F’mil loved books. He hated, however, when he was out of books. He made it a point to keep the period of booklessness down to a minimum.
So today he was returning the books he had finished with and was getting new ones. Delgeth was sleeping. He got some of his best sleep in the middle of the day. Hard to say how long he would stay resting though. So instead of his dragon, with was Aweirgan that accompanied him. The blue and red firelizard kept a calm aura around himself as he followed the rider to the records room. F’mil had so very rarely seen Aweirgan anything but calm. He knew though, that the miniature King held true to both colors his hide sported. So he knew that he couldn’t ask for a fiercer friend if he needed one.
Today was calm though, nothing to worry about.
When he entered though, he saw a flurry of scribe activity, and things looked… chaotic. He tilted his head forward, leaning in the doorway and saw what had caused the trouble. A bookcase had fallen over. This was terrible! Without another thought he dropped his books on a nearby table and went to help the scribes putting things right, starting with the bookshelf.
Aweirgan glided to the top of a shelf, out of the way. He could watch F’mil from here. He would probably be here all day, it looked like this was a big clean up job.
Emmeline had been working on a paper in the dusty old library. Work to be done, but Faranth forbid a weyrling take one of these stuffy old books out of this stuffy old room. Nevermind she was a Fairgold. So it had only made her day more enjoyable when a crashing bookshelf sent yet more dust into the air. Poor form. It wouldn't do to trouble these books. They were enough of a hassle for weyrling work.
It wasn't long after the shelves emptied themselves of books that one of the archivists had requested her help. As a lady and a weyrling, she couldn't very well decline. So she found herself untangling books from each other, trying to keep them in rough stacks for resorting later. She was trying to remove the crease from a page when F'mil arrived. She looked surprised, but quickly remembered his love of books and was heartened to see him join the cleanup efforts without having to be ask. If only that were a trait of more Riders.
"Good morning, Rider F'mil," she said, stacking the book onto a pile. That was the best it could be for now. She reached for another book. "Any idea what happened here?" The archivists had been rather clammed up about the matter. Perhaps something embarrassing. Something to keep an eye on them about.
F’mil helped but the bookshelf back in its proper upright position, before tending to the books. He looked up when greeted though, giving a smile and a return greeting.
“Good Morning, Weyrling Emmeline.” He looked up at the bookshelf before turning back to the books and gave a pleasant enough looking smile. “I am afraid I did not see what occurred. However…” He frowned a little as he picked up a book whose cover had ben bent back awkwardly in the tumble. He set about righting it as he continued. “I do know these shelves are quite heavy with books on them. It either requires a good deal of force to upset them, or they were improperly loaded to be top heavy.” The smile was back on his face, natural when he was remembering the trouble his brothers had heaped on him as a child. Rai being the one who was most able to get him into trouble. Hard to believe he was getting married now.
Well, not that hard. Unwed heirs didn’t remain so as adults. Not for long.
“I would not dare speculate more than that.” Plus if any of the archivists overheard him he might find his more curious selections needed some restoration suddenly. He started his own little stack of currently homeless books. “History of Benden Weyr. Hmm, wonder what sort of history they have. Well, probably much like anywhere. Good, bad, and interesting.” He continued cleaning a moment before looking back the working weyrling. “Do you have a favorite sort of book?” He kept the tone polite. He was making some casual conversation, and was going to try his best not to ramble about his favorite stuff. Though no doubt he would be sorely tempted to.
Aweirgan watched, with quiet amusement from his perch.
"That's an interesting thought," Emmeline commented on his assessment of the book shelves. Deliberate? And why? Or accident? And how? But his comment was discrete, which appealed to her upbringing. For as whimsical as he could appear to carry himself, he did have a sharp wit in there it seemed. "They've a long history, though not as long as Fort's. They have that honor." Emmeline chimed in reply, setting aside another three books that she'd flipped through having found one page out of order.
"Favorite sort?" echoing again. She hesitated a moment. Normally this was the place where she gave the proper answer. But the real one felt right for this moment. "The tales, like the harpers tell round warm fires and crowds with a feast tucked into their bellies. If they happen to be written down. Adventures. A good mystery. Something to wrap the imagination around. My dad used to tell me some of the simpler ones growing up. He was very fond of them." Aunt Coralee was not.
F’mil nodded once in agreement with the weyrlings comment on Fort’s history versus Benden’s, before listening to her favorite sort of books. He couldn’t say her sort of books were unappealing, since he could imagine those sorts of stories. He had read some, heard some. A warm smile snuck forward as he thought about some of his favorites of those sorts. With a single word though, his smile went from warm, to very neutral. He hesitated, just for a moment. He would not lie though, since she would be a rider her, presumably for a long time. So no use hiding his open secret.
“Books that make you cringe to read them. Or things lonely with dust on them.” He picked up a book and carefully straightened it before stacking it with the others. “I like learning little bits that others don’t know, or don’t want to know.” He stopped the explanation there, because much more and he could talk forever, or scare her off. They had some books to clean after all, and he respected the books too much to do them ill.
“I like your choice though. It’s very…uplifting.” He smiled, the warm smile sneaking back for a moment.
"Likewise. Your choice is very...grave," she mimicked his style. But just as soon had a short laugh and shrugged it off. Grim and gooey was a bit boyish, but the longer curls to his hair hearkened to that age anyhow, despite his full fledged Rider knots.
She scooped up another couple of books and set them righted onto the pile. A dust mote filled the air above them. "Once," Emmeline started in that yarn spinning voice, "There was a great dusty land where not a soul had traveled since the last age." A few more books sorted. "It was a vast land, flat as far as the eye could see when the wind was still - which was not very often. Day in and out, the air swirled and carried this dust as if taking messages from one part to another. Then-" and she caught some of this storied dust on the inhale. She tried to get by with a normal cough or two but to no use. She sputtered on, again wishing away all this dust.
F’mil let a quiet chuckle escape him at her assessment. It certainly wasn’t wrong. Books continued to move out of mess and into order, though slowly. The gentle flipping pages and dull thud of organizing books the backdrop for Emmeline as she began to tell a story. He listened attentively, until the dust from the tale felt as though it had to be a little more involved. F’mil looked up, and around and wordlessly padded from his spot, to out of sight, returning in a moment with a cup of water. He held it out to Emmeline.
“A little fortification for the dust lands.” F’mil waited, curious to hear what was next but not saying so. Aweirgan, from his perch, leaned a little closer, interested in the humans and their tales. If only for the pleasant cadence that stories brought with them.
Emmeline attempted a thank you, failing in the cough. She abandoned that route and took the water, several sips and took a moment to center. Cough finally vanquished - for the moment, at least - she uttered a quick "Thanks." She picked up a book, but seeing the dust again pick up she frowned and set it down. Emmeline finished off the water. "The dust lands - yes." She considered whether to keep telling her story on a whim. If she wasn't cleaning, well-
"Perhaps by chance, a wanderer found their way to the heart of the plains of dust. Here it seemed the same, little storms swirling 'round, the horizon as far and as unchanging as it had always been. But here, in the heart, there was another way. So the wanderer found the hatch and started down the steps, lighting a torch once out of the wind, and continued down and down into a land long forgotten." Emmeline smiled, picked up a book, opened it, and gently closed it, as if to imply the end of story time for the evening. Or perhaps it was too clunky a set of moves to really get anything across. She luckily did not fill the air with dust again. She moved to gather more books to put away.
Emmeline’s words continued on until she motioned that the story was told for now. Aw. F’mil didn’t pout though, he only did that for Delgeth.
“Oh now you have left me on a curious mystery indeed.” He seemed relatively pleased at that though. He did so love mysteries. “Well, I suppose it will give me something to ponder before you tell the next portion?” There was only the barest hint of a question, so as to give her the option of refusing to tell him more stories. It was the polite thing to do. Of course he supposed he could dream up where it went from there, but such things, though common for him, weren’t as satisfying as listening to stories (or gossip for that matter) from others.
At least the books were starting to get more presentable, and he no longer had to cringe at bent pages.
"I told you, they're the best kind," Emmeline grinned. A win for her genre of preference. She picked up a stack of books to replace on the shelves. "You'll just have to wait until the next bookshelf falls over." A slight laugh escaped her. She finished sorting the books from the current pile. Or maybe some other mishap, novelty to go with the new part of the story. She started into reclaiming yet more of the displaced books. "Though I'd have to say at that point, that you have terrible luck."
F’mil’s expression shifted to a barely wry smile at her last comment. Bad luck, huh?
“My luck is both the best and the worst, depending on who you are, and what you mind about me.” He gave a practiced wave of his hand, purposefully expressing a more dignified dismissal then a shrug. “However, I would rather not have to rely on book accidents. As much as I enjoy organizing them I do not think I could handle seeing them in a state so often.” He could spend days in the records room, if he had his way. Or if Delgeth could fit. Delgeth did make the best reading partner, even if he didn’t care about the books one wit.
Aweirgan straightened up, realizing conversation had gone back to human things of which he could only care about the feelings of. He began to scan the room, observing from afar the affairs of humans.
What an odd thing to say about himself, Emmeline thought. Open to a multitude of interpretations. What he did say clearly was that they shouldn't rely on chance to keep the story going. She smiled a charming smile. It wouldn't be too challenging to find that curly mop in the Weyr. Third time a charm to break away from circumstantial meetings.
“Well then,” Emmeline mused, “if we’re leaning on your fluctuating luck instead of the books, I’m not sure how well that changes our odds.” She picked up a sorted stack to return to the shelf. They’d made decent progress cleaning up the floor. Of books anyhow. “I’d suggest lunch but my Aunt would probably pop a blood vessel over it, and out of the Weyr it’s a bit cold, or else too far, or else too secluded for one with such questionable luck. So perhaps back here? I usually end up with some assignment or other for lessons here.”
Judging from the weyrling’s comments, her aunt was most proper indeed. Oh yes, she would have a fit over someone like him. He listened to her musing and to what she settled on, well it suited him just fine.
“Nothing like lessons to keep one busy. Fortunately I come by about every other day to keep my books novel.” Heh. “Or just to get some reading done. It will be nice to be looking for new tales twice over.” He finished with a stack and picked up the group of books. “So here again will be the plan. I will eagerly anticipate the next installment.” He grinned for just a moment before going to set the books with the archivists. He looked very much an excited youth when he did that. Of course he was all; the excited youth, the formally trained lordling, and the bookish king rider.
Aweirgan watched his human with warm affection, his tail only moving slightly. All to the good. But the firelizard was ever vigilant. Today all was good words and excitement, tomorrow may be wry humor and bottled up pain. So it was with Telgar, so it was with his human and his larger cousin. The blue and red creature tilted his head away from his human to the female human he had been talking about. He watched and would remember her well. For it was his job, the tiny King took it seriously. Next time, Aweirgan would remember the straw haired with the cadence words.
"Sounds like a plan. You're all too right, the lesson work keeps me busy, but it's more important now than ever to know how to care for Rioth and well, handle the rest of the world," Emmeline added in with a little exhale and a pout. The tensions in politics made her social circle more difficult to navigate. But here, in the quiet archives, amongst books and little whirlwinds of dust, she could plan a new path. "I should get back to my assignments," she shuffled her feet. Best to end on a good note. She saw the firelizard looking at her and grinned back at him. Then she turned back to F'mil.
"You said every other day, right?" she asked, scooping up a pair of books. She sorted them with her other materials for work, now all assembled. An unappetizing task now more than ever, but she would persist. Plus, now she had plans. "See you then. Bye." she gave a small wave around the books and left to find a corner to do her work.