Catching Up

Characters Alexa, M'ti
Synopsis M'ti comes out to Igen to catch up with Alexa
Out-of-Character Date September 10, 2019

Igen Weyr - Living Caverns
Second only to the Hatching Sands in size -- although its walls are not so nearly circular -- the living cavern is filled with numerous rectangular tables, almost too many to count. The Weyrleaders have the table farthest from the kitchen and hearths at one end of the cavern. The hearths are kept as low-burning as possible during the day when folk come inside to escape the heat outside. They burn brighter at night to keep away the deserts chill. No matter hte level of flame, there is always a stew pot that hangs for nibblers at a good temperature. Favored drinks, particularly iced klah and juice, are kept on ice and interspersed at various food tables scattered about, along with baskets of rolls and fruit. There are, of course, scheduled mealtimes, and at certain points of the day the available fare slides into the menu for the nearest meal, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late-night snackings, but the staff has long since acknowledged that people will sit to talk and nibble here at all hours. In the cooler parts of the evening in particular, the cavern hosts games of chess, checkers, dragonpoker, and others. Several degrees are knocked off thanks to the Technician Craft's cooling system.

Autumn - Month 9 of Turn 2722

Ah, the wonders of the desert; freezing cold nights, heat-stroke days. And even in autumn, while the rest of the North might experience changing colors and crisp, fall breezes, when the sun rises over Igen, the temperature climbs to unbearable heights. Blisteringly hot. So any sensible person is going to seek shelter within the safe, stone caverns. The place is crowded with dragonriders and non-riders alike, crafters and weyrfolk jostling for positions in the cool and comfortable Living Caverns. Alexa, by virtue of that shiny knot on her shoulder, is at least afforded a measure of respect when it comes to said jostling — she at least gets an apology when someone bumps her, even from the grumpiest of desert-folk! She also gets a table to herself, though that might have more to do with the paperwork sprawling across it and spilling into the few chairs that circle it. Hard to steal a seat, if that seat already has binders and books and stacks of to-be-read hides in it.

Is it possible to be offended by the climate of a region? M'ti sure seems to think that it's a viable option, considering the first thing he did upon landing is strip down to cusp of decency even as he hurried inside as quickly as he can, if just to send a narrowed glare back the way he came. What the actual…fffff…that was a lot of people! Was the whole weyr in there? The greenrider was overwhelmed almost instantly, staring flat out at the milling bodies and shoulders brushed in trying to maneuver into places that might be less crowded but of course were. After futilely scanning faces, profiles, and the backs of people's heads, M'ti stands up on his tiptoes and with a stroke of luck notices Alexa in the brief gap of bodies. Then, it becomes a matter of a whole lot of apologizing and squeezing through until he's practically shoved forward and catches himself from scattering the goldrider's paperwork at the very last second by planting his palms upon her table's edge. Proceeding a reprimanding glance over his shoulder, M'ti turns a bright smile upon Alexa before helping himself to a seat, "Busy?" he asks, seeing perfectly well that she is, but cheeky enough to go that route anyway.

Is the whole Weyr in the living caverns? Probably. Wouldn't surprise Alexa if they were. Crazy-hot out there! But apparently, among her many other talents (</sarcasm>) is the ability to tune out the crowd and pretend they don't exist. Which might be why Alexa looks downright startled at the sudden appearance of a warm body touching her table(!!) and threatening to destroy her carefully catalogued stacks o' stuff. It takes only a moment for those green eyes to find and focus on M'ti, and another for recognition to dawn, resulting in a grin from the goldrider, rather than a sharp reprimand. "Always," she sighs, shifting to scoop up a stack of papers from the chair beside her, effectively freeing it for him to sit in, should he so choose. The armload of stuff is summarily dumped onto the table, where she sets about quickly sorting it into some semblance of organization. "You're a long way from home," she points out, though there's nothing but delight in her expression, even if she won't stand up to greet him (chairs are prime real-estate! She's not about to risk losing hers)

It sure seemed like the whole weyr was here escaping the oven that was outside, a little bit of an eying occurs for that even if the reasoning was sound, before M'ti is returning that grin and wholeheartedly takes the seat Alexa clears for him, "You poor thing," he says with a cluck of tongue against his teeth, gaze drifting over mound after mound after mound of who knows what documents, "They're really laying it on you, aren't they?" A moment later, the greenrider's attention cuts back to the woman at his side and he chuckles softly, "I missed you and really it's only fair, seeing as you did all the traveling when I couldn't." Tit for tat? Something like that. "But Faranth, what do they have you doing?" Look as Matty might, he doesn't focus on or try to read anything specific, leaving it up to his friend there to at best give him a general idea without putting her into a position that might be untowards.

Alexa just shrugs, apparently not terribly concerned with the amount of work implied by the piles (and piles and piles) of 'stuff' on her table. "It's really not that bad," she assures, shifting something here, and something there, and magically managing to produce a plate of snacks from beneath the mess. "Cookie?" is offered with a cheeky grin. The look softens a moment later and, plate still in hand, she wiggles over to fling an arm around M'ti's shoulders in a quick side-hug. "I've missed you too," she admits. She won't comment on fairness — it al breaks even in the end! "Well… that's inventory notes," she details, pointing to a sorry little stack of papers that look like they've seen better days. "And those are import and export records," for the pile on the left. "And those are just… notes." The rest. Scattered. "I'm trying to make that" inventory, "Match that" import and export. "If they do, great! If they don't, well… that's when I gotta get the other Harper's involved, to figure out how the numbers got off." If she looks delighted about it, maybe it's a symptom of too much sun? M'ti can look all he'd like; there's nothing sordid or confidential in that stack, just a lot of seemingly benign and boring lists and numbers.

"I dunno, Lex…" M'ti breathes out, eyes moving from one pile to the next, "Look pretty bad to me…" It looked to him like they were burying her, but then again he had no idea what it was that she had been tasked to work on and really someone had to do it, right? There's a laugh from the lad when she makes cookies appear seemingly out of thin air, bobbing his head in the affirmative and helping himself to one of the confectionary treats from the plate she holds. He's just about to take a bite when the goldrider throws her arm over his shoulders to hug him, with only some light awkwardness in leaning in and touching his head to hers in return. He really had missed her terribly and in so doing had made the trek over to hang out a bit and catch up. Mutually assured missingness complete, the cookie gets bitten and M'ti chews as Alexa explains what she's up to. Amongst nods and lofted brows, understanding clearly filters into his features, mhmmming and taking another bite of his treat before speaking again, "Well," he comments, having noted her expression and the eagerness with which she spoke, "As long as you're happy I guess…" There's a playful yet sly slide of hazel-green eyes as they sparkle with his amusement. "How come you don't have an office?" he asks suddenly, taking further note of the clustering of peoples large and small, taking another bite of cookie soon after.

Snagging a cookie for herself, Alexa sets the plate aside where it can't harm her precious stacks of paperwork. "Oh, I do," she assures, nibbling at her treat. "Or, well… it's a shared office. There's also the record room, and the library, but… I dunno. I like coming in here. The noise helps me think." It's like white-noise, only… better? "Plus, I don't want to bring food into the office, or the library, or the record room. Best to keep the crumbs to the living cavern, where they can be swept up easily." She's sort-of being thoughtful, at least. Even if it means she's commandeering a table and several chairs for herself, despite the rather busy caverns. "What about you? What are you doing? Clearly nothing as interesting as reconciliations," she decides, obviously teasing.

M'ti hmmm's and nods, popping the last bite of cookie into his mouth and chewing on it slowly as to savor it's final taste of deliciousness. Out of politeness— whether ingrained or out of respect for another weyr and/or the junior at his side— he waits until his mouth is cleared out with a swallow before speaking again, "Fair enough," he says with a nod of his head, brushing said crumbs from his person and the table as not to compromise his clothing nor the paperwork with any residual greasiness. Although, M'ti might look at her a little strangely as she says the cavern's current over occupancy helped her think, "Really? I'd have a hard time concentrating on paperwork in here, but then again I guess you've lucked out in the noise department if that's what helps you…" M'ti wasn't yelling or anything, but as the who knows how many conversations rise and fall around them it sometimes felt like he had to raise his voice just so the goldrider at his side could hear him. "Me?" he asks, ashen lashes fluttered a moment before he lifts his shoulders and drops them again, "Nothing as thrilling as all this…" he teases her back with a sweep of his hand over the papery contents of table and chair, "I've got a few more turns before I can advance to Journeyman, so it's just a whole lot of training and things like that. Wing drills…looking after Cherith." Riveting stuff, really. "What about you, anything going on other than mountains and mountains of list matching?"

"To each their own," agrees Alexa, grinning at M'ti. She, clearly, has no problem with the crowd. "It helps if you don't actually try to follow any of the conversations," she explains. "I don't listen to the words, just the sounds. It all just becomes… noise." And noise outside, helps drown out the voice inside. Or something like that. Polishing of her cookie, she flicks the crumbs away from her paperwork and hmm's thoughtfully. "But you're getting back into your craft, yeah? That's something, at least," she points out. "And no. Not really. I mean… Raaneth had her first flight. The weyrlings in the barracks are her babies," she points out, more than a little pleased (and somewhat still in awe) of this fact. "But there's not much for me to do about that. Except, well… take notes and stuff."

In agreement, M'ti nods but he chuckles all the same, giving the goldrider beside him a gentle and friendly nudge, "Hey, if it does it for you, who am I to say otherwise?" Brows lift upwards as Alexa explains further, and all too soon the greenrider was scanning the many people seated and standing, many of which were engaged in conversation, but after a few moments cringes a bit, "It must take practice…" he admits with a wry grin, quickly turning his full and undivided attention on his table mate rather than make another attempt to do what she seems to be able to so very easily. In actuality, with something to distract him from the buzz of voices, it turns out to be beneficial in the exact way that she had described, but so engrossed is he that he fails to notice he'd succeeded, "Yes, finally…" he replies exasperatedly in a rush of air from his lungs via a sigh, "I feel like now that everything is settled, I can really set aside everything I had been feeling for such a long time and really get back to enjoying what I do." This aside, Matty's eyes round out and he whistles low, but given the noise around him it might just look like he puckered his lips for seemingly no reason at all, "Oh really? What's that like?" Cherith might be female but she'd never have offspring of her own. Thankfully. Cough. "She happy about it?" Tilting his head to the side, M'ti considers that for a moment, "Notes? Notes on what?"

"What do you mean? 'Set aside everything you have been feeling'?" Either Alexa doesn't know, or she's confused about the context. With her cookie gone, she gets to work fussing with the papers on the table, though this time it's simply to put them into neat and orderly stacks, clearly finished with her reconciliation for the moment. The surface of the table is slowly revealed, and eventually there will even be space enough for — *gasp* — drinks and things. "Oh, you know," she says with a shrug. "Notes on the clutch. Who the sire was, how many eggs were laid, what hatched from them, their names and the names of their Weyrlings, that sort of thing."

Again, the greenrider shrugs, but this time there is a rather neutral look about him, "I got myself kinda wrapped up in feeling less than. I got searched and then left standing…the people I thought were my friends moving on and leaving me behind…it was hard…" M'ti says, words trailing off a bit before he sucks in a breath and flashes a radiant smile upon Alexa, "Hate to admit it but, I'd had my heart set on becoming a rider with them, and it was hard to go back to woodcrafting when it didn't happen. I struggled with it and I'd gotten a little bitter in the process…" Now, well, it'd all worked out hadn't it? A look is cast towards the serving table by the kitchen as the goldrider shuffled around her paperwork, chewing thoughtfully on his lower lip as he contemplated applying food and drink to the very open spaces that she was freeing up, and the struggle was real. When Alexa speaks up again, M'ti was all ears, "Huh," he ponders, "And that's something that the rider of the dam has to do?"

Alexa just squints at him for a moment, expression unreadable. Nose wrinkled, she offers a shrug of her shoulders and a shake of her head, a murmured, "Yeah, that sucks," the only thing she has to say about it. She might know a thing or two about being abandoned, but now doesn't seem the time to speak about it. So she won't. Instead, she finishes sorting her stacks until there are only three of them, the table (and chairs) all but clear of clutter. "Not necessarily," she sighs, settling once more into her seat now that her task is done. "But it's something that I have to do. I'd be making the same notes whether it was Zuhth or Zeraeth's clutch. It's just a task that falls on the record keepers, which… is part of my job." Eyeing the greenrider beside her, she smirks briefly before waving her hand toward the tables. "Go eat, if you're hungry. All I've got are cookies."

Well, perhaps saying he was 'a little bitter' was putting it mildly, but the greenrider at least has the decency to rub at the back of his neck and look somewhat sheepish about that. After all, Alexa had seen him at his worst and for some strange reason had decided he was the stuff that friends was made of. Joining in the shrugging but adding a nod, "It did…" It'd sucked pretty hard, actually. "All good now though…" is said with a smile, even with a sociopath for a lifemate. Heh. With that, he watches Alexa clean up her many piles to three and actually looks impressed with that, before he looks back to her and she sighs. For a moment concern filters into his features, "I'm getting the feeling that maybe not the most…stimulating part?" On the outside looking in, "At least it's fast? Unless there's some sort of process I'm not aware of…" To him, it was simply writing it down and that was the end of it, right? Officially eyed, M'ti laughs and waves a hand, "I'm not sure I'm brave enough to wade through the masses again," he grins, "Remember that day at Fort? It was like taking my life into my own hands for a redfruit and baked goods…I don't know if it's entirely worth it." At mention of cookies though, "Enough cookies to share?"

"That's good." And she means it, too. Even if Alexa isn't gonna hold her breath on her own happy ever after. That ship has long sailed as far as she's concerned, and the stubborn grit of her teeth and somewhat sarcastic smirk says she's just fine with it. "Hm?" A frown, this time in confusion, and those green eyes flick to her recently organized stacks. "Oh. No, actually, I like it," she assures. "This was my favorite part of being a Harper, actually. I wanted to go into record keeping — wanted to be a librarian. Give me paperwork and numbered charts any day!" As for whether there's a mystery process to the whole shebang, she won't say. "Suite yourself, but really… it's not so bad." The crowd, this time. "And you can probably wiggle your little butt right on through without issue. But yeah, plenty of cookies." Said plate is nudged his direction, a small assortment of delicious treats available for the taking.

M'ti nods a few times, sitting back in his chair and bringing one leg up so that his boot was resting on the seat as well, smiling. Wrapping is arms around his folded leg, he rests his cheek against his knee, his grin wavering upon seeing that frown. He was just about to comment on it, or perhaps clarify, but the goldrider beats him to the punch. "Ahhh, okay. Sorry for the misunderstanding…" he chuckles, "Yeah, I have to say, you really seem to be in your element from what I've seen. If I had been you, I'd have been holed up in the office and pulling my hair out. I'm not very….organized…" Toothily he shrugs again, but this time with just the one shoulder. "There's some paperwork involved in woodcrafting, but really, not a whole lot until you're a Journeyman." Then it was all commission reports and invoices, and from the looks of it maybe M'ti wasn't looking forward to that aspect much. Another glance given towards the serving table and then the plate of cookies, "How about…I go get us both something a bit more substantial?" he asks, already having plucked up another cookie, "You know, I don't think I've ever seen you eat an actual meal…what do you like?"

"Actually, if you were in my position," adds Alexa, hesitating briefly, "barring the whole 'you would be a woman' thing, not much would change for you. Igen is different," she explains. "Neyuni doesn't require her goldriders to do administrative tasks unless they want too. I could have gone back to my Craft, or flown with another wing, but I /wanted/ to do this. It's what I was training for. Sort of," she allows. It's the question of food that has her thoughtful, head tipped to the side while her eyes roam toward the serving tables. "I eat," she argues, though it's far from serious; a grin teasing at her lips. "Um. I like the curry. And fish, when we have it." Which isn't that often, given they live in the desert. "And these spicy meat balls that they make, though they tend to go fast. Really, anything you grab, I'll probably eat."

Hmming, Matty's brows lift, if only to grin wide and chuckle at that particular aside, "Yeah, that'd be weird for sure…" After all, he'd been male since birth and was only just recently gotten used to people not referring to him as 'boy' in conversation. Although, as Alexa goes on, surprise filters into his features, "Search and Rescue goldrider…" he murmurs thoughtfully to himself, entertaining the idea for a while as he turned it over and over inside his head. Fortunately, the greenrider tunes back in rather quickly rather than getting too distracted picturing a gold dragon doing anything but brooding and sitting on eggs, "That's really cool though, seems like things have really worked out for you in the long run. I got to admit, I like that idea a lot. It seems less confining that way. Does Neyuni allow blues, browns and greens into the administration wing?" Some weyrs did, some didn't, right? Then, it was all about that food! It's playful the way that M'ti eyes Alexa as she claims to eat, quickly followed by a teasing 'hmmhmmm' but nonetheless listens closely as she lists off some favorites. He can't exactly see exactly what they have up there, but he does peer back towards the serving tables, nodding every now and then before dropping his foot to the floor and sliding back his chair, "Okay then! I will be right back." A single step, "Uh, what do you want to drink?" He wasn't about to assume that she'd want klah, especially not with an inferno blazing just outside.

(To be continued…)

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