K'nan took a deep breath. He was looking for Rilora. He wanted to ask her to have dinner with him. But there was a good chance she would already be busy. What with all the things she had on her plate and all the other BronzeRiders who wanted her attention. He didn't know how well he would be received if he were to go up to her and simply ask her to dinner, but... There was no harm in trying, he supposed.
It was about this time that he, already on his way to find her, spotted Rilora not far off in the Weyrbowl. He took a deep breath.
Mine, there is no reason to worry. Besides. The worst she can say is no.
K'nan chuckled. That was true. The worst she could say was no. He scratched the back of his head again then started walking casually towards her. She was a beautiful young woman. He had always thought so.
His steps were casual, but confident and undaunted as he approached, a friendliness and thoughtfulness noticeable in the expression of his face and the movement of his frame, as usual. His blue eyes, however, were as always, somewhat steely and distant, as though perpetually thinking. Which he did spend quite a bit of time lost in thought, often about matters that many others did not consider. Things that may even seem long since no longer important.
He gulped as he was easily at a distance at which she could hear him at a normal speaking volume. "Good evening, Werywoman Rilora," he said, bowing to her. "I was wondering... If you would be interested in having dinner with me this evening...?" he gave her a friendly, warm smile, his manner, as usual, dignified, but down to earth.
Dinner? Thought Rilora. She grinned. It was time for eating, wasn't it? I had forgotten... K'nan had asked her very nicely. Dinner between friends and equals, though she still was reminded of his dragon's color. It would never leave her mind, for it was broadcasted by the knots on their shoulders and the colors woven within them.
Rather promptly Rilora answered. "Yes, K'nan. I would be interested." She was still in her work attire, a long casual shirt belted around the waist and sturdy, flexible working pants. Her hair was clean but not otherwise decorated. It was K'nan, though, and they were friends. Plus she was hungry. This was no Gather to dress up for.
"How about we get dinner on the ledge?" she asked. It was almost the end of dinner time, judging by the sky, and the ledge would be a little nippy but also brilliant as the sun set and the starts started to peak out. They were just about the same at home as they were in the Weyr. It was comforting.
"Let's go before the cooks loose all pity for us stragglers," Rilora insisted, turning to face the Weyr Bowl's kitchen tunnel and catching the corner of K'nan's arm. Good friends and good food. The best of calm, normal life.
K'nan smiled. His smile was always slightly crooked, though it wasn't intentional. He just simply, for whatever reason, was made without a straight, normal smile. "Great. And the ledge would be great. It is a very nice place to have dinner.... Or even just sit at times." He thought about it for the moment. There was always a wonderful scene there. Always something beautiful. Especially at Sunset, Sunrise, or night. "It'll be cold, but... As long as that doesn't bother you?"
K'nan, unlike Rilora, was weyrborn. He just was not the overly fancy sort. He hadn't really been raised that way.
K'nan was a little bit surprised when Rilora caught his arm, but he smiled, more than happy to walk with her. It felt companionable and comfortable. "Oh most definitely! Although I am certain they would make an exception for once. If we beg." He grinned at the thought. "Cooks certainly have a lot of power of people. They control the food." He sounded serious, but by the spark in his eye, you could tell he was, in all actuality, joking, although, there was that bit of truth to it. Jokes were not necessarily K'nan's forte, but he tried all the same at times.
K'nan found his thoughts on a fact that needled him in the heart. He liked Rilora, a lot, and it was going to be hard when Archith flew and... If she did not pick him and Embraeth... but even then, he would still be her friend. Always her friend. She needed a friend more than a bunch of BronzeRiders following her around and driving her crazy. That's why he put friendship before that. Before the fact that he liked her. And had for awhile.
K'nan smiled at Rilora. He was tall. About 6' to 6'1" as it were. He looked down towards her, then looked forward again. He hoped he wouldn't trip over himself tonight.
"Not at all," Rilora replied in quick succession. She suspected she'd actually be a little cold but hopefully a cup of klah and maybe someone had left a jacket in the kitchen? Well...klah would have to do. Maybe spiced klah...halk, wasn't it? A Northern thing, fantastic it was.
"I'm sure Archith could convince them otherwise," Rilora chuckled, the image of her Gold intimidating a cook was quite hilarious. A ladle against an irritable dragon? They'd probably get food. With decoration and music and entertainment to boot. She grinned.
Rilora sped ahead and reached the tunnel to the kitchens. It was a little bit of a wind and a bit of a sloped climb and finally they would reach the kitchens. The smell of klah was still rather prominent and Rilora hoped they really would be able to fix her a cup of halk.
A cook noted them come in. She didn't say anything but simply slipped further back into the kitchens to fetch them something. That, and to tell the other woman who was still up cleaning who had arrived. Not just the Weyrwoman, but with a particular BronzeRider. Weyr gossip was something of a specialty of hers and she took a great pride in knowing just what was going on.
"I think she's seen us," Rilora mentioned. "We'll be out on the ledge," she called after the woman and turned to find a table.
K'nan grinned and chuckled at the thought, imagining the Gold staring down a cook. "Oh they most certainly would give the Queen what she wished!" his tone was one of merriment and, at the same time, humor and admiration all in one. "I do believe that they would give much more than just a meal in that case!"
K'nan grinned and lengthened his stride in an attempt to keep up with her, though he did not wish to outpace her. He was, for the most part, beside her by the time they reached the kitchens.
K'nan was not surprised as the women already started to prepare food for the Weyrwoman and for himself, although he was certain that he would hear something of this tomorrow from someone or another, what with how gossip traveled and all. It was alright, he supposed. A little bit of gossip wouldn't worry him, but he did not want it to bring Rilora grief in anyway.
K'nan smiled. "It would seem so." He looked towards the kitchen. "Thank you!" he called, before following Rilora out."
He thought for a moment. "Have you had a chance to see your sister lately?" he asked. He hoped she had. He had gathered from the tiem he had known her just how important family was to Rilora and it seemed that, even with visiting her family at the Hold, her sister would often have to go without seeing the young Weyrwoman... And Rilora without seeing or visiting with her sister.
"They'd owe Archith an entire festival in her honor to make up for it, I wager," Rilora said, envisioning Gather stalls laced with gold banners and hangings. More than anything Archith would probably just want the attention. And maybe lunch. ...which was more or less what started this conversation in the first place.
"Lithena?" Rilora repeated, giving it a quick thought. "Yes," she said pleasantly. "Of course I would have liked to visit with her longer. Either I'm busy or her social schedule is full. You wouldn't believe how busy she makes herself. I wish I were at liberty to schedule my days like her every now and then," Rilora lamented with a light sigh. "I love my job, I do. But it's so much pressure, K'nan. Kaya and the others are counting on me to grow into the Promising Young GoldRider everyone is hoping for. I was raised studying plants and children, for Faranth's sake." Rilora stopped. She was carrying on, though she wasn't shouting. She just felt bad complaining. "Never mind that, though."
Rilora saw someone approaching them. It was one of the kitchen ladies with drinks and some sliced rolls with topping. Food while the other food was warming up, she supposed.
"Thank you very much," Rilora intoned politely, trying to sound sincere. It was a bit forced. She had just been ranting about her life after all...
K'nan grinned. "I'm sure they would be more than happy to serve it at that in order to get back into her good graces."
He nodded. "Lithena does keep her self rather busy..." He grimaced a little. "I'm sorry, Rilora. You do have a very tough job. One that seems almost unreasonably so and the expectations are high... But I don't think there is any way you could disappoint so long as you do your best. Just don't wear yourself out. Besides, you are an amazing person." He smiled softly at her.
K'nan smiled and gave a small inclination of his head to the kitchen lady who brought their drinks and rolls. "Thank you," he said, echoing Rilora, his tone sincere.
He waited until she had left then turned back to the Weyrwoman. "Rilora... There are people who will not treat you any differently because you are the Weyrwoman. They loved you before and love you now. And some of them... Would help you if they could. And you know, that if there is something I can do, I am always willing to help. Even if not everything goes smoothly, you are still amazing and that won't change the thoughts of those who truly care for you."
He was quiet then, looking at her with concern, tenderness, and, there, veiled, but there, a portion... of love.
"It is a lot," Rilora agreed, "but I'm not the only Weyrwoman here. Kaya has stepped down, that's true, but she's not gone. I have people around who are helping me, whether it seems like it or not. They just need to be sure - the Weyr needs to be sure - that I'm up to the job. I have to prove myself." She finished and fidgeted with a napkin before finally folding it in her lap. She took a slice of fruit and ate that, staring out over the ledge and loosing herself in the view, trying to lay down the burdens of the day and relax.
She heard K'nan's speech but didn't respond to it. Of course she was still thinking about her family and she loved them dearly. She'd heard her mum's speech about love regardless of life's circumstances. But she appreciated her friend's repetition of its message. She really did just want to forget her work right now. Part of her felt like she should ask how the caravaners the other day were, if they behaved, and so on. She should ask, but would she really listen to the answer? She didn't really want to talk about work.
"You'll be able to, without a doubt." He smiled slightly, then was silent, chewing a piece of bread for a moment and just letting there be a little bit of quiet.
"Koga? She's doing pretty well. She's made a... well... She's not sure she's a friend exactly, but she doesn't mind. Even though, apparently, the girl insults her." K'nan smiled and shook his head, almost as if dismayed. "That's one thing about Koga... She isn't afraid of being insulted and she really doesn't care what others have to think."
K'nan sat casually, looking out over the view from his ledge, his eyes wandering from one thing to the other.
It is good to talk. But you aren't always that good at that. I should make you talk, Embraeth suddenly chimed in.
K'nan chuckled a little. "Apparently Embraeth doesn't think I talk enough. But he is one to say so!" K'nan said, laughing. His dragon was really not the talkative type, far less than his Rider at that.
Rilora lost herself staring into the drink that sat in front of her. She wanted to pay attention to K'nan, but part of her just couldn't. She wasn't sure how long she'd been staring when the kitchen women showed back up to deliver their dinners. She thanked them politely and turned back to her food. After a few bits and noticing that they still hadn't left she shot them a look of disapproval and hoped they'd go away.
Looking back at K'nan Rilora tried to come up with a question but they were failing her. She felt her cheeks threaten to flush with embarrassment. She hadn't had something to say in far too long. What would her mum say?
She finally came up with something. "So did you hear about the new guidelines for non-Queen Hatchings?" Rilora asked. She figured as a BronzeRider he might not have heard about the new administration. Kaya had been reviewing it with her the other evening.
K'nan let the silence remain. He felt slightly awkward. It seemed, perhaps, he would be the more talkative of them today. He wondered quietly for a moment what might be on her mind, though it was very likely that she may simply be tired.
K'nan's dark eyes looked out at the scenery before them still, his expression set as a thoughtful and far away expression. At least, until the kitchen women came with food.
"No, I haven't." He was suddenly extremely curious. "What are they?"
He looked over at one of the kitchen women who did not leave, even after Rilora's look. "Would you please leave us be," he said politely, though his tone made it very obvious that it was not a question. It was polite, phrased as a question, but definitely an order.
The woman looked a little startled for a moment that he had even said anything and turned to leave, though, in reality, she did not go that far, staying close enough to listen. She wished to know what was going on. She was a romantic, and beyond that, she found pleasure in knowing the romances of those around her. And in gossip. But, she was especially interested in the stories surrounding the most prominent woman of the Weyr.
Rilora picked at her food while the kitchen woman hung about. The Weyr was getting antsy about it, she knew. Her Gold's Flight. Such drama over something that happened in every Weyr that ever was. I suppose, if I worked here in the kitchens, I would be curious too. Like how everyone at home always kept up on the journeymen Harpers...
Trying to ignore the kitchen staff, though she was starting to understand their thoughts, Rilora replied: "Well, as you know, Rainbow Mists has always been rather progressive about its ways. Riders raising children and non-Queens Clutching, you know. Well we're in an Interval now and that means less deaths and probably fewer tithes in the coming Turns too. The thankfulness of Holds tends to wear over time, and I'm starting to see it's true. So the Weyrwomen have discussed this in regards to the dragon population. We can't have too many wings about, which was never a problem when it was just Queens having the younguns. They Fly less during Intervals, at least that's what I've been told," Rilora felt a bit like she was rambling, but K'nan had asked. She was interested in Weyr politics herself, wondering how it had hashed out that Rainbow Mists had been able to adopt all of its strange policies, relative to the rest of Pern anyhow.
"Like I was saying, the new policy, is that Riders of female dragons shall have to apply for Clutches should they want them. Firestone lessons for females are thus going to be pushed back a few sevendays to give the pairs more time to grow into their adult selves. We suspect Sunlances are still going to be difficult, but we've known a few to chew stone. It's not impossible. Of course those who Fly with extreme frequency will be excluded from the applicant pile as its always been. GreenRiders have never fussed about it much anyway. The way of the world, I suppose," Rilora stopped to ponder her last thought. Was it just that Greens didn't want to bother with Hatchings, or was it because they simply had always been told they couldn't that they were never interested?
"All in all it's supposed to help reduce the number of dragonets born each Turn to a manageable number for an Interval."
K'nan could still feel the eyes that were on them. He sighed. It seemed that they were far too curious for their own good.
Mine, I will attempt to scare them if you wish? Embraeth said, his mental voice holding an edge of amusement at the thought.
No... Let it go for now, Embraeth, K'nan replied silently. Embraeth hurrumphed in dissapointment at that, but did not press the issue.
K'nan turned his full attention to Rilora as she started to explain the new policy. "Hmm... It makes a lot of sense!" he said, actually quite interested. He made sure to think about each aspect and think about it fully. "Even though there will be those, such as Sunlances who may refuse or see it as unfair, it is quite wise. The larger the Weyr population, the further the strain will go and the faster, not to mention the greater and more intensive."
K'nan nodded. "Indeed, it seems it would be, though a part of that may simply be because Green dragons have never really made good mothers..." he paused, thinking for the moment. "It sounds like a good plan for managing the numbers."
He was quiet for a moment. "Speaking of things that cause strain, it seems the tension between Benden and Rainbow Mists just keeps growing... Have we had any problems from teh Holds?" He really didn't know, and the fact that he didn't know made him feel really out of the loop as those were the kinds of things he normally kept on top of and thought a lot about, but, lately, he had had other things on his mind.
"Yes, I'm glad to hear your consensus about population," Rilora replied lightly, feeling the subject finish. She was finally picking up appetite and let K'nan mull the information over a while so she could eat. The warmed vegetables were flavored very nicely and the little slab of meat they had included was without obvious flaw. A good portion for post dinner hours, she mused.
So, having been quiet, she was ready to pick up a new topic when K'nan presented it. Ah, Benden Weyr. "Quite the problem, really," Rilora mentioned, finishing her last bite. "You'd think Weyrs would finally get along now, considering the historic conflicts as of late. Politics seems to elude that though. There are some key practices of ours that Benden dislikes, so that while we are both rather progressive in adopting new policy, we disagree on what those policies should look like. Tension for the new ideal, you see," Rilora explained. She found it all rather fascinating. "So while we both acknowledge potential in dragons less by color these days and more by skill, we disagree about Flight practices and some parts of Hatching control, not to mention the cultural differences. Quite sticky. You'd think that Benden would find common ground, but it seems rather the opposite. Fort's been rather supportive of us since our aid after their Uprising. A lot of history you see. Quite a lot. Fascinating, all. Could talk about it for hours and not be done," Rilora finished in a sense, broadening out the subject. She supposed that would have to do for a start. Wait and see what K'nan had to say, she guessed. All the same, wasn't it so intriguing? Exciting even to be a part of it?
K'nan chewed thoughtfully for a moment. Hmm... Quite interesting. "Benden has a bone to pick with us. Or has decided to. The fact of the matter is that if we continue in this vein, things will eternally become worse. There has to be a compromise eventually. However, I don't think either one will give in even a bit... I don't think we would either."
He nodded again. "Fort Weyr's days of its own version of progressiveness were put out when the Uprising took place. All three sides were to extreme and too much. they overflowed and boiled to a point where conflict naturally arose. Thankfully it was quickly put down, though, because if it had not, things could be quite a bit different. If certain people were to take over the Weyr at that time with certain ideals, we may have entered yet another Weyr War."
K'nan was quiet again. "It is rather interesting. Studying the political around this and thinking about it. There are many ways things could go, but there are many things that are only speculation." K'nan was quiet again for a moment. "To think that we and our Weyr has long been a part of all these events... And our Weyr to be so important to most of the Weyrs in some way." He was quiet again, thinking, marveling over it in part.