Tunnel Snakes and Renegades

Ista Weyr - Living Caverns

Large enough to house the entirity of the weyr's population at one time, the cavern set aside to house the very heart of the weyr's life is a grandoise, somewhat circular affair, filled with rows of long tables. Bustling and busy, it is a rare moment indeed when there is not someone at work or leisure in here; the long trestle table by the kitchens is perpetually filled with plates and trays of food, a pot of something always bubbling upon the mahogany hearth, ready to fill the belly of any hungry resident or rider. Although a high table is set aside for seating respected dignitaries on formal occasions, most of the tables here are not designated to any particular group— rather, all levels of Ista's population eat together, intermingled across the broad cavern.
Great tapestries have been flung down the walls, orange and black borders remarking upon Ista's heritage, the age-faded hangings depicting scenes of importance to the Weyr— the erruption of the volcano; the first clutch; the view from the star stones, over forest, dark beach, and glistening waves of blue. Propellor-like fans have been affixed to the ceiling in more modern times, cooling the cavern on the hottest of days. Passageways lead up the stairs to the kitchens, down a second flight of stairs to the lower caverns, and out into the expanse of the broad weyr bowl.

Chaton snags a glass of wine, and carries it along. Chaton drinking wine without a social reason? Dang, must be good. He spies what he wants, a Harpers knot, and walks over. "Xh… whatever your name is. Are you busy?"

Xhaine raises an eyebrow at Chaton, then looks around the room for a few seconds before looking back at the man. "Well, I'm not anymore." he drawls. "What can I help you with?"

Shorynia enters from the storage cavern, hair in disarray, crumpled paperwork in one hand and a box opening knife in the other. Not speaking a word she stalks over to an empty table and slams her burden down on it before retrieving a glass of wine and downing it in one giant gulp.

Chaton grins. "Sorry to bother you… what is your name again? It escapes me. Anyway, two things, one drastically more important than the other. First, less important thing, I need a Harper by the name of…" he peers at the paper, "Izarra? Anyway, her. Second thing, far more important, is the Craftmaster still around?"

"Xhaine. And Izarra? No idea, sorry. As for Master Moyrel, I think she went back to the Harper Hall. Anything I can do for you myself?" he pauses and eyes the wineglass. "Need a drinking buddy?" smiiiirk.

Shorynia grabs a second glass of wine and downs it as well in one clean quick gulp before taking the third back to the table she had put the paperwork on and smoothing it out, trying to make it useable again even as she began to partake of the third glass of wine.

Chaton shrugs. "Sure, in a second. I have a new recruit for you. Well, for Harper Hall…" he nods. "But yeah. she's an apprentiance at Harper Hall, so… just find a way to get her up here, would you?"

"Ah, sure, sure. What does she look like? Izarra, you said? Ok." Xhaine leans back against the table with nonchalance. "Is she cute?" as if that matters any! At around this point Xhaine notices Shorynia taking wine shots, and raises his eyebrows at her. "That's not the way you're supposed to treat wine unless it's bad wine!" he chides her. "If you want to get drunk fast, try something else that's not wine."

Chaton shrugs. "I dunno, never met her." he sits back, and looks. "Shory! What are you doing?" he asks, looking worried. "You okay?"

Shorynia takes another draught, smoothing out some more paperwork, "Mfine"

"Well I guess I'll just have to introduce myself to every girl I see in the hopes it's her then." Xhaine remarks cheerfully to Chaton. "It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!" Shorynia is eyed some more, but since she's not being very talkative, the harper shrugs and doesn't say anything else to her.

Chaton blinks. "Um…. are you sure… sure you're alright?" he does look worried. He nods distractedly at Xhaine. "Right, hard work…"

Shorynia nods, finally having smoothed the papers enough to start marking things on them, "'Snothin'…. just found a tunnel snake den in the caverns… and a box of food that looks like it finished decomposing before I was born…" Another drink, she is calming though.

"Ew." Xhaine wrinkles his nose as emphasis for his highly eloquent response to that, and he shakes his head. "Firelizards take care of tunnelsnakes easily. Got any?"

Chaton blinks. "And this explains why you're drinking heavily and carrying around papers… why?"

Shorynia nods, making a few more marks on the papers, "All three of 'em are currently curled up bloated beyond belief. Even Queen's not here…" She eyes Chaton for a moment, "You ever open a box labelled 'graphite sticks' and have three tunnel snakes lunge at your head? That would be why."

"Hmm… can't say that I have, although I have run into them before. My firelizards know what they're doing, because I trained them properly." well, except for the green Xhaine just got, she's still just a baby.

Chaton ahs. He offers his untouched wine. "Would… you like this?" he shivers. "Hate snakes." he shivers, and turns to Xhaine. "One mark for you if you get her back here before tomorrow."

Shorynia shakes her head slowly, sipping her wine this time "I'll be fine. I think."

"All right then." Xhaine grins at Chaton and offers him his hand. "You've got yourself a deal." and on the plus side, Xhaine gets to interview all the women he hasn't met previously!

Chaton places a half-mark into his hand. "You get the other half when you come back with the girl." he nods. He turns to Shorynia, Xhaine forgotten. "You okay beautiful? Need any help with that paperwork?"

Shorynia shakes her head, "I'll be fine, handsome. Just… just sit with me for a minute?"

Chaton nods and sits beside her and puts his hand in hers. "Sure. It's okay." he puts his arm around her and holds her hand./

Xhaine tucks the mark away, then stands off and strolls off out of the caverns. Time for some women-hunting! His favorite sport.

Chaton gives Shory a tight hug. "You sure you dont need me to get you anything?"

Shorynia finishes writing, 'completely defunct' on the form in front of her, then glances up, "Cookies?"

Chaton watches her write, then nods. "Of course!" he grabs an entire plate of cookies and carts them back. "You worry me, you know that? Why didn't you have someone go through that old stuff?"

Shorynia chuckles, nomming a cookie quickly, "I had other people with me… but I don't trust them with the final paperwork."

Chaton sighs. "They could have at least opened the box for you instead of you doing it." he says, taking a cooking and eating it daintily.

Shorynia glares at him, "I'm not fragile, love. It just caught me off guard is all." She finishes off that glass of wine adn doesn't start in on another one, "See, look. No more alcohol. Promise."

Chaton chuckles. "I dunno. It'd be my luck that a giant tunnelsnake comes and eats you whole." he chuckles and gives her a look-over. "Say, if we get you drunk…" he winks at her, and laughs. "Kidding love, kidding."

Shorynia giggles and blushes, "Couldn't happen. You'd show up and miraculously protect me. And no, not here anyway." She reaches over and ruffles his hair.

Chaton laughs and hugs her. "Well, you know, those tunnel snakes don't stand a chance against me." he flexes, and snorts. "But yes, I would show up and protect you."

Shorynia hugs him back, laughing as well, "You give that blue of yours a few months and you'll be able to send him to protect me, too."

Chaton hmms. "Well, if that's the case, I think we'll both have you well covered, isn't that right Mer?" Mercury cheeps proudly and zooooms around her head a few times. Just to make a point.

Shorynia giggles, ducking the exuberant blue, "Settle down you great blue ninny."

Chaton laughs as Mercury alights on his shoulder and preens himself. "Ah, fun isn't he?"

Chaton is seated with a Shorynia, a glass of untouched wine in front of him, and an empty one in front of her. "So, have they talked to the boy yet?" he asks her.

Shorynia is leaned over some very crumpled inventory paperwork… and looks light she might be a few sheets to the wind, "I don't know… I've been in the caverns all day."

Ysa comes a-wandering down from the bowl this time around instead of the usual way from the caverns. She's got her flying leathers on, making her way towards the warm food table. Those in the caverns are set aside in her mind for now as she piles on a plate, grabs herself a glass of wine as well, and finally turns towards the tables. As she's walking she gives Shorynia a shocked look, staring at her and the papers. "Shells, gal, are ya being overworked?" She really shouldn't be so surprised.

Chaton chuckles. "We all are, in the wake of the returning refugees. I have a tonne of paperwork to be completed, patient files and such."

Kadan comes in looking neat and clean though hair is winndblown. "So how did the Auction go?" he asks.

Shorynia chuckles, shaking her head, "The auction didn't go… some renegades showed up. Ruined the whole thing. We caught the boy, but he's only 12 or 13… Put him in the cells, couldn't think of what else to do with the lad." She sighs, "I'm fine, Ysa… just had a close, personal run-in with some tunnel snakes, shook me pretty good."

Ysa gives all those papers a long wary look, shaking her head as she looks back up to the couple. "It was suppose to help /reduce/ all this. I was out settling some issues with those sharding Holders ever since Veski showed up to our auction." She sits down in a seat at the table and scrubs her face after putting down her meal. "He is just a kid. Might as well stick him in one of those rooms we finally vacated. Guard that…" But she's not entirely convinced as she takes a long drink from her wine.

Chaton looks at Ysa. "I request in my duties as Journeyman Mindhealer to speak to the boy."

Kadan looks shocked…and angry. "Renegades… /Veski/…here?" he almost growls, nostrils flaring and eyes narrowing. Even a hand curls into a tight fist. He grits his teeth. And he's breathing harder.

Shorynia nods, "The paperwork looks worse than it is. I kind of… crunched it in terror." She smiles at Kadan, "Yes, Veski was here we caught what I can only assume is his son.. Valkin I think." She nods to Ysa, "I'd be grateful for that. Poor kid's been out there all night."

Ysa raises a brow at Chaton carefully. "It'd probably be very useful but… may I make a suggestion you try to do so to get information out of him? If we get to know where that Veski's base is… Though 'm likely to get to him first." Her frown thickens even after she takes another sip of wine, but there's a glint to her eyes. Something fierce. "To think they might be here on Ista." Her eyes focus on Kadan, looking sympathetic as she bobs her head slowly. "We should have expected something nasty, shouldn't we? Complete sharding surprise of course." To Shorynia she nods quickly. "I'll talk to those guards. They're a bit dense down there."

Chaton looks insulted. "My dear weyrwoman, do you doubt my competance so much as to suggest I wouldn't both do my duty as a Healer and try my best to mend him from any damage that's been done to his mind from abuse and the lifestyle he's been most likely forced to lead, but that I would do so at the expense of the larger population of the Weyr? I may not be an Istan, and I may not hold any affiliation above that of my Hall, but I'm not an idoit."

Chaton adds, "I'll get what information I can, and I won't have to break him in half like some idoitic guard to do it, either."

Kadan says "Poor kid…poor…kid. He's be fatherless if I'd known who was here. Just like I almost was. And without a brother, too, if that Veski," and he says that name with particular hatred, "had come within my reach!"

Ysa smiles sincerely to Chaton. "Faranth, no, Mindhealer. I'd never doubt your competance. I understand where your duties lie, and I'm not going to stop you from doing that. Growing up with the renegades? Shells… Hopefully the guards haven't done anything to him." There's a glare sent out towards the bowl, and then she catches Kadan's words and winces, focusing on her food for a moment. "I definitely would have turned a blind eye to that. Wouldn't see any reason to keep a man like Veski 'round." She stuffs a mouthful of vegetables and glances between those around her.

Chaton looks at Ysa. "I do. Think of all of the criminalistic research we could do on him… the mind of a criminal has to be an exciting thing to explore." he gives Ysa a look. "If the guards have so much as given that boy a sideways look, I'll have them. Children who grow up under those circumstances need care, not torture."

Shorynia finally looks up from her paperwork which she'd been working very hard for the last few exchanges to nudge Chaton gently, "He's a boy, not a test subject. Observe him, sure. Or talk to him, but don't push him too hard."

Ysa frowns at Chaton. "On Veski? Well, it'd suit him. Research. He'd have been staked out in Thread centuries ago, but we really don't have that barbaric system anymore." Does she sound disappointed? "If he's captured alive, I'll leave him to all of ya," she says with a wave of her fork at those seated around her before returning to her meal.

Kadan looks around at everyone. "You…you don't know what happened up at Fort Weyr a Turn ago, do you."

Chaton stands up. "I've got to get some work done before bed. Shory, when you get done, I'll be waiting for you." he bows to everyone present, and excuses himself.

"I've… heard a little bit about it from some Fort riders, and bits from Weyrwoman Kessa," Ysa admits to Kadan, looking sympathetic for a moment. But her eyes turn towards the bowl and she quickly downs the rest of her wine, leaving behind nearly her entire plate untouched. "I've got to run to settle something," she says, closer to a growl, and hastily gets up to leave, giving those around her a bob of her head.

Shorynia smiles and waves to Chaton, "I'll be down in a little bit." She makes a few more notes, "What happened at Fort?"

Kadan says "Yes. My father was her weyrmate. It was their child that Veski threatened to murder. The renegades fond a way in through some tunnels that had been rediscovered. They got in that way. Veski attacked Kessa and raped her…stabbed her. Then…things were never the same. My father flew his own sweeps between the Weyr and Harper Hall, trying to protect me as well…"

Kadan takes a deep breath and continues. "One night he saw a wagon overturned. Renegades had attacked a wagoner family. They killed the mother, killed the daughter though my father single handedly tried to rescue her. He went up against them by himself. They were in a ravine, their wagon overturned , their beasts killed. I can only get informationon this by talking to those who came from Fort after my father…" He swallows, "after my father took a crossbow bolt to the foot and had killed several of the renegades himself. But…he was stabbed in the back. He was hit on the head. His brother K'urk and half sister Laria were able to find him after he half dragged himself back to where his frantic dragon was trying to uproot trees to get to him. My father nearly died. He had to have a kidney removed after he was stabbed in the back. He's missing nearly three Sevendays of his memory and there are other events he can't remember. He and Kessa…never got back together. He's alone now. He…he…" He drops himself into the nearest chair and drops his head into his hands.

Shorynia covers her mouth, shocked for a moment, "I… I never heard… I…" She abandons her paperwork, moving around the table to sit next to the harper, extending her arms to hug him if he'll let her, "I'm so sorry, Kadan." The harper had given her similar support when she had first arrived and there was no way she'd let him descend into depression himself.

Kadan doesn't cry but his body still trembles. "My father is a good man," he says, his voice rough with his anger. "He is a good fighter, well trained. But he would give his life…..They said the girl was raped, and my father tried to save her because he wasn't there to save the one woman who he loved…Oh, how he loved her! He loved Kessa….. And he was out on his sweeps, leading his Wing at Eastern, doing his duty. And for that…he is maimed, his brain marred, his heart broken….He doesn't even get to see his little son! Hasn't seen him in over a Turn….."

Shorynia can't really think of anything to say, so she just holds the man, letting him get these things she does understand off his chest.

Kadan says softly, "It isn't fair….it isn't fair. It's like mu father is the living dead. I fear…I fear that he will take an overdose of fellis some night. Or that he will have his dragon take him between…or that it will happen while he is Betweening somewhere and suddenly his brain will take him and his dragon…Faranth knows where."

Shorynia holds the man tight, "You're right, it's not fair. Does he… does he have anyone to look out for him where he is? He could come here and talk to Chaton…" She's out of ideas, but she's trying to help.

Kadan sits up straigter. He shakes his head. My grandfather was over there with him for a cople of months after the fight…which my father doesn't even remember. He tries to go over to be with him as much as he can but he is the WeyrHealer for Western Weyr so he is busy there."

Shorynia doesn't remove her arm unless he makes her, but she does nod, "T'burk, right? I'm sure he does his best. I wish I could have met your father in his prime, he sounds like a good man."

Kadan nods. Then he puts his arms around Shorynia. "He is a very good father, my father is."

Shorynia nods, squeezing him a little tighter for a moment, "It's horrible that he can't see his own child… I still feel empty without my father around."

Kadan says softly, "Me, too. It is hard to be alone when you need to be with someone."

Shorynia moves her other arm to give him a full hug, "You don't have to be alone, you know."

Kadan says "No, I know. I got my whole family. I got friends. So does my father."

Shorynia nods, "Doesn't make it easy when you can't be with someone specific you want to be, though."

Kadan says "I don't know that he will ever find anyone again. Who will take him? Who will want him?"

Shorynia sighs softly, "I… I can't know that… I wish I did, but I don't. I hope he does, though. No one should have to be alone."

Kadan pulls back. "Thank you, Shorynia. I'm glad that…I'm glad that you and Chaton are happy together."

Shorynia smiles, "Thanks… if… if you ever need someone you know where I live."

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