown, the guard looking a little confused. "…just a tunnelsnake…" she says, more to herself than anyone, really.

Pralius nods, wearing that smile that seems eternally preserved for fatherhood, "Yes, Wyn's and mine. Darius." He nods again, seeming about to say more when B'ky stands to approach K'shan. Perhaps recognizing something, perhaps just not wanting to interrupt, he turns to Marika, "Hello. Are you the guard getting so much attention? I'm Pralius. I'd offer my hand, but, well…" He motions with his head towards the sleeping baby.

B'ky flinches, and quickly withdraws his hand, murmuring a soft, "I'm sorry," to K'shan. The frown is faint, but there, as he moves to take a seat beside the younger man, though he doesn't take his gaze from the greenie for a long moment. "Will you be alright?" the words are quiet, and perhaps that's not quite what he wants to ask, given the hesitancy in his voice, but he does turn to the rest of the table, reclaiming his mug in the process. "It wasn't anything serious," he nods to Marika, though the thin smile he offers her quite obviously doesn't rech his eyes. "Hopefully.. it's at least over now?" he murmurs, regarding the long day, "Ah, I spoke with one of the headwoman's assistants.. someone should be down to the cavern tomorrow to search for it." Pralius receives a quiet, "Congratulations," B'ky nodding slightly as Darius, and then pausing, with lifted brows, "Attention?" His gaze flickers between Pral and Marika. Apparently, he's missed the latest rumors flying around Fort. And that's probably not the /only/ thing he's missed, considering he's still seated next to Kash.

K'shan slowly straightens himself out, glaring at B'ky a little bit. And if one of those distinctly purple boots he's wearing reaches out to give the bluerider a bit of a kick under the table..well. He cannot be blamed! ..Well he can. At least he doesn't do it very hard, or anything. "I will be /fine/. Eventually." At some point, anyway. Though the greenrider looks like he'd be quite happy flinging things across the room. He pulls his plate a bit closer, still nibbling at a few things on it. The mention of attention has him sending that withering look over to Marika and Pralius though, before he again draws his gaze to B'ky. "People talk about things. About people. Haven't we been over /that/?"

Marika is certainly young, and female, and decked out in full guard uniform, all traits that would hint at her being that young guard girl being gossiped about. "…attention? Uh, I… what sort of attention?" the teen asks, frowning slightly. Judging by her being both in uniform and exhausted, odds are she's just gotten off shift. She probably hasn't had time to hear the rumours yet. She nods slowly at B'ky. "Mmhmm, yes sir, the day's over. But there'll be another one tomorrow." And apparently she's now famous, or at least infamous. "/People/ need to find something better to do with their time." she decides after K'shan's comment, still unaware of the rumour itself, or if it even applies to her.

Pralius continues that smile, "Thank you, sir." He glances back at Marika, "Just seems you've been making the gossip pool, mostly about your spending time with our good Wingleader." One corner of his mouth quirks in something of a smirk, "It's hard not to hear the rumors in the infirmary. I don't give them much credence, though." He glances over his shoulder at K'shan, then back to Marika, "What has him more sour than usual?"

B'ky shrinks back from that greenie glare, any trace of a smile vanishing in an instant. He starts somewhat, pulling his foot back with a bit of a wince, and a definite frown for K'shan. He's totally blaming. Blaame. A mouth opens, then closes, then opens again as the bluerider asks a quite soft, "..Eventually? K'shan.. that's wrong?" No, the /really/ doesn't know. Though he'll make the obvious (to him) guess, "What I said before.. I was…tired." There might be more, but his gaze flicks back to the others. That last part has him hiding behind his klah mug, lips pulled into a slight pout. "I'm /aware/," his voice is flat, agreeing with Marika, "They certainly do." He does offer the guardswoman a sympathetic glance, and then just.. stares a bit at Pralius. "Spending time.. what?" he straightens a little, brows drawing together, the wingleader giving the closest group of old aunties something of a look. Though pale eyes narrow back on Pral a moment later. Sour? Kash is going to get another concerned frown, though B'ky isn't answering /that/ one.

K'shan sighs a bit, looking tired, but drops his head into one hand. Fingers just rub at the bridge of his nose for a few moments though. "You're so thick sometimes…" The bluerider gets eyed again though, before the greenrider simply rolls his eyes. "/Nawyth/ is what's wrong, B'ky. Though you certainly aren't helping the matter at all." After all, B'ky is mean and says insensitive things to poor, proddy riders! It's a crime, really. There's a small sniff then, before he stretches his legs out a little under the table. Thankfully, not /kicking/ this time.

Marika seems to find something Pralius said to be most shocking, as she /stares/ at the healer. "…spending time with our good Wingleader… in what way?" she asks, tone a little frosty at the end there. "You really shouldn't believe everything you hear." Because the phrasing makes it sound like something entirely different. She gives Pralius an odd look though. "How should I know?" she says, with a shrug, and a sidelong glance at K'shan. "None of my business, anyway." she says, shrugging the question off, though she does frown slightly when Nawyth gets the blame. There's a helpless shrug when B'ky notes he's aware there'll be nother day tomorrow. "…I mean, tomorrow is going to be another /long/ day. Especially with… /rumours/." And she's expecting the worst, on that front. "Shards, what's Hemi going to think?" she mutters, looking for a moment like she wants to run, but after a moments thought sitting takes precedence.

Pralius emits a soft 'oh' when Nawyth is mentioned, "I'm sorry… I didn't… I've been imprudent lately, it seems." He blinks twice as he turns back to Marika, not understanding at first, then, "Oh, no. nonono, just being seen in his company is enough to start rumors. Mostly about if you're getting him into trouble." One brow raises, "For some reason our," he coughs, "older population believe people incapable of getting themselves into their own trouble."

B'ky blinks at K'shan, looking as if he might protest that, and then just silences. The greenie gets something of a longer look, then. B'ky's eyes are even a little distant, before widening just slightly, "..Oh." /Right/. And suddenly, Marika isn't the only one who appears to be considering fleeing. Still, B'ky doesn't get up to leave. "I.. /am/ sorry, for.. earlier," he repeats the apology quietly, though whether he means in the lounge, or the tunnelsnake incident, or both.. well, at least he does look very sorry now. His gaze falls to the klah mug in his hand, though the discussion of the rumor of him spending time with Marika earns a soft snort, "I imagine.. I could spend an afternoon speaking with the /weyrleader/, and there'd be gossip about it." There might even be slight exasperation in his tone, a mild grimace for the long day wih rumors, "I imagine so." He just sighs, sipping his klah, and giving another soft snort for Pralius' mention of the older population.

K'shan eyes B'ky momentarily, but shrugs. "I believe that you are. It doesn't change the fact that it's truth." And he doesn't like it? Most likely. At least by the way he glares..he certainly doesn't like it at all. At least he does look like he's calming down a bit, thankfully, and with the food on his plate having dwindled, he pushes it away from himself.

Getting B'ky into trouble? The young guard grimaces, looking to the wingleader's sling, and then bandaged hand, and then finally lowering her gaze to take in the table. Such an interesting table, yes. Absolutely fascinating. "I see." Marika murmurs, though her tone is much less frosty now, almost relieved. "…still ought to talk to Hemi before tomorrow…" she mutters, sounding very much like she's dreading that conversation. "What /else/ have they been saying?" she asks, then, finally glancing up at Pralius.

Pralius chuckles, "What are they ever /not/ saying? Some are pondering if you'll be the one to bring his attentions back to the finer sex, or something along those lines…" He frowns, it sounds weird to him, "Some are still convinced Milana and Daniela aren't Milo's despite teh fact that Ely hasn't been with anyone else outside of flights…" he wiggles his lips back and forth, thinking still, "R'oc is crazy, that's a common one… or that he secretly found a way to force Kessa's Choth to choose his Nasheth… nothing really worth listening to."

"Truth?" B'ky sneaks a glance at K'shan, momentarily confused, "Which part?" Thin eyebrows draw together again, though one of these days he's likely to find himself with permanent worry lines on his brow. "I don't suppose there's anything I can do.." he murmurs, and like Marika, he's suddenly finding the table quite fascinating. With that greenie glare, whether there's calming or no, can he really be blamed for wanting to avoid that look? Marika's mention of Hemi has the wingleader suppressing a grimace of his own. Yay rumors. Pralius' list of current gossip is mostly ignored, or he's looking as if he's trying to ignore it, though that first one there… "I-" B'ky just chokes. The man looks as if he doesn't know whether to offer Marika sympathy or to laugh, really.

K'shan lifts a brow at B'ky, but doesn't answer. He just huffs and gets up, taking the empty glass that he has with him. He does glance over at Pralius and Marika though, eyes rolling. "People will say anything to try and explain pure dumb luck." Drink..drink.. Thankfully at least, he's sticking to water.

Marika stares at the first item of gossip, she just /stares/, and then makes a weird spluttery sort of noise that might just be suppressed laughter. Finally, she shakes her head, waving a dismissive hand at all that other gossip, "No, what else are they saying about me? If I'm going to have to defend myself against gossip, I'd like the full story." But, Pralius leaves before Marika can get her answer, and the guard throws her hands up in frustration. "Fine. Fine. I… I should go find Hemi. Before he starts to hear… /things/." Especially that first one. "I, ah… later, sirs." is offered to B'ky and K'shan, before the guard heads off in search of this Hemi fellow.

And B'ky is left sitting all by his /lonesome/. As K'shan gets up with the empty glass, B'ky watches him go, frowning faintly still. And Pralius and Marika are then gone as well, though the latter receives a slight nod and a quiet, "Take care," in farewell. B'ky drops his gaze to his klah mug, wrapping the bandaged hand around it, and attempting to ignore the chattering aunties by the hearth and the dwindling evening crowd. Indeed, he's looking rather unhappy all around, shoulders slowly sinking, though the proddy greenie is perhaps glanced at briefly. But if B'ky has something to say to him.. it's kept to himself for the moment.