Dining Hall
Coming from the other rooms, the Dining Hall seems a little dimmer, Which it is. Positioned throughout the room are about a dozen tables suited for up to eight people each. It is far more than the Hall needs, but it is always nice to be safe than sorry. A table is set up off to the side. On it is a collection of cooled juices and fruits which are kept fresh from the nearby Orchards. With the constant state of furor created by recent events there few drudges not busy elsewhere, So please serve and clean up after yourself. A fire burns merrily along the west wall, and overstuffed, cushioned couches and chairs have been placed in front of it.

It's late for breakfast, but there's still a bit left. It is: Cinnamon-apple bread with sweet syrup or sweet butter toppings.

Cress moves slowly in from the Gar Hold Entry Hall.

Linora is sitting alone near the hearth, picking at a plateful of sweetbread, juice untouched on the table in front of her.

Cress glances at the chalkboard to see what the menu is for today.

Cress doesn't see Lin as he first comes in, walking toward the sideboard to get his klah, and some of the delicious bread. Mmm. Turning back from the sideboard, he looks up to see her and hesitates a moment. "Morning," he mumbles as he comes to join her.

Linora glances up from her breakfast, her eyes lighting up as Cress comes to join her. Not gone yet. "Hey," she says softly, a little smile coming to her face. "How ya doin'?" Let's just not bring up that subject of leaving. Makes it harder to appreciate being together right now. She pops a piece of sweetbread into her mouth.

Cress shrugs, taking a bite of the sweetbread, chewing it slowly and for a good time before answering. "I'm okay, I s'pose," he finally says, washing down the rest of the bread with a sip of klah.

Linora nods. Well, what was he going to say? Nervous fingers push a few strands of hair behind one ear. "Yeah... me too, I guess," she murmurs. She looks like she wants to say something, but doesn't, instead taking a long sip of her juice. Not until she sets it down and clears her throat a bit does she try speaking. "You.. um.. been in the gardens much lately?" Picking at her bread, not eating it.

Garden? Cress hardly ever went to the gardens, he liked the wild nature better. Shaking his head, he breaks off a piece of the bread offering it to 'Mute, who gulps it down without chewing. "What's in the gardens?" Besides flowers and such..

Linora shrugs. "Well... y'know Alex has been followin' me around and stuff," she says, shifting a little uncomfortably. She's still not sure why he's glommed onto her, but she can't seem to get him to stop. "Anyhow... he was tellin' me about a cave there... so I kinda went there this morning t'see if I could find it." And stuff. Pick. Pick.

Cress raises an eyebrow, having stopped chewing suddenly. "A cave? In the gardens..." he mumbles, mouth still half full. He'd been in a cave once with Alex, where the kid had found a keg of cider, but he couldn't remember if it had been in the garden.

Linora nods, now picking at the rim of her mug. "Yeah... it's kinda hard t'see the opening... but it's there." She chews her lip. "An' it's not empty." She looks up at him now, her eyes looking almost scared.

Cress tilts his head. "Not empty?" he echoes, his eyes questioning as he tries to remember exactly where that cave Alex had brough them to had been. "Y'know, I was in a cave once with Alex..."

Linora blinks. "Really? A kinda big one, with water inside?" How many caves could be around Gar, anyhow? Course if there were more than one, likely Alex would know about all of 'em.

Cress frowns, nodding slowly, "yeah, and some sort of crystals lighting the place up...." He remembered more of that day now. How Alex had waded into the water to find that Keg, and how they'd brought it to the hayloft and shared. How a dragonrider had come to drink with them...

Linora nods quickly. Sounds like the same place to her. She looks around the room quickly, then leans forward to whisper, "There's /people/ in there." Strangers. Sleeping there. /Living/ there.

Cress' eyes widen slightly, leaning across the table toward her. "People?" There hadn't been people when he'd been in there with Alex. "Wherefrom?" As if she'd know, but she had more information about the place than he did.

Linora shrugs. "I dunno... I didn't ask." Hadn't wanted to get close enough. "One of 'em was awake, but I don't think he saw me." Least, she hopes he hadn't. "I didn't see any knots or anything." She chews on her lip, fidgeting with the ends of her hair.

"Ohh," Cress says, wrapping his hands around his mug, suddenly reminded what it was like to sleep in caves, and underneath the open sky. "Think Lady Natch knows they're there?"

Linora blinks, surprised by his reaction. Maybe Cress didn't think it was strange, but that didn't mean she didn't. "I dunno," she says. Of course, she hadn't thought to tell the Holder...

And why would a crafter tell the Holder anyways.. Cress wouldn't have thought of it either, but knew how angry they could get if you camped on their grounds without asking first. "Any idea where they're from?"

Linora shakes her head, but her mind is already someplace else. "Maybe they don't have holds," she muses. Why else would somebody live in a cave? She slumps back in her chair, picking at her mug and wondering what it's like to sleep in a cave.

Cress nods slowly, "maybe," he mumbles, glancing down at the table in front of him. He'd never really considered himself /holdless/, just... A trader.

Linora tilts her head to look at Cress, looking at the table. What'd she say now? The cave thing? Well... he /had/ once said something to her about wagons, and caves... Remembering there's still juice in her mug, she takes a sip, looking for his eyes. "So... what's it like?" He'd told her once, she thinks... but she's a lot more interested in the answer just now.

"What's what like?" he says, before realizing she was asking about caves. How could he explain that to a holder, who'd spent her whole life inside thick stone walls? "Well... Depending on the time of turn, either cold or stuffy," he attempts, knowing that it wasn't explaining very much. "We slept with the animals, after all...."

Linora grins. "Really? Like in a barn?" That'd smell. "Sounds kinda... interesting." She's trying hard to picture it. At least a cave is nice thick stone. No Thread can get you there. She picks at her sweetbread some more, not eating, just picking. Thinking. "Every night?" Same thing? A cave with smelly animals?

Cress shakes his head, grinning. "'Course not. When the weather let us, we slept outside." Thinking the instant he said it that he shouldn't have. Probably she'd be more or less shocked by that notion. "We always had someone stand guard at night..." Added for her comfort in case she was wondering.

Linora blinks, forgetting for a long moment to close her mouth. "Outside? Just... outside?" And he doesn't look the least bit concerned about it. Of course, she's spent plenty of hours flat on her back looking up at the night sky, but... that's different from sleeping, isn't it?

"Yee-ahhh," Cress says slowly, nodding as he tilts his head, the smile gone from his face. He couldn't see what the problem was with it. Done it most his life, apart from his time here at the Hall. He knew about holders being scared of open places, but he couldn't /understand/ it. "Best sleep you'll ever get.."

Linora thinks about that. Thinks about it hard. And tries to think if Cress has ever lied to her. And looks into his eyes to see if he's lying now... no, he looks like he means it. "Really?" Her eyes get far away now, trying to imagine it. Would it really be that different from stargazing? All the nights she was out, all night, and no Thread came to eat her?

Cress nods slowly. "Would I lie to you?" He grins and gives her a wink. "Fresh air is great for sleep. The caverns, however...." he doesn't finish the sentence, thinking that she might have enough imagination to get an idea what it was like to sleep in a cavern filled with people and animals.

Linora smiles broadly. No, she really doesn't think he /would/ lie to her. "Maybe I'll get brave enough t'try it sometime," she says softly, looking for his eyes. The fresh air. Not a cave full of smelly animals. Although maybe if she were there with Cress she wouldn't mind so much. Just maybe.

Cress smiles back at her, happy that she'd be willing to try something from his world. "Maybe you should wait till summer," he says, tilting his head. Could get kinda cold, even down here, he understood. And back north it would be even colder now that the snow had fallen.

Linora remembers snow. Remembers being cold. But she hadn't had a choice, and hadn't been dressed for it, so that shouldn't count. Should it? But she nods, her gaze falling to the tabletop. A moment later she looks up again. "Or spring?" He wouldn't leave before spring, would he? How could he travel up north in bad weather?

"Spring is nice, I s'pose," he says grinning. "Still gets cold night at spring, doesn't it?" Cress, of course, is still speaking about Ista Island, not picking up any hints she might be dropping. "Wouldn't want you to get sick again..."

Hinting? More likely pondering. "I guess." Linora goes back to picking at her mug. "You'd prolly know better'n I would." Nights around Ista island generally aren't too cold for stargazing. Not ifya got a blanket.

Popping the last piece of his bread into his mouth, Cress chews slowly looking her in the eyes. "Well, you should try it at least once," he says, mouth still half full.

Linora tilts her head, regarding him thoughtfully. Is that an invitation? A little smile lights her eyes. "Okay." Why not? If she gets tossed out of the hall, that's one less decision to make, now, isn't it? Course, the way folks carry on here, she doubts anyone would even notice.

Well now. Cress wasn't to good at reading faces, or eyes or intentions for that matter, but he'd pretty much gotten that one. Dropping his jaw a little, he shakes his head, "Lin," he whispers. Not while you're an appy, he wanted to add, but couldn't get it outloud.

Linora straightens a little, caught off guard by his reaction. Wasn't that what he'd been asking her? She chews on her lip, confused eyes fixed on his face. Stupid rules. She pushes back her chair, getting quickly to her feet, dropping her gaze to her plate of half-touched food. One hand impatiently pushes her hair behind an ear, and she wraps both arms around herself. For a long moment she's silent, then she looks at him. "Maybe it doesn't mean as much as I thought it did." She probably shouldn't leave him to wonder /what/ doesn't mean as much, since he'll probably just misunderstand her /again/, but she's just out of words. And turns to go, leaving her dishes right there on the table.