Hedara’s hair still had snowflakes in it when Temperanth appeared above Rainbow Mists. They didn’t last long in the weyr’s heat so by the time they touched down, Hedara was damp. The peculiarity of visiting the southern weyr was never lost on her, though she imagined visitors to her own Weyr were similarly baffled. She stepped away, a mere glance as parting for her dragon, before the Ice was away to socialize.
[smear:33ccff]Good Afternoon Archith! Would you like some company today?[/smear:3366ff] The Ice flared her wings as if there were still some errant snowflakes upon them. It would be impossible to tell either way.
Hedara on the other hand went to Rilora’s office. She had a scheduled tea with the other Weyrwoman, but she expected Rilora would be working right up to the last second. They were both entirely too busy.
“Rilora, are you ready?” Hedara entered the open door. How on Pern did anyone get anything done in this heat?
The incredible Gold dragon lifted her head from where she had been dozing on the Sands. Her tail was looped around a pair of eggs. There were two other dragons from the Watch perched high on the Stands cut into the wall. They watched silently as Temperanth glided in. One kept his gaze towards her, the other returning his attentions elsewhere. Yes! It gets a little quiet on the Sands. Doramath helps watch the eggs often. I always forget how much of an obligation these little ones are. Not too much longer though 'til they hatch. We can chat a while, and then Doramath will be back if you want to stretch your wings.
Rilora was, predictably, in her office. Her pen stalled at the door's knock, "Is that you, Hedara?" she called back, looked down at her paper once more, added a few notes to one side, pulled close another document, signed it, and tucked elsewhere. She reluctantly put the pen down and moved to retrieve a large brimmed hat. She came to the door and her bright smile turned into a teasing one, "Well you look about as comfortable as a runner in a wher den. Shed a few layers, leave them here in my office," Rilora insisted. "But first," and she gestured for a hug. "It's good to see you, friend."
Temperanth’s eyes whirled pleasantly as she moved to the sands. [smear:33ccff]I’d be happy to join you in watching your lovely eggs as long as you like. But so soon! Seems like just yesterday I heard the good news.[/smear:3366ff] The Ice Queen looked about at the lovely eggs and the strange sands. The sands felt nostalgic and warm though.
[smear:33ccff]Sounds as though you found a fine mate for your clutch then.[/smear:3366ff]Temperanth mused over the idea of flirting with some of the males about her weyr, or since she was here… But generally she didn’t think of such things. Probably why she was so very whimsical about her choices in mate. [smear:33ccff]How wonderful.[/smear:3366ff] Temperanth’s mindvoice carried warmth with it, as it often did.
“Mhm.” Hedara waited for Rilora to wrap up, the idea of Weyrwomen being chained to their work was all too true. Finally though the other woman appeared and was ready for fun. And a hug.
Hedara paused a moment. It was a strong reflex to refuse, because even here, mostly private, was too exposed for her. She never revealed affection in public. That was dangerous. But, this was the southern Weyr, and emotions were more free, without the same restrains. It was a mostly private area. Most importantly, it was Rilora.
So Hedara leaned in for a hug. Stiff, and very light, as though she was terrified to breaking the other person, but a hug. One might thing it was out of pure politeness she did this, but there was a curved smirk on her face, which was about the only thing unique Hedara when she was around those she called friends.
“Well, give me a moment. I cannot promise I will look any less of a runner, though.” Her hair swished slightly in the runner’s tail it was held in. But she shucked her coat in favor of her simple long sleeves and pants. “Shall we?”
Archith watched Temperanth settle in. Thoughts about her friend here to visit, the lovely comments, knowing the eggs had good, strong parents, and she was lucky to have Doramath to help watch them. They were never alone, she noticed again the dragons watching above. Somewhere, out on Pern, was her lost egg. A flash of great sadness, arriving and departing like lightning. The warmth of the sands pushed into her senses again as the shiver of cold passed. Well, eggs do as they are want. They are so serene to tend this way, but I know they want to break free and explore. Laid yesterday and hatching tomorrow, if you don't watch the time, you know. Care to guess on any of them? Doramath and his have been very supportive if not very imaginative when in comes to southern colors, Archith chuckled. I suppose we'll find out soon enough in any case.
Rilora accepted Hedara's light hug and subtle smirk. She knew what they meant, she'd know the reserved Ice Rider long enough. Made longer by all that Pern had thrown at them, though they managed. Somehow or other. Things seemed hopeful, not to be overly optimistic.
"We shall," Rilora cheered, sweeping the hat to her head. She closed and locked the office entrance and moved for the two of them to walk down the hall. It was time for tea! The kitchen should have the table set, just waiting on them to arrive to set the hot water. No over steeped tea this day. They arrived to the Weyr Bowl overlook, outside and shaded and not too hot, near the kitchens and the bustle and yet just far enough away. When the weather allowed, it was Rilora's favorite spot. She saw a tray picked up as they entered the dining hall, sailing ahead of them to arrive first at the table. The server had offloaded about half of it when the Weyrwomen arrived, small sandwhiches and pastries and bite sized snacks. Rilora thanked the woman, who moved away to allow a man to place a pair of teapots. "Oh, this is very nice. I needed this."
[smear:33ccff]I would never dare. I adore the possibilities they have all too much. The stories they might hold.[/smear:3366ff]Temperanth let out a breath, and though the air was warm, one could imagine the sight of her visible sigh. [smear:33ccff]When I start imagining I never stop.[/smear:3366ff] The Ice Queen, now settled, turned to Archith conspiratorially. [smear:33ccff]But I would love to hear from you on your little ones. What do you think?[/smear:3366ff]
Hedara followed Rilora, restraining her strides so she didn’t look like she was bolting about. They made their way to a table, freshly being prepared, and Hedara needed no further reminder that this was not Ice Stone. Tea outside was enough. Rilora moved forward first, and Hedara found herself considering the spread a moment before nodding in thanks to those preparing it. She never really considered these things, but she felt she must now.
“It looks quite good. What sort of tea is it today?” Hedara hoped for something strong. Being born and raised on Halk had colored her flavor choices.
Oh, thank you. Yes, that is the heart of Hatchings, isn't it? The possibility? Archith turned to look over her eggs again, bringing Temperanth in to view them with her. Rilora is set on this large one being an Iron. Doramath wants it to be a Bronze, like him. I think it'd be hilarious as a Purple, or maybe a Dream. Upset their expectations. Rilora is right, I'd like to see a few like Piagleth, with that pretty hide, maybe this one or this little egg over here. But honestly at the end of the Hatching, I just want thirteen healthy younglings. Archith finished, nosing the little egg. Little promises of peace. So we're hoping.
"The very best," the man announced, his voice hinting a dialectal lilt of somewhere equally hot but considerably less green. "Two fine pots here, the white one contains the valley specialty. A light flavor, spiced, with citrus. And the fine blue pot, a bold black tea. I recommend removing the leaves in about a minute. Please, enjoy," he encouraged with a shallow bow and returned towards the kitchen.
Rilora smiled at Hedara, selecting a fruit topped snack and taking a bite. Delicious, like always. "It's good," she said behind her hand, words a little muffled.
[smear:33ccff]How promising.[/smear:3366ff]Temperanth watched with Archith, attention focused where directed by the Gold. She did not permit her mind to wander over much but she imagined all possibilities presented with delight. [smear:33ccff]Yes, I will also give you thirteen wishes for good health.[/smear:3366ff] She watched the Gold nose one of her eggs, pleased. Whatever they held the Queen would love, for certain. Temperanth understood completely.
[smear:33ccff]Are they still shy or are they showing their personality?[/smear:3366ff] The Ice leaned her head toward a nearby egg, attempting to notice any subtle movements that occurred in developing eggs.
“Excellent. My thanks.” Hedara settled in her seat, her posture uncompromisingly straight regardless. She smirked at Rilora’s enjoyment of her desert, with a subtle chuckle more scene then heard. She selected a sandwich for herself while listening to retreating footsteps. She rather wanted to talk, but not while anyone else was about. She took a bite from her food of choice, enjoying the fresh vegetables. Very tasty, and novel to be enjoying the cool food in the warm atmosphere.
“So, how are things here?” Polite. Well she cut a little closer to betraying her curiosity. “I have heard news but I wanted to know how you felt on current events.”
Archith looked over at the egg Temperanth was inspecting. They've generally been a quiet lot. I think they have had enough excitement entirely. But the one next to that one, here- she gestured, this one has so much spirit I can hardly believe the egg holds it all in. That one will need a sure Rider and should do very well with direction, I think. Archith moved back to let the Ice inspect, and while watching, also lowered her head towards another group of eggs. Perhaps they'd be more emotive today with such calming and auspicious company.
Rilora smiled and finished off the treat before taking a few of the small sandwiches to nibble. She made it through one of them before Hedara asked her question. "Well, V'lan is wonderful. If anyone has told you different they're lying. He was a perfectly stiff diplomat before Doramath shook things up. Archith is rather pleased with her eggs, thirteen healthy ones. Everyone was very tense about all of it at first, well, except us I think. I've been rather pleased with the arrangement, at least personally." Rilora laughed and turned her features into a smile that wished to hide something, but not really. "Anyhow, the talks have been going well. The increasing supply of food up north has helped, we can all realize that. It's been hard to get some concessions but I'm sure they feel the same way. At the end of this we have to be somewhere the people of the Weyr can accept. I think we're close to an agreement, and having a group of guests from Igen here for the Hatching I hope will warm relations. Shortly after that, with any luck, this will all be over."
Temperanth’s eyes whirled slowly, colored with content curiosity. She turned to examine the one that Archith directed her too, and admired it. [smear:33ccff]I can feel it. How wonderful.[/smear:3366ff]She made a little amused rumble. [smear:33ccff]It is so hard to wait to hatch, isn’t it? Be patient little one.[/smear:3366ff]The Ice looked sympathetically at the egg before turning to the Gold. [smear:33ccff]So small but personality as big as the sky. It never fails to amaze me about eggs, even though I can see it every hatching.[/smear:3366ff]
Hedara listened carefully as she methodically ate her sandwich. Her face had smoothed to neutral interest, and remained there. Until Rilora was completely finished, she didn’t say a word. Even after that, she sat, eyes drifting down to the table. Her hands now free of food she folded them together and thought. She didn’t say she could perfectly agree with Rilora. She wouldn’t be able to, she just didn’t have the ability to. She could see how Rilora felt, could understand it, but to her it was dangerous. Hedara opened her mouth slowly before her hazel eyes suddenly locked on Rilora.
“You like him.” It was a statement, but it was difficult to determine in what capacity Hedara meant it. The woman didn’t clarify. “Do you trust him?”
Archith looked over her thirteen, They are. But as much as they want to be here, I know they will be. So I watch them, these eggs. They'll hatch soon enough. And I'll get to fly here and there again. There's always something to miss when it's different. They're right where they need to be, and in not too long they'll be up testing the skies. She caught a glimpse of wings and looked to see if it was her Bronze.
Rilora stopped, and set her teacup down. It was like Hedara to be serious, but this seemed grim even for her. So she kept her gaze steady and level and took a slow breath, considering a response. She had never really considered otherwise. "Yes."
"I've never felt I shouldn't, even when the extent of our relationship was solely political. So I suppose when Archith changed that, I didn't think reevaluation necessary." She finally looked away into her teacup, pondering the play of the light off its surface, and then its flavor. She set the cup down.
"I think this arrangement has done more for peace than the stalling talks. They're starting up again now, the real ones, the productive ones." She kept on talking but her thoughts stayed back with her evaluation of V'lan. This was a good thing, wasn't it? It had felt like a season of renewal, with a Hatching and new romance and the possibility of peace. Was it too good to be true? The way Archith felt around her eggs, was it distracting? Would suspicion help anything?
"I suppose that's what I have you for. An outside perspective. If there's some advice you have for me, I'd hear it."
Temperanth rumbled, pleased. So very true. She turned when the Gold did, spying a Bronze coming in to watch the clutch as well. Oh.
[smear:33ccff]Would this be the one?[/smear:3366ff] Temperanth looked Doramath up and down once. [smear:33ccff]I can see the appeal.[/smear:3366ff] --- Hedara’s eyes never wavered as Rilora spoke. She listened carefully to what her friend said, focusing completely. When Rilora was done, the Ice Rider considered the information. It was very much like Rilora. It was not something Hedara herself could do, though she understood the trust. Rilora asked if she was going to give her advice. A slow smirk appeared on her face, this one utterly lacking of humor.
“I do not think I am in a position to give advice on this.” The first Weyrleader she had been paired with had promptly been accused of murder and caused ISW and its major hold to break ties. All that while Hedara had proof he hadn’t done it. Her time under Sanshe certainly didn’t lack for activity.
“If you trust him, I will remember you have said so, and act accordingly. However, I apologize for not being able to trust him myself.” A little bit of humor made its way into her expression. “It is my way.” Her expression smoothed again, and she poured herself some tea. “I would suggest that while things are moving forward well, that something feels unfinished here. It may be only the missing egg, but I am unsure. I would recommend keeping an eye out for the unexpected.” She took a sip of the tea. Hedara hadn’t thrown ISW’s weight behind RMW for nothing. As a witness to ISW’s own disaster on the sands, a missing egg resonated with many of her riders. As things were drawing to a close, it felt as though the egg really had vanished into thin air.
Archith turned her gaze to match Temperanth. She rumbled a greeting at her Bronze, pleased to see him. Now she could go stretch her wings. Yes, he's quite the Bronze. Archith unfolded her wings and began to stretch them out. Looks like we can go for a lap round the valley soon.
Rilora flinched with Hedara's mention of the egg. The agony she had navigated with Archith, too many dark hours of sleep lost, the searching and lack of direction; time let them think of it less, but it didn't change the sting. But Hedara's suspicion, she actually appreciated. Someone with a different view to also watch, perhaps to voice concern if things didn't add up. "Thank you, I appreciate your input. With a Hatching up coming Archith and I have been thinking more of that egg. Truly strange, and with communications improving the background of a strange transfer Rider is starting to fall apart. It could still be something else entirely, but that Midnight Rider wound up in a heap of trouble with very little to say, a horrible turn with his conditions I've found out and have been handling quietly as I can, and he's gone to put questions to. So we'll see." Rilora adjusted her teacup and selected something else to eat. She thought a moment. "In any case, that egg keeps us up at night." She went back to picking at her food. "Can I expect that you'll attend the upcoming Hatching?"
When Rilora flinched Hedara’s expression tightened up just a little bit. She didn’t want to trouble Rilora, but they were Weyrwomen, and Hedara wasn’t going to take back her words. Some things had to be said.
As the Goldrider spoke, Hedara’s eyes narrowed. So it wasn’t just her. Something about all this still felt off. Hedara wished to support her friend in this, but everything was in Rilora’s domain, and all she could do was watch and listen. Well almost all. When Rilora asked her about the hatching, Hedara was reminded that there were also going to be Igen guests present. Well then.
“Yes. I will attend.” Even if that meant she was going to buried alive under work before and after. “I’m sure Temperanth will enjoy a watching a southern hatching as well.”
[smear:33ccff]Indeed I would. How fascinating to think there is no ice.[/smear:3366ff] Temperanth shared with Hedara before attending to dragon matters. [smear:33ccff]Well Archith, I am glad to hear you say that. I do enjoy getting to see your Weyr. [/smear:3366ff]
"Oh, good. It is always better to have more friendly and supportive faces," Rilora breathed with a echo of relief. A true gathering of Weyrs for a Hatching, a hopeful atmosphere for peace. "But you're right, it's all strange. I'll go over it with my advisors again, see if between the Weyrs we can't locate more clues to these missing pieces and that Rider. It's hard to pry into, I don't particularly want it known how it was all handled, it doesn't look good for us. But as I've seen before it's dangerous to let old problems fade away without proper resolution. Better to work on cleaning those uncomfortable spots now before it impacts the new hope with peace." Rilora emptied her tea cup and sat looking into the few little leaves in the bottom.
It makes a good home for us all. Archith rumbled, rising to take stock of the eggs again and pass them off to the Bronze. She nudged one back into proper arrangement, and satisfied, moved away from the group of them to give her wings space to maneuver without disrupting them.