What: They meet in the library for the first time and talk about women's lib.
Where: Fort Weyr, library
When: Day 20, month 1, turn 443
Doubling as records room and study, this inner cavern houses copies of all the records at Fort Weyr, cataloged and archived painstakingly over the turns. The catalog is kept in the series of bound volumes in a cupboard often locked, and none of the records here are allowed to leave the room unless checked out with the archivist on duty. Regardless of the time of day, there is *always* an archivist on duty here. From floor to ceiling, the walls are lined with shelves and the shelves are lined with bound volumes of hide, arranged in an archaic and confusing system that keeps archivists employed and most everyone else mystified. The fireplace here has a metal stove around it that allows for better regulation of temperature, keeping the room cool but not cold for the benefit of the hides.
There are five tables in the room with four chairs for each, amply lit by glowbaskets. At intervals between the tables are three single-person desks. The archivists share a large desk near the front of the room, facing in, where they can see everyone coming and going.
Aolani.........20, fair build, 5'7", dark curly hair, grey eyes.
Adria..........19, 5'8", lanky, dark hair, hazel eyes.
Just after breakfast, the library tends to be at it's busiest - people either lingering to avoid a trudge across the chill bowl, or actually working. Adria's amongst those who seem to be there with a purpose, with a spot staked out near the metal fireplace. Her dark head bent over a scroll, she takes notes neatly and carefully.
Enter Aolani on furtive feet with a look compromised between sensing she shouldn't be here and insatiable curiosity. The young woman arcs towards the occupied archivist desk and phrases her plight with a pliant voice. "Would you happen to have Threadfall texts available to the public? The time period does not matter."
A few people glance up at the 'T' word - some snort dismissively, a few arch a brow but go back to work. Adria is curious enough to regard the young woman for a time, head tilted slightly. The archivist isn't too inclined to be helpful - he waves towards some stacks in the greenrider's area - but when he does, Adria nods towards the appropriate shelves for Aolani's benefit.
Aolani keeps a respectable air despite being interested in a very contentious topic. "Thank you," slipping a nod of courtesy, the Miner passes a few other library patrons and ends her quest by Adria. "Thanks." She repeats for the similarly-aged girl plus a calm smile. She touches every spine of the records just as she looks at them, trying to feel the history they yield.
The other patrons go back to whatever it is they're doing - Adria, for her part, continues to watch Aolani, sharp amber eyes lingering briefly on the knot before returning the other girl's smile. "Not at all. Though I'll warn you - reports are not terribly exciting, and charts are difficult to make head or tail of at first. What was it you were curious about?" She goes back to her writing as she speaks, apparently pretty good at multi-tasking.
It is late morning in the winter. Soft, light snowflakes swirl aimlessly on light breezes. The temperature is about 26F, -3C.
Aolani selects a codex from the middle years of the Third Pass with an index finger and gently eases it out of its socket in the shelf with tender administrations. A second, longer, glance to Adria and Aolani exposes her motive. "Well it's not so much the Thread itself I'm interested in, it's the state of Pern during its pass. Do you think it'd be in something like this?" Having never touched a Weyr manuscript before, Lani trusts the other female might be more knowledgeable.
"Mmm... I am unsure. Sweeps reports and such will give an incomplete picture of such - there's comments on specific holds and areas, but mostly in terms of damages or changes in landmarks. I would think that the Weyr administration reports would give you a good grounding in the operations of the Weyr at that time." Adria wrinkles her nose girlishly, looking up to add, "That's the difficulty with autonomy: No centralized record keeping. There's some information at the Hall on the continent as a whole per turn, but it's usually difficult to get access to - especially if you're not a Harper." A pause, then; "I've forgotten my manners. I'm Adria - Chiyath's rider."
Aolani forms in her lips in a dainty 'o' of surprise. "Oh a dragonrider," you'll get those in a Weyr, "how do you do, I'm Aolani, a Miner apprentice. I got here from Crom not long ago," deciding that perhaps she bloated the introduction up, eyebrows narrow in self rebuke, or perhaps concentration at the hidework title beneath her hand. "No, I'm not a Harper..." She admits, a bit of wistfulness on her breath at being denied access. "I don't even know one. But maybe I'll give the Weyr administration reports a try." Hefting the Threadfall record and putting it back into the vacancy on the row, "um, you don't happen to know where that would be, would you?" An accent of Crom creeps into the puckish question.
Adria quirks a bit of a smile at the reaction - she appears rather used to that sort of thing. "Well met, Aolani. I am sure Fort will appreciate having a Miner about - though I admit, I've seen as many female miners as I have riders." She offers a wry grin then gestures to a set of shelves just behind her. "I was a Harper, so I know more than a few. If it becomes necessary, I could potentially ask for the information. Is this simply curiosity?"
Although a wing of curly dark hair flops over her left eye, Aolani doesn't seem to be hampered in her search. "We're a testiment to changing times I hope. Truthfully," manipulating the first admin. report she comes across out of its resting spot, "I wanted to see if women in general were given more freedoms during times when there was Thread," her voice is restrained in volume for those inclined to take her inquiry as blasphemy. "You don't have to do that for me." Raising the whisper to a hoarser form of communication. "It is really only a curiosity."
Thoughtfully, "Well. Let's see how far you get here... I think it's a project I would have some little interest in." Go figure. Offering another of those wry little smiles, Adria adds archly, "However, even if you were to find proof, I doubt that everyone would accept such. It appears that there's an awful lot riding on the place of women in our society." Her own tone is low, but more out of respect for the hush of the room than any worry about being overheard.
Aolani flips pages softly until the first sight of writing occurs and then more diligence is employed. "You're right, it's hard to change convenience when it isn't yet a burden. Who would think, though," looking up at Adria, "that Thread might actually do some good." Legs cross under the table in preparation for a potentially long sitting session to come.
It is noon in the winter. Snow falls silently and softly with no wind to disturb it. The temperature is about 27F, -3C.
"It's an interesting time to be alive, at the very least. I think my mother once said there used to be a saying - a curse like that. About living in interesting times." Adria's dark head bends over her notes briefly for a last quick jot - then she begins rolling up her scroll. "Thread... I don't know if I would say that it will do 'good', but I am hoping some good will come out of it, if it returns. I have some vain hope that a greater threat may reduce all these other things to petty differences." By her dry tone, it's not much of a hope.
Using a table stylus, Aolani blackens a small portion of her hand with a page number she may later find of use. "That's the little bit of optimism I keep feeding myself at night, too. Men can find out that help, from any source, is providence. But maybe I'm just saying that because we're 'bitter.'" Using one of society's common falsehoods wrung dry of a little humor.
Adria wrinkles her nose again at the 'bitter' comment, murmuring, "There's a lot to be bitter about." There's a pause where she finishes with her scroll, then rising to take it back to its spot amongst the others in the 'threadfall' area. With notes in hand, she adds, "But the Weyrleaders are aware of the need for riders, thankfully. That's something. In any case, I beg your pardon - Chiyath's in need of a bath, she says. It was good to meet you, Aolani."
Aolani filters out another passage of interest while she tunes into the greenrider's talk of Weyrs. "Progress is progress, right? I'll cheer improvements when I can." At Adria's leave, "the pleasure is mine, ally." Beaming at the use of the term. "If anything I find is good for the cause, I'll let you in on it."
Adria flashes a grin at that, nodding. "Thank you - and good luck."