Caffeinated Lies JP R'tal/Kassia


Healer instructions be sharded, Kassia wasn’t going to sit around in her weyr for the remaining months of her pregnancy. She was doing her best to pass off some of her work, which meant she’d made Andronda give out the klah news, but there were plenty of other things she could find to do. Thankfully for her she never had liked the stuff, but that didn’t mean she didn’t keep a secret stash if needed.

It was hardly surprising that R’tal stomped up to find her straight after the announcement. The guards at this point had reached the point of waving him in.

“You didn’t feel like letting me know before it was a public announcement?” he demanded, not pausing for a ‘hello’.

Brogan lifted his head slightly at his stomping before laying it back down.

Kassia got up from her desk with difficulty and then made her way toward the chairs and sofa around the klah table off to the side. “Talk to Andronda about that. Besides, if you’re nice to me, I have a present for you. Go look in the side room in the chest in the corner.” She pointed to the file room attached to her office. Inside he’d find klah to his heart’s content.

“Is it work?” R’tal said, already sounding grumpy even as he did as he was bid. “Because if you’re handing me a juicy file of--” he opened the chest “--oh. Huh.”

“Don’t say I don’t take care of you,” Kassia called to him. “Or that I don’t plan ahead. Now tell me you love me.”

He laughed, and was looking significantly more cheerful when he came back out. “I thought you had two weyrmates for that. Or is it two and a half now?”

“I can never have enough people loving me,” she said. It was only half joke, but she waved it off. “Sit. Since you’re here, you may as well tell me all the good and bad news you have. How are things going with Ma’yen? And the investigation?”

“Ugh. I’d say the best news is no news but in terms of the investigation it’s really not, is it?” R’tal grimaced. “We’re putting M’ayen on clean up for Fall. It was that or sweeps and I didn’t want to test if Foreth’s command was strong enough to last further out and suddenly discover now he’s at, I don’t know, Ista or something.”

“I’d say we should pass out his name and face just in case, but I don’t want to seem like we can’t police our own.” Kassia grimaced at that. “I wish there was a better option here. I really do. We still need to mete out the rest of his punishment. Garatt’s father was asking to be present.”

“Well. I can see why,” R’tal granted. “What did you say?”

“That I would get back to him, but that we could probably work it out.” She gestured to the table in the corner. “Can you get me some juice?”

He poured it, and set water to boil while he was there. “So, I take it I have to be careful not to have klah fumes drifting out of my office?”

“Unless you want a riot,” Kassia agreed. “And preferably not out of mine either, though I think they’re less likely to tear a pregnant woman apart.”

“Everyone knows you don’t drink klah. They’ll never look here,” R’tal predicted. “Besides the smell of fish will hide it.”

“You’re determined to make me eat the stuff, aren’t you?” Kassia asked. “See if I send you any chocolate for the new turn.”

He laughed at her and set the juice in front of her. “Speaking of that -- I got word from F’loran -- no, don’t go all prickly on me...” he warned, anticipating it.

Kassia reached for the juice and stopped midmotion to glare. “Yes?”

“They’re having a Gather in a few sevendays. Big one. Apparently it’s a big winter one they do generally and it’s looking to be even bigger than normal this turn,” R’tal said. “I know you can’t travel, obviously, but he’s extended a general Weyr invitation.”

“Feck it, and I’m stuck here in the heat.” Kassia shook her head. “I suppose people will want to go. That’d mean we’d have to loosen our lockdown here. Are we ready for that? Or do we just quietly say ‘no’ and let it go? No one would ever know.”

“It’s been a sharding awful turn,” R’tal said reflectively. “One thing after another. I’m surprised we’re not hearing more about the klah shortage, not because it’s big but because it’s one more thing. Giving people something to look forward to.. It might help.”

Kassia made a dismissive wave of her hand. “Enjoy. Just remember that I like knives and boots when you’re up there.”

R’tal laughed at that. “I’m sure we can find you some Turns’ End gifts,” he promised. “In payment for the klah.” He paused. “But-- get Foreth to make extra specially sure that Ardeth isn’t released with the rest.”

“He’s going nowhere,” Kassia said darkly. “I still wish we could leave him to rot in a cell and never have him come out. Ardeth made a very poor choice in riders.” Of course there was a whole previous Weyr where she could say that as well. On the other hand, there had been days when people had said the same thing about her and Foreth. Not that she wanted to lump herself in with people who abused other people.

“Good. You want to make the announcement, or shall one of us do it?” R’tal asked.

“I can do it,” she said. “I might as well get to see their happy responses before the healers try to tell me I can’t do anything bit sit in a chair and look pretty.”

“You always look pretty, Kass.” There was a tease in his voice at that, but he stood up to go and take the precious klah with him. “Enjoy giving them good news for once.”

“Okay, you silver tongue, you,” she said, smiling again. “I’ll give it to them and look pretty doing it. Enjoy your klah, but don’t come my way if someone spots you with it.”