Living Caverns
The rough-hewn majesty of this cavern far outpaces any delight in the multitudes of curves that form its enclosure. The glabrous grey granite is shot through with translucent obsidian, lending subtly-veined sparkle to the walls and the foot-trodden smoothness of the floor that shows centuries-old placements of the scarred trestle tables; carven hollows give homes for the glow baskets and the coat-pegs that line the walls. No mosaics, no painting, no tiles: just a few well-done tapestries mark the pathway that lead to the kitchen to the north and the inner caverns to the west, and frame the nighthearth's stew and snacks, while a heavier strip of oiled canvas shields the unwary from the wind in the bowl.
Scattered about in various perches and niches are fifty-two firelizards.
You see OOC NOTICE (look sign), White Clay Egg Pot, Ini, and Mara here.
Elehu and Pia are here.

Reiko
Jet black hair falls shiny and straight just to her chin, a fringe of shorter hair in front just brushing delicate brows. Her skin is creamy-pale, with just a faint blush on high cheekbones and full lips. Wide-set emerald eyes are tipped up slightly at the outside corners and framed with thick black lashes, giving her a vaguely feline appearance. Neither overly tall nor overly short, Reiko stands straight-shouldered with quiet confidence and moves with an easy, quiet grace.
Supple leather clings to Reiko's slim form, so dark it seems true black until just the right light hits it, when it gives off a rich, plum glow. The jacket is a bit roomy but still tailored, more casual than truly elegant, given the collar up-turned in back in a flirtatiously naive way. Smudge-dark bronze fastenings allow for quite a bit of modification in how it is worn, even allowing a bit of cleavage to show when the jacket is not tightly closed for flight. The lapels are dyed a pleasant, contrasting cream, the color echoing in trim along the cuff and edges, as well as along reinforced seams. Emphasizing her slim hips and thighs, the trousers have just enough give to be comfortable, are snug enough to attract admiration. The cut widens a bit further down, parting in a slit below the knee along the outside of the calf to accommodate softly-buffed black boots.
Two cords, royal blue and black, intertwine in a single loop on her shoulder, the badge clearly identifying Reiko as an Inferno wingrider. A brilliant turquoise ribbon weaving around and about the cords proudly signifies her lifemate, blue Cerdith.
Reiko is 21 Turns, 7 months, and 19 days old.

Pia's lips twitch wryly. "The only apprentices up here with me help me with the trading, records, and buying, so they aren't creating much of a stink -- at least not with wines." Reaching out her pale hand, she slips her fingers around the stem of her own glass to absently twirl the straw-colored liquid. "And since they are staying in the dorms with the rest of the residents, there's no possible way for them to make anything on their own without offending the noses of everyone in there -- and I'm sure I'd hear about it."

Pia
Her form is slender self-importance, a svelte self of pride and bronzed skin. Cast upon her oval, sun-blushed face is a set of insidiously charming features -- rather appealing at least 'til she opens her mouth. Her pale green eyes, wide set against the urbane arch of her nose, suggest a depth of character denied by the soft pouty curve of her lips. Dramatically shortened gold kissed russet hair caps her head with bouncy curls, feathering her face from cheekbones to delicate jawline.
Delicate pale creamy sisal slides into a swishy sundress, thin straps arching over angular shoulders and lifting the bodice in a fairly fetching manner. Skirt flows to knee-length, hem edged with hand-made lace interwoven with a pink ribbon. A thin sweater of some soft wool is tossed casually around her shoulders, the arms looped neatly in a loose arrangement. Recently shortened russet curls are swept off of her face with a creamy woven ribbon, though a few stray tendrils escape to twine around her ears. Blue slithers up and down her arms, rarely still, never calm. Bronze glowers from her shoulder, tail tip twitching endlessly. Perched on Pia's shoulder is Lunr.
A delicate gold metal firelizard earcuff clings to Pia's ear. A rich wine ribbon runs gleefully along the silver chain at her throat, from which dangles two sparkling charms: a vintner wineskin and a miniature markpiece.
She is awake and looks alert.
Pia is 21 Turns, 6 months, and 22 days old.

Elehu
Elehu has grown into womanhood with quite a bit of success. She has curves in most of the right places, though her body is still a bit on the thin side and heartily built, a stubbornness of physicality to match the resolute bedrock of her character. Her skin glows faintly of golden bronze, the visage of a wanderer. Her rich brown, shoulder-length hair contains streaks of reddish gold, bleached by the sun, that seem to make her hazel-brown eyes shine with an inner fire. Her hands are small, but her fingers are slender and nimble, well built for her walk of life.
A thick skirt, the dark blue of dusk, with two deep pockets on either side falls loosely from Elehu's hips. Peeking out from underneath, just above her dark brown wherhide boots are a pair of leather trousers that look to be lined on the inside with fur. She wears an off-white blouse with wide, loose sleeves covering her arms. Over that there is a sturdy black vest made of oiled leather that falls just above her waist, a dark brown belt matching her boots encircles her waist, and a slender sheathed dagger, about six inches in length, hangs at her right hip, with a small wherhide pouch at her left.
She is awake and looks alert.
Elehu is 21 Turns, 8 months, and 9 days old.

"Ah, I suppose the Weyr here isn't an ideal location as far as brewing goes," Elehu offers vaguely. She just drinks the wine, really. She laughs again at the second comment and nods. "As would I, I think. The infirmary is right around the corner. Luckily we have the ground weyrs to do most of our work like that, so there aren't too many people to complain." She takes another sip from her glass and sighs contentedly. "So... you do bookkeeping? Anything much beyond that?"

Glancing sideways from beneath her pale lashes, Pia nods mildly at the entering rider before returning her attention to Elehu. "Mostly. I make sure that we've got enough wine to keep the cooks and riders happy, and of enough varieties and vintages to keep things interesting. I trade what we have a lot of for what we need more of -- I'm basically a glorified trader with a vintner knot."

Reiko slips in from the bowl, shivering, bits of snow melting to shimmering droplets in her windblown hair. The hearth is of course is her first destination, and quite possibly her last as she backs up against it with a longsuffering sigh and fills a large mug with klah. At length she ventures a look about the caverns, emerald gaze sweeping Pia and then Elehu with a casually appraising once-over before she offers a twisted smile in greeting. "Morning." A short pause later she scowls, but doesn't bother to correct herself. "I see you two have the good sense to be indoors today." Perhaps she's thinking rather wistfully of a time when she'd had a choice herself.

Elehu nods slowly as Pia continues, finally following the vintner's gaze and spotting Reiko. She gives the blue rider a smile and waves quickly, but remaining silent as the gold-haired woman explains. "Well... if that makes you happy, I say go for it." Not that Pia asked for opinions. The healer then turns again towards Reiko from her own cozy hearth-warmed chair and grins. "Indeed. Tried going outdoors today and about lost my way. How are you and Cerdith doing, Reiko?"

"Me and winter don't mix," Pia notes, sentiment correct even if lacking some what in gramatical polish. "I try to avoid going outside if at all possible -- I should move to Ista where they have sensible winters." Read: no winters at all.

Reiko's smile warms a degree or two as Elehu asks after her lifemate. "We're wonderful, if you don't count cold," she replies easily, turning to arch an eyebrow at Pia. "Truly a woman after my own heart," she purrs. "If only weyrs weren't so inconveniently located!" And if Thread didn't require her presence outside the Weyr walls on a regular basis... if, if, if. She shrugs though, an indolent gesture. "But nothing's ever perfect, is it?" The twisted smirk returns, slightly more wry, and she turns her attention back to her steaming klah.

Shunryu blinks in from ::between::!

Pia toys lazily with her wine glass, letting the liquid slosh perilously close to the edge before re-righting it. "Well, dragons don't fit in our hallways too well, so I suppose you do have to live out there in the cold." Note the lack of sympathy in the Vintner's voice.

Elehu laughs softly at Pia and shrugs a bit as she sets down her glass again. "I must admit, Ista can be nice. I've always preferred it up here, but each to their own. I like the seasons here." Reiko's reply gets a small grin as she idly swirls her wine, one arm hugging 'round her little bundle of mending. To keep herself warmer of course. "But we have to make do. There are more ways to stay warm than migrating to Southern Boll or Ista."

Pia tucks one ankle primly behind the other and lifts her pointed chin. "Seems some people around here are more creative at devising ways to stay warm than other people could imagine."

Reiko eyes Pia narrowly for a moment, then chalks the less-than-sympathetic response up to envy when she finally places the woman as a former fellow Candidate. Not that she'd paid much attention at the time--hardly unusual. Elehu's remark earns the Healer a closer look from beneath a finely arched eyebrow, emerald eyes agleam with something very much like a tease. "I tend to prefer the simple ways, myself," she says mildly. Although creative is good, too.

"I like... wine," Elehu decides, well... decisively as she toasts the two with her glass and finishes off the contents. "Sure, you aren't really warmer. But you don't care as much either. Which can be nice at times." She pauses then and sets the empty glass to the side. "Well, most ways aren't terribly complicated, I'd think," she finally adds, grinning up at Reiko. "I mean, sitting here in front of a blazing fire is pretty sharding simple." Silly grin. Who mentioned cavern fever?

Pia eyes Elehu sidelong for a moment before casually tossing back the rest of the contents of her own wine glass. "On that note, I have work to do." Blessedly indoor work. "You two have a charming evening..." A half smile, lips quirked to one side, is proffered before the young woman saunters off towards her quarters.

Pia opts for broad stairs that lead up to the Crafting rooms above the inner caverns.

Reiko watches Pia leave, perhaps with a little more interest than is strictly speaking necessary, but hey, it's no crime to look. At length her gaze returns to Elehu, and the twisted smile with it. "Wine's a very nice way to forget being cold," she agrees, taking a step away now from the blazing heat of the fire and dropping into the chair recently vacated by the Vintner. "And yes... this /is/ pretty simple." She snuggles back into the chair, cradling her nearly empty mug on her lap and letting her eyes close.

Elehu gives the departing vintner a quick wave, then smiles over at Reiko as the blue rider settles in. "Nice, too. Warm fire, comfy chairs, food and drink all but at your fingertips... When I'm an old maid, this is where I'll be." She grins again and eyes some of the mentioned drink but refrains from refilling her glass just yet. "It's nice to just sit and chat, too," she adds a little more quietly, gaze resting on the other woman for a long moment before she shrugs a little finally catches the attention of a passing drudge. "Want anything, Reiko?"

Reiko hums, her voice a low purr as a lazy smile curls the corners of her lips. "Wine." Now that she's thinking about it. She probably should eat something too, but it's a bit early for the evening meal yet. She thinks. In any case, there's no overpowering aroma of dinner-like foodstuffs. She opens one eye and fixes a sparkling gaze on the Healer--not /quite/ in time to notice the lingering look. "Old Auntie Elehu," she drawls, her tone teasing. "Mending by the fire, kiddies at your knee." This seems to amuse her mightily, even evoking a small, uncharacteristic giggle.

Elehu laughs as well and shrugs a bit. "It could happen," she replies, eyes twinkling a bit as she turns to the drudge and requests a wineskin. "As long as I don't end up with one of those strange smith contraptions on my nose. Those things look heavy." Her mouth twists dryly as she begins folding the current mending. "Seems I'm halfway there already. So what have you and Cerdith been up to lately, Reiko? Haven't had a chance to talk in... well, quite a while now."

Reiko rolls her head to one side to eye first Elehu, then her basket, then Elehu again. "Painting," she declares definitively, nodding once for emphasis. "It's supposed to make the weyr feel warmer. So far, I have my doubts." She scowls lightly, then shrugs and drains her nearly empty mug.

Elehu arches a brow and grins at Reiko for a moment. "Painting? Really... now that's new." And it's the healer's turn to look amused. "I suppose if it helps though. I always preferred a nice tapestry or something like that. Nice and easy to put up. Easier to take down. Even helps keep the room warm." She then takes a skin of wine from the returning drudge and gestures with it towards Reiko. "You said you wanted a glass, right?"

Reiko shrugs. "I had that big empty wall... oh, yes, thanks." She holds out a hand rather absently to take a glass whenever it's offered. "Once Cerdith decided he liked the idea, there was really no talking him out of it." And she'd definitely tried. "Like everything else he gets into his mind." Her smile may be wry, but she can't keep the fondness from her tone.

Elehu deftly takes a second glass and fills it before carefully holding it out towards the rider. "So make him paint it," she offers, winking to show she's just teasing. The wineskin is set off to the side as Ele settles back into her chair with the brand new glass of wine. "Well, it's nice that he knows what he wants though, right?"

Reiko takes the glass, snorting lightly in amusement. "He can't manage a brush, or I think he would. He makes a nice ladder, though." Not to mention art critic. She samples the wine cautiously, smiling to find it a rather nice vintage. At least she's particular about /some/ beverages. "I suppose," she admits. "It sort of makes me think about what I want... if that makes sense." This is a lot for someone who never gave a thought to anything.

"Oh, I think it does," Elehu replies quietly, head tilting to the side a bit as she studies the rider for a long moment. "I mean... I'm certainly no expert on dragons, much less their link to their riders. But I think it would make sense." She finally stops her babbling and takes a long sip of wine, smiling again, almost in a mischievous manner. "So. What /do/ you want, Reiko?"

Reiko twirls her glass idly between finger and thumb, rolling one shoulder in a lazy shrug. "In terms of when to stand up to him, I mean," she clarifies, still vague. Finally her eyes return to the Healer, and a sort of resigned halfsmile tugs at one corner of her lips. "Most of the other things seem to come and go." Or just go, in some cases. She's quiet for a long moment, contemplating the flavor of her wine, and then she ventures a quiet, "It's been a very long time, hasn't it." Not a question. Just an observation.

Elehu's smile turns a shade more serious as she nods once and glances up at Reiko. "Yes... a while now," she answers quietly. "But if you're happy, I'm happy," she adds quickly, grinning before sipping at her wine again and carefully setting the glass aside. "I mean, you've got Cerdith now and your rider duties and... well, I don't know. All that. A bit more going on than there was in the life of a 'lowly' little infirmary assistant." She laughs softly and gives a tiny shrug, falling silent once more.

Reiko doesn't answer right away, an odd look flickering across her eyes for a moment before disappearing as if it were never there. "Yes. All that." She shifts a little in her chair and drains her wineglass, still toying with it absently. "I'm not sure 'happy' is a permanent state of being, actually," she says at last. "One of those things that comes and goes." She sets the glass aside at last, kicking a booted heel out in front of her and slumping deeper in the padded chair. "Cerdith stays, at least." A little smile returns at that thought. "It's kind of a nice feeling to have something constant."

Elehu's smile disappears altogether this time as she sits up a little and glances at Reiko, a worried frown appearing for a moment. She begins to open her mouth as if to speak, but promptly shuts it again and glances towards the hearth for a long moment, one hand fidgeting slightly with the cuff of her shirt. "Then... if the good times outweigh the bad?" she offers not quite as confidently as she looks back to Reiko. "And there's no reason he wouldn't stay, you two were made for each other," she quickly adds, tone much brighter as she smiles again.

Reiko shrugs. "Does it really matter?" She tucks a chunk of hair behind one ear and pulls her feet under herself to stand. "I know he wouldn't leave. It's the only thing I've ever been sure of, really." She casts a glance at the hidecovered door, reaching beyond it to her lifemate in the Bowl, and sighs. "Mind if we crash in the ground weyrs tonight? Cerdith says it's not fit to fly." No use battling back to a chilly empty weyr, after all.

Elehu slowly gets to her feet as well and gives Reiko a soft smile as she nods once. "Yes, of course you can, Reiko," she answers quietly, also glancing towards the unseen bowl. "I should have thought of that sooner. No one should be out in that storm, probably. Lifemates included." She pauses a moment, glancing back towards Reiko. "The ground weyrs aren't terribly warm, but the ones near the back wouldn't have such bad drafts which I'm sure even Cerdith would appreciate in weather like this," she comments, grinning a little.

Reiko shrugs a little, an almost wistful halfsmile appearing and then disappearing. "Maybe I should take the rest of the wine," she jokes halfheartedly, shaking her head quickly. "I'll just have to find a few extra furs." She pushes her hair back with one hand, her fringe of bangs immediately fanning back down to conceal half her face as usual. "Thanks, Ele." The look she gives the Healer then is grateful, warm... and maybe a little hesitant--her usual casual bravado conspicuous in its absence. Then her eyes drop out of focus for a moment as she forwards the information to her lifemate.

Elehu laughs softly and shrugs. "If you want the wine, I mean it's pretty good stuff and all that." She bites her lower lips ones and smiles a little, glancing out towards the bowl again. "Well, maybe I could see to those furs and walk you there. If you want, of course. I haven't seen Cerdith in ages either."

Reiko brightens a bit, although her tone remains somewhat subdued. "I'd like that, thanks. I'm sure Cerdith would like to see you." Her smile is hardly twisted at all, actually. "I'll have him meet us there."

"Thank Faranth," Elehu replies quickly, actually laughing as she bends to pick up her glass and the all but forgotten basket of mending. "I was almost afraid you'd make me go out in that weather again. I'm such a pampered thing," she teases with a wide grin for Reiko before turning towards the inner caverns.

Ground Weyrs
Once a mere overhang in the bowl wall, this arched stone enclave was deepened in aeons past by who-knows-what to provide shelter for injured dragons and their mates. Craggy walls loom high to dwarf rider and dragon alike, sloping back from the weather-open entrance to a low opening into the infirmary itself. Stacked under rock-shaded cover are low supply chests of sturdy timber, flanked with long tables. Other openings are shaded by wherhide curtains, leading to smaller, private caverns for the dragonhealers' patients.
It is a winter evening. The wind is blowing mightily as the clouds continue to drop their load of moisture on the land below. It is impossible to see a wagonlength ahead into the storm, which seems to be settling in for the night.
Settled on rough-hewn ledge are Bansi, Bow-Wow, Kyoei, Simbi, Vuil, Pix, Stellar, Selig, Talyn, and Angel.
Blue Cerdith is here.
Elehu is here.

Reiko heads immediately for her lifemate, still glistening with wet snow but apparently unfazed by the cold, and embraces his muzzle fondly, sharing a private exchange before turning back to smile at Elehu. "It's a little dark to see properly," she says, giving a glance at the glowbaskets she didn't bother to open in her haste. "He says good evening." From the sudden look Reiko shoots her lifemate, though, he apparently added something else she's not sharing.

Cerdith senses Elehu looking at him.

Elehu follows Reiko more slowly towards the blue dragon, giving him an almost shy little wave. "Good evening to you as well, Cerdith," she replies, giving him a warm smile. "Now, if you weren't a dragon I'd say you'd been out in the cold too long. But that's a gorgeous color on you," she adds... not so shyly. She smiles broadly and turns back to Reiko then, hefting the pile of furs. "So... what should I do with these, Reiko?" she asks in a voice almost bright, but far from brisk.

Reiko relaxes at the compliments to her lifemate, and even in the dim light the fond pride in her eyes is likely visible. Cerdith gives the Healer a warm whuffle, the facets of his eyes whirling in a dozen shades of blue, a brighter version of his hide. Reiko smiles a little at the question, though. "I suppose a cot is the best place for them. Did you say the inner weyr was warmer?" She looks over her shoulder then; weather hadn't been much of a consideration during her last stay here.

Elehu gives a soft laugh at the whuffle and grins up at Cerdith before she nods quickly and gestures back in that direction. "Yes, those are pretty much out of the way of anything, snow, wind or otherwise," she replies to Reiko before hugging the furs close again. "Of course, they're all rather empty now other than a few of the old ones. We've been lucky lately in Threadfall, or so I've heard." That collective Weyr 'we' of course.

Inner Ground Weyr
Widest at the wherhide-hung entrance, the neat cavern slopes back to barely man-height. There's room enough in here for an ailing bronze, a pair of cots tucked against the inner wall for any accompanying riders. Glows are tucked along niches in the wall, shaded to provide a semblance of peace and privacy.

Elehu enters.

Reiko ducks through the curtain, Cerdith right behind her. She gives a quick look around, then smiles. "It is much warmer here," she admits. "And this weather does a lot to discourage Thread, you know." She makes a face. "Probably the only good thing about it." Cerdith saunters ahead, helpfully selecting a large empty cot near a spacious couch--likely temporary quarters to an injured brown- or bronzerider, but presently unoccupied. "All right," she says aloud to the unheard comment. "That one's fine." She reaches to relieve Elehu of some of the furs, belatedly realizing that the Healer's been hauling a rather cumbersome burden for quite some time now. "I'm sorry, Ele," she says quickly. "You didn't have to do all this. You've got a lovely warm room waiting for you."

Elehu nods quickly at the Thread comment as she smiles at Reiko, pausing just a step or two behind the rider. "Yes, that's sort of what I was referring to," she replies, amused. "Rain and snow may not be ideal weather conditions, but they're ideal when Thread is due," she adds, handing over a few of the furs as she gives a tiny smirk. "Warm? You must be remembering some other room then. And I really don't mind, Reiko. It's just... it's nice to be able to talk again. I often wonder how you're doing." The healer gives Reiko a soft smile and shrugs, heading over to the cot to set down the rest of the furs.

Well, it had been warm when Reiko was there, but perhaps that was the company. "I'm fine," she says mildly, carefully arranging the furs and pillows before she seats herself on the edge of the cot, patting a spot next to her for Ele to sit down if she chooses. "I'm down in the caverns quite often, you know, even in this weather. And by the infirmary at least once a month." Of course, she helps herself to her monthly dose these days. She gives a wry little smile and shrugs. "I looked for you after the last time we talked, but you'd gone. Nobody seemed to know for how long." She studiously turns her focus to tugging off her boots.

Elehu slowly takes the offered seat, turning halfway to face Reiko as a tiny hint of blush creeps into her cheeks before it's gone again. "Ah, I've been busy lately. And halfway 'round Pern," she adds with a tiny laugh before continuing more slowly, voice even softer. "And... I don't know. I felt I needed to get away at the time. Maybe remove myself from things so I could see them more clearly?" Or maybe it's the wine talking. "But this is home, for many reasons now. I couldn't leave you guys permanently, I don't think. If the healers told me to transfer again I just might give up the knot," she adds, grinning at Reiko.

Reiko can't help herself--her hand moves almost of its own volition to brush a bit of that lovely goldstreaked hair back from Elehu's face, her fingers lingering in the soft waves. "I'm glad," she says quietly. "I'd miss you terribly if you left and never came back." A tentative halfsmile curves her lips, emerald gaze seeking the Healer's.

Elehu does blush this time, just enough to be noticeable, but she doesn't turn away. Instead, the healer takes that hand and sighs softly, a gentle smile on her lips. "And I missed you. Whatever happens, Reiko, you mean the world to me. And in whatever form that ends up being." She then scoots in a little closer, smile widening as she wraps an arm around Reiko's waist and give her a quick squeeze, smile turning into a grin as she winks at the rider. "And if it's as a healer, shard it, I'll be a healer."

Reiko smiles warmly, relaxing into Elehu's embrace. "You're a bit more than a healer to me," she teases, an extreme understatement as usual. "Stay? We'll both be warmer." It's a risk, and Reiko knows it, especially since so much time has gone by--but Cerdith is near enough.

Elehu gives Reiko a rather crooked smile, but it gradually melts into one more genuine as her head tilts a little. "Yes, we would," she answers softly, her hand tightening on Reiko's shoulder for a moment. She laughs for a moment and leans in place a gentle kiss on the rider's cheek.