Lord Holder's Office (#3956J)
With no windows, the room would be gloomy but for the colorful tapestries that brighten the walls, and the enormous map of Ista that hangs above an equally large desk. There's a round table at one end, and a circle of royal blue armchairs at the other, while two cabinets flank the desk in eternal servitude. One, tall and thin, houses drawers full of carefully ordered hides, while the other, short and squat, has shelves of wine and an array of glass goblets, hung upside-down. The thick carpet is cobalt with curling white scrolls, the wood lacquered walnut, and a little door in the corner leads to the Lord Holder's bedroom.
Sterling is here.
Quorra raps a staccato beat on the office door, but enters without waiting for a response, a set of hides clutched in her hand. "I've got those reports on the new tavern you wanted done," she says, evenly.
"And?" Sterling questions, not lifting his eyes from the message in his hand that seems excessively long winded by the endless the length of the hide. He's perched behind his desk, back arrow straight while he hovers over the blotter.
"And we've not exceeded your budget for the opening. We may even break even, for all profits we've gathered in the days since. I take it," Quorra says, a touch dryly, "the Smiths are rather frequenting the place." She approaches the desk and offers the hides out.
Sterling motions for it to be set on the desk, and with a deft action, flips the hide he is reading closed against Quorra's sight, before sliding it off to the side. "Well good. Any word on the Barlord Weyrleader?" he questions in a dry tone, shaking his head. "Ever since Q'luin asked me to house those mongrels it's been one drama after another!" which in all reality, it's actually been quiet for the trader clan members and exmembers.
Quorra shakes her head. "The Healers have no update for you, when I last checked." She sets the hides down at the indicated spot on his desk, walking back the way she came as if to leave. Then she pauses, as if she only just thought of it, fingers on the doorknob, "oh, I've had a note from my Aunt Johara. Do you think you could spare me for a few months?"
Stunned, Sterling jerks his gaze from the stack of hides to his daughter. "Months? No I can't! Of course I can't! You just got here," which is an extreme exaggeration. "Whatever it is, your family at Igen will just have to wait until you are properly trained for any 'vacations'." That's a dismissal. Pulling the tavern hides over, he begins leafing through.
"It's not a vacation," Quorra protests, turning back in surprise. "She's sick. She's asking for me. She's /family/." This last is said with no little desperation, easily dismissable as concern for a relative. "They think she might not make it. Her and my mother.. were close," she says, a comment deliberately designed to remind Sterling of her mother's recent death.
Sighing, the point is gotten and Sterling knocks the stack away from him, though not hard enough to make them escape the confines of his desk. "Two months; no more." His tone is firm. The cold blue eyes level on her as he waits.
Quorra spends a heartbeat too long considering that, though she tries to cover it up by agreeing, smoothly, "that should be plenty of time. I'll be leaving within the sevenday. If there's anything you need me to do before then..?"
"Just finish that list I gave you and that should be it for now," Sterling says evenly once he realizes she isn't going to argue further. Then a bit softer he continues, "You might want to go see your brother and tell him." Settling back in his chair, he considers her absence and frowns at the thought.
"Yes, I'll go to the Weyr just before I leave, ask someone to take me on from there," Quorra agrees, grateful that she didn't have to come up with an excuse to do this one on her own. "Have you any messages for him?"
"When do you leave?" Sterling questions, reaching for the glass of wine that perches at the corner of his desk. A little pile of golden hide lies curled on a pillow on the other corner, fast sleep in a queenly fashion.
"Within the sevenday," Quorra repeats, her hand tugging absently at her tunic though she stills it with alacrity the second she realizes what she's doing, instead pushing her hair out of her face, a move which emphasizes the dark circles under her tired eyes.
Examining her close, Sterling begins to purse his lips with annoyance. "You look like wherry crap. I must be working you too hard," he says, which feeds into his worry that a female cannot do the job a male can. "Maybe this will be a needed break after all." Waving her off, the Lord pulls his records back in front of him and mutters, "I'll have a note for Q'luin... nevermind, I'll tell him myself. I'm going there late today." The cool pale eyes begin greedily scanning the hides.
"I'm fine," Quorra insists, stubbornly. "I've just got a headcold," though she doesn't sound the least bit stuffy. But the dismissal, no matter how high-handed, is welcome, and she takes the opportunity to leave before the Lord thinks of something else he wants her to do, or a reason she can't go.