First deaths at High Reaches Weyr

December 24th 1997
Logged by Catia

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Living Caverns, High Reaches Weyr
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.
Tucked into a glowlit niche are Whimsical, Dev, and Pollina.
Tavim and Kumiko are here.

Tavim blinks, looking up from his spot. Hello? Tavim blinks repeatedly, then suddenly breaks into a grin. "Kumiko! What're you doing here?" He /would/ get up, but that would mean leaving his warmth.

With furrowed brow and clouded eyes, Catia stumbles into the living cavern.

Kumiko grins, head tilting to the side. "Hey now… I told you I was going to be moving here." In one ear, and out the other. "I'm going to be cooking, remem - " She pauses, spying Catia. Hmm. Sick.

Myrineth> From above the caverns, Pavelth glides down for a landing.

Catia isn't sick. Just exhausted. Stopping dead in the centre of the cavern, she peers around, dark eyes scanning frantically for /someone/… "Has anyone seen the Weyrleaders?" She really needs the headwoman, but she's ill, too.

Ash with a sly smile, sashays in from the Central Bowl.

Kumiko shakes her head, package settled on her hip. "I can't say that I have…" comes the reply. She actually doesn't know who the Weyrleaders are, at this point, just getting here and all.

"Ash!" A friendly, supportive face… though what's she doing here again? A loud groan escapes Catia. She may as well announce this to the Weyr at large… she's too tired to worry about scaremongering. "Someone's died from fever… Thalma. The assistant headwoman." And the dragonhealer sways on her feet.

Millie comes out of the kitchens, the smell of fresh baking following just behind.

Kumiko pauses, settling down in a chair, any chair. Face is slightly ashen, as head shakes from side to side. "Someone's actually died from this?" Oy. So much for a new start.

Midmorning - Millie finally dares leave the kitchen help to their own devices, and emerge into the main cavern. She smells strongly of garlic, yet, but other than that? Just fine. "Hullo," she greets, and thankfully misses Kumiko's comment.

Catia slides into a chair, nodding to Kumiko, whoever she may be. "Yes… Thalma. The assistant headwoman." She's repeating herself… "And the headwoman's still ill, too…." Plus about a third of the rest of the weyr.

Ash comes in from the bowl… pulling her gloves off, in an attempt to warm her hands by the fire… "Morning…" at Cat's announcement, Ash just stops and looks up… "That's not incredibly good news, Cat…" she frowns…looking around the cavern, "I brought the supplies up that Pav couldn't get yesterday

Catia runs her hands through her hair, chewing her lip. "Thank you Ash…" With a blink, she nods to Millie. "Who's in charge of the caverns now, do you think?"

"What about Thalma?" asks Millie, brushing her hands off on her apron. "She doing any better today?" So she's out of the loop - Cooks shouldn't put much stake in idle gossip, you know. "Well, to be honest? Not sure… how long do these colds /take/ to get better?" A bit irritated, that. "I'm working understaffed, myself…"

Kumiko listens, quietly, fingering her old knot, looking back to Millie. "She's dead." A sigh, as she mentions, a mere afterthought, "I wanted to talk to you about staffing, actually…. at a later time." Now just doesn't seem right.

Ash just lets Cat repeat the news to the cook and hms… considering, "Stewards? Are the stewards ill as well?" she asks Cat… dragons, no dragons are creeling, that means no riders are dead…

"Thalma just died." Catia says flatly, then heaves herself up out of the chair. Klah will see her right…. "Stewards? Um…. I think so." /Everyone's/ ill.

The Head Cook pales - eyes widen. "She's /dead/?" squeeks Millie. "She didn't go /outside/ while she was ill, did she? Told her she'd catch her… ahem… anyway, if she went outside…." She trails off. "I'm missing almost half of the regular kitchen staff, and /three/ of my cooks. Three!"

All falls suddenly still throughout the Weyr. Then a cry is heard… the pained keen of a dragon who has lost his lifemate. A loud rustle of wings, and all the Weyr takes up the eerie refrain as the bereft blue slips between.

Catia trembles, slopping just-poured klah all over the floor. "Lyssia…" she murmurs under her breath. The first rider death. And the greenrider closes her eyes, aching with loss and the loud keening that echoes through her bones.

Ash just sits there silently… the mourning even effecting Pavelth and in turn her… she shudders as the earlier thought is dispelled away, so much for no riders, "Cat, what is going /on/ up here?" Ash asks, not really knowing what else to say as Pav's terrible keening fills her ears and her mind… and even her soul.

Millie crumples down into a chair - that makes it /real/, doesn't it. "By the first egg… no, we can't be losing /riders/…" She may be unable to feel the pain that those dragon-bonded feel, but the loss hits the longtime resident hard nonetheless. A small shiver - but other than looking extremely spooked, that's about it.

Another pause, as Kumiko looks to the entryway, brows rising to the keen, knowing exactly what it means. "Somehow, I don't think this is going to be the last, either." Head shakes, as if to clear itself, before she springs from her chair. Must move… not stay still…. pacing starts.

Catia sets her klah mug upright. She could do with something stronger than that, but no time, no time. "It seems… It seems… that these colds and fevers will kill." The dragonhealer swallows hard, looking at Ash, horror at loss of life bright in dark eyes.

Ash's brow furrows in concern.. "Cat, a simple cold doesn't kill people…how contagious is this?" Ash's voice is borderline frantic, and like the nanny that she was for 22 years she is trying to calm herself by finding /answers/… she just turns to the hearth and pours herself a mug of klah, trying to dispel not only the bitter cold, but the bitter keening that is just now starting to die down… "A third of the weyr sick?" that doesn't sound good if /everyone/ sick dies…

Millie just looks as if she's going to be ill, herself - but not with a cold, rather the stark reality of the situation. "But.. isn't there anything we can do?" Fear - yes. Even cooks can be afraid.

Catia crumples into a seat, with a now-full mug of klah. Clinging to it with both hands, she sips carefully before answering Ash. "I don't know. I don't know." A pause… "A third of the weyr are sick.. but most are getting better. Thalma and Lyssia both had very high fever.. enough to affect their brains and kill them. Most people are getting better already…": She /has/ to hope, and believe.

"And what about the rest of us?" Millie's got a lot of questions, today. "If it can… can get Thalma, and Lyssia, what about us?"

Catia rubs her back of her neck, trying to remember their exact symptoms. "I think.. I think that most only do have severe, infectious colds. Coughs, fever, headaches, sore throats, the usual. And we treat the symptoms because nothing else can be done for a cold. Thalma and Lyssia had further symptoms…" She shrugs. "We stay healthy, we do what we can." She has no other answer.

Kumiko nods, suddenly wondering that herself. "Stay healthy… do you need a hand?" She pauses, looking over to Catia. "I'm not a healer… far from it, but I can do basic tasks." Put the other job aside, as she stops pacing.

Catia manages a smile for Kumiko. "I need as many hands as I can get. My assistant is ill, too… and there are a lot of people to nurse. Anyone who is willing, is welcome."

A little frown - "Kumiko," Millie half-scolds, "You /aren't/ abandoning your regular duties… they can send for other Healers, but first priority won't be to send for cooks. And everybody still needs to eat, right? Of course right." She even almost smiles, there. "What is it they say… feed a fever, starve a cold? Eh, either way. We'll feed both of 'em, and hope for the best."

Ash frowns… "There's got to be…" oh never mind… "Do you need me to maybe ask a few of the weyrfolk if they'd mind coming up and helping out? When is the next threadfall?" Ash is just trying to rationalize by thinking of anything /but/ the deaths… and the keening just dies away… she spares a glance out to the bowl as her eyes cloud over slightly… and her frown deepens at the unheard comment by her lifemate

"Feed a cold, starve a fever," Catia corrects the cook. "Good food can help us all stay healthy."

Kumiko gives a slight smile to Millie, pushing her old knot in her pocket, tapping the new on her shoulder. "Well, of course not… but I can still make that fish stew I was telling you about, and those take time to simmer. At least, until assistants for Catia are found.. she's looking worse than a wherry thrust up for a hatching feast."

Catia chuckles softly at Kumiko's words. "That bad, eh?" She takes a long sip of klah. "But if Millie needs you more than I do, I do have other assistance, and people willing to nurse."

A dismissive wave of a hand: "If you can find somebody trustworthy and /healthy/ to watch it while you're gone, then good… but I need my assistants as much as she does." Millie then looks to Catia: "See? So food comes first." Always the cook, first and foremost.

Kumiko holds her hands up in surrender. "Okay, okay…" Suddenly, Ash's words hit. "A third of the weyr sick?" A pause, as she scratches the back of her head. "That doesn't sound good… not at all."

Diplomacy is important, and Catia nods to the head cook. "Yes, and you've been a great help to me, adding all those things to the food." A nod in Kumiko's direction. "A third." Doesn't look good for Threadfall, does it?

Millie glances down at her lap… twisting the fabric of her apron in her hands. "Poor Thalma," she murmurs, then offers a somewhat more subdued smile to Catia. "I do what I can."

"Thank you," Catia repeats, getting slowly to her feet. "I must get back to the infirmary."

Ash just sits quietly nursing her klah, "This cold spell isn't helping much either… too bad that those that aren't too sick couldn't convalesce somewhere warmer… Pav commented to me when we came out of between that it isn't much warmer here then it was between…" she actually chuckles at that having thought the same thing yesterday… "What do you need most, Cat? I will see if anyone down at the island is willing to come up and try to help out where they can…"

Aslyn arrives from deeper in the Weyr.

Catia shrugs in Ash's direction, already half way out of the door. "Someone will have to tell R'meld and Adel, our Weyrleaders.. I think we need a new headwoman." And eyes screw up in momentary misery.

Aslyn smiles as she enters and pours herself a cup of klah, clearing her throat a bit, she hopes the klah will sooth it.

Millie frowns a bit - "Isn't…" And her voice quiets, almost afraid to say it. "Isn't Parilisia getting any better?"

Catia shakes her head at Millie, pressing lips together in a thin line. "With time… perhaps." A sigh. "I hope so."

Aslyn raises an eyebrow " She's not feeling any better?" worry etches itself across her face.

Kumiko listens, finally perching in a chair, though looking to going back to the hole she's slowly wearing in the floor at no time.

Ash hmms… and nods, "I'll see what can be done, but yes, the weyrleaders are going to have to do the dirty work on requesting help officially I'm afraid…" she drains her klah mug, "I'm going to have to get back… And I will take news with me… I suppose… " her words just trail off as she loses herself in whatever thoughts she was having to begin with as she gets up from her seat… "It was nice meeting you all, I wish it had been under better circumstances…"

Catia crosses over to Ash and pats her shoulder. "Take care." She herself is a little revitalised by klah and sympathy. Time to get back to work.

Aslyn nods to the rider, worry still evident " And here I was feeling bad just because I have a sore throat and a bit of a cough" she shrugs, " That time of year though.."

Millie glances back towards the kitchens. "I should go get the midday meal started…" she says slowly, as if she doesn't want to go - that makes it all real, or something.

Living Caverns> Catia steps into the shadows that lead back into the Weyr.

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