Fort Weyr - Living Caverns
This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.
Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.

Today, the banquet tables are groaning under the weight of the lunchtime feast set forth upon them. Sandwiches and spreads, soups to nuts, snacks and salads, bread and meat and veggies raw and cooked alike — it's not that any of the food is particularly heavy, on its own, it's just that there's so much of it. A new trestle table has been set up with an assortment of alcoholic drinks, from beers and wines to just a few fancier cocktail punches, apparently made special just for the hatching — mimosa, pear martini, something called a 'lemony sweet spiked tea,' bellini, sparkling cider, alcoholic klah and a few less identifiable fruity brunch cocktails that Gemstone goers could identify as being invented by the goldrider in question. And somehow or other (the bribing of a techcrafter may have been involved), Inri has managed to get tiny decorative lights to hang in strings from the vast dome of the ceiling, where they have — so far — failed to ruin anyone's hairdo.

The eggs have been safely clutched and that means one thing — time to celebrate! Given the recent events, most folks are looking forwards to it (and others mutter that they hope nothing explodes at this gathering). Not much has changed in the caverns, aside from the constant flux of people and the tables groaning under piles of food that seemingly never end. Alcohol is flowing just as freely too with a wide variety being offered and it's in this endless supply that M'icha has been graciously helping himself. Not that the Weyrlingmaster is a stranger to drinking. Everyone knows he keeps a flask on himself "for his bad leg". Mhm. "Wonder how they got those blasted things up there…" the bluerider can be heard muttering seemingly to himself but likely to anyone within ear shot. His head is tilted up to where those decorative lights are strung, leaning heavily on his good side and his expression twisted into a bemused sort of smirk.

C'rus had been there this morning when the eggs were laid, and what a strange bunch of eggs they were. Poor Kou having to deal with that. Still now that the painful ordeal is over it is time to celebrate and in search of celebration he comes! C'rus makes his way into the living cavern glances here and there noting all the changes. It hasn't looked this fancy in here in a good long while. He offers a salute to the weyrlingmaster and begins to peruse the snacks and food selectation that they are putting out. Always something good for sure!

Kera was in the middle of her duty shift when the eggs began arriving, but a few candlemarks later and she managed to catch a quick peek at them from the gallery before finding her way to the caverns. Her lizards are sticking close, well Polgara is since she's using Kera's shoulder as a perch. Minimur quickly flitters off to play with Fortian lizards when the Xanadian greenrider steps inside. Shuffling forward, she quickly becomes distracted with the decorations as her gaze drifts upwards. She ends up sidling along the edge some before stopping where she won't be trampled and admiring the tiny little lights. Kera overhears the man's question, even though she isn't looking his way, she chuckles, still watching the lights "Maybe they had lizard help." She hasn't taken much notice of anyone already mingling yet, still checking out the decor.

Lucy missed the main event; obviously all hands have been on deck in the kitchen today. She wanders out from the back looking weary and bedraggled, dark hair lank and outfit liberally dusted with flour. She's brought her own snacks; the young woman is clutching a plate with three petit-fours in various states of squashiness. Stopping at the drinks table seems to cheer her, and she takes her time there selecting just the right cocktail that goes with second-rate pastry.

"Eh," M'icha snorts as he looks down at Kera with that same bemused sort of smirk. "Doubt it. Most of 'em aren't trained well enough. Some poor sap probably got up on some ladders…" He waves a hand dismissively or maybe that's his salute to C'rus. He's given a once over for the fancy wear and he shakes his head. The Weyrlingmaster is just in his usual clothing which looks a little worn but not entirely threadbare. He likes to be comfortable! "Welcome to Fort." he hastily tosses in a "formal" greeting to Kera before looking down at his empty glass. For shame! That won't do. "S'cuse me…" Refill time and he'll cross paths with Lucy, "Escaped have ya? … those look interesting." He means the squashy pastry but it's difficult to tell if he's being sarcastic or serious with the woman.

C'rus spends a few more moments skimming past the tables and eyeing all the lovely food before he makes it full circle and ends up back at Kera's side, "Food looks good." he says to her softly before he greets Lucy with a wave of his hand, "Hello Lucy. Good to see you again. Should be a fun evening. These sorts of things always are." At least for the kitchen staff that doesn't have to work. For those that do he imagines its less fun. He glances back to Kera and begins to point people out to her, "Kera this is Lucy. She works here at Fort and that…" he says as he tips his head toward M'icha, "Is our weyrlingmaster. No doubt he's getting all excited for the next batch of weyrlings that will soon be running amok in the barracks."

Kera glances around, smiling and already dipping her head politely as her eyes graze the man's shoulders briefly. "You're probably right on target with your poor saps theory…Nice to meetcha. I'm Kera." Greetings done, she chuckles and sends a wave to M'icha when he heads in search of a refill. Meadering towards the food, she murmurs greetings to new and old faces. Grabbing a plate, she starts sampling this or that and adding to her plate accordingly. Occassionally offering up tasties to the lizard chittering on her shoulder. "No, you had one already." Holding her plate out of range, she grins over to C'rus when he appears from the growing crowd "Hi you. I slipped in and got a quick peek of the clutch. Didn't see ya there so figured you would be around here somewhere." Sampling a drizzled pastry her fingers wiggle to Lucy, "Hi, Nice to meet ya Lucy." Canting her head to C'rus, she nods about the Weyrlingmaster. "We spoke briefly about the light mystery."

Lucy lets out a sigh that sort of ends on a snort. "Escaped is the right word." She reaches for a drink, fingers pausing at a glass of mimosa, then moving to snag something with a more interesting color. Her gaze falls on her plate when M'icha mentions it and her lips quirk a little. "These are the ones I messed up. Head Cook most kindly let me snitch them for my break. They're hideous." She sketches a wave to C'rus, and Kera, trying to keep track of the introductions. "Nice to meet you," is offered to everyone she hasn't met before, and then C'rus gets a slightly jaundiced look. Perhaps her evening has been less than fun thus far.

There's greetings going on? M'icha dips his head again to C'rus but for the 'excitement' bit he just scoffs and scowls, "More like a foreboding sense of dread. Y'seen some of the weyrlings we've got? Shards, I trained your lot." He didn't mean that as an insult to C'rus personally, just that some from C'rus group are a little… cracked. The Weyrlingmaster has always been rough around the edges. For all his griping about his position and the woes of training he actually does enjoy it. In his own weird, twisted way. "Hideous in what way?" M'icha's attention switches back to Lucy without pause and now the old bluerider is grinning. "If you ask me, you kitchen and baker types go too far with perfection. Food's just going to be eaten."

C'rus blinks once, then twice, at M'icha's response. Yep. Thats vintage M'icha right there! Thats the guy that put everyone through their paces again and again, "Yes you did. And what a fantastic job it was." he says sincerely, "We all survived and now have…mostly normal lives." So success right? C'rus couldn't disagree that his group was special in their own way. Certainly a unique challenge for anyone to have to train. He looks back to his weyrmate and shrugs glancing up to Pol for a moment, "She seems to be moving on from her eggs." he says with a chuckle, "Back to her old food focused self." As for Lucy she gets an encouraging smile, "I'm sure the night will pick up." he says, her looks says the rest of the day was…just one of those days.

Kera looks from one to another as she follows the conversation, nibbling from her plate and handing up morsels to her now less irritable lizard. Refraining from smirking at how C'rus's clutchmates turned out, she shrugs. "You guys didn't turn out so bad." Dropping a couple of the little sandwiches on her plate, she steps on along to get a mug of something. "I'm just glad she stopped hissing and screeching at everyone."

Lucy explains for M'icha, pointing at each offending pastry on her plate in turn with a flour-dusted finger, "Fondant's cracked. This one's uneven. Someone," obviously not her, "used the wrong colored icing." This one she pops into her mouth and chases with a slug of mixed drink, wincing in appreciation at all that sugar. Then, "No. Food should be experienced." She tips a mischievous grin at the weyrlingmaster, which fades a little at C'rus' words (but she knows he's trying!). "I'm back on in four hours. But if I frontload the drinking, I should be sober again by then."

M'icha's brows lift in a near-to incredulous look for C'rus but rather than scoff, the man laughs. "I see you've not changed a bit, C'rus. Fantastic job…" Now that he chortles about! "Oh, they're alright." he adds in for Kera's benefit before he eyes the pastries now being oh-so helpfully pointed out by Lucy. Uh huh, uh huh… well then, she won't mind if he just tries to snatch that cracked fondant one right? Or will Lucy have the nerve to slap a Weyrlingmaster's thieving hand away (and yes, he deserves it)? "If it should be experienced, then why the fuss over the look of it? S'all about the taste, ain't it?" Sobriety? Again, M'icha laughs gruffly. "Oh, now THAT I'd like to see. A drunk kitchen worker… almost tempting to see the results." Yeah, like a burned down kitchen to go with the smithy, maybe? Of course he could have meant food.

C'rus is just the sort of person that is willing to take that as a compliment. Because who really likes change? "Thank you." he says with a wide smile on his face, "I do try." At least a little bit anyway. Poor C'rus he just can't seem to get it right with Lucy and at this point seems unlikely to get it right, "Overindulgence of alcohol would be unlikely to make the rest of your day better than the first part." Says the guy who doesn't drink. He'll leave M'icha to argue for the other side of the coin, "That was unfortunate. And loud. I hope we don't have to go through that every time." he says to Kera, "Because she really had a temper."

Kera pauses her steps and watches which platters Lucy is snacking from and makes a point to add some of those tasties to her growing pile of food. She and Polgara sample from her hoard while consdiering the differant things to drink. A couple of amused looks to the others as they discuss the merits of spirits, or the potential cons in one case. After a moment, she reaches for one of the fruity concoctions that probably has alot of alcohol in it, even if it may not taste like it. A nudge to C'rus as she makes a show of studying her drink and sniffing the fruity goodness and comes to Lucy's defense "Perhaps, but she won't be able to enjoy herself later, unlike now when she seems to have a few free candlemarks." Finally she takes a sip of her drink, then another before casting her gaze around "Where shall we sit?"

Admist the rambling, the rapacious reaching of ravenous firelizards, and the running of random rovers (or so it sems to him), enters the man of youthful age, into the cavern Beyrl heads. Like the cascading of waterfall, the news of hatching flooded into the common areas and reached ears of curiosity at the speed of excitement. Piercing eyes scan a crowd, of two and four legged creatures, and finds such as would cause him pause, to alter his path and join. And so he weaves, like a needle through knotted threads, toward the one known as C'rus. Though a pause he takes, as he patiently waits, for the other's attention was already got, and focus went toward the other, the-one-who-laughs, the-one-who-scoffs, another to meet and greet. To Lucy however, since her focus is free (or enough for an offer of respectful salutation), he turns and with a smooth dip of the head, gives a smile kindhearted. "Good evening, lady of lovely attire." (though they may be but plainclothes), "Might perchance the night find you in good spirits, with the wonder of clutching so soon to be passed?"

Lucy is a slapper born and bred and slap she does, M'icha's hand of course and lightly but, "Ah-ah. Go get one of the nice ones off the table. These are /mine/." Girl's gotta eat. "Wouldn't you rather eat something that tasted wonderful and looked pretty than tasted wonderful but looked like dung?" Narrowing her eyes speculatively, she teases lightly, "Hmm. Perhaps not." She lets C'rus off the hook with a faint nod of what might be agreement though she's not letting go of that drink in her hand, but Kera gets a full-on dimpled smile for her defense. Beryl, who she recognizes, nets himself an incredulous look for his greeting, particularly since her attire is far from lovely. Maybe H'aze scrambled his brains the other day. "I'm exhausted, sweaty and covered in flour. Though I do have spirits." She lifts her cocktail glass in a little mock-toast to the young man.

M'icha has his hand slapped away but he only grins and doesn't try to steal from Lucy's personal plate again. "Alright, alright! Fair enough," he backs off then but doesn't go far. Not when the conversation is so amusing! "Looks mean nothing to me." Another smirked-grin and again with the uncertainty whether or not he's serious or yanking Lucy's chain. Folding his arms across his chest, the Weyrlingmaster is silent for a spell until Beryl's greeting to Lucy is overheard and his eyes flick to C'rus and Kera before blinking back to the Harper. Uh…? Another snort, "You always speak with such flattery, boy?" he asks before shaking his head and letting his arms drop back to his side as he shifts his weight uncomfortably off his bad leg. "So… Lucy, is it?" Yeah, okay. So he's terrible with names unless they're his Weyrlings! "Y'like being in the kitchens?"

C'rus was just about ready to dive into a speech about the evils of the drink, when he is bumped by Kera and glances of to see that she too is apparently partaking. His mouth hangs open for a second or two before he shuts it again. Foiled! Lucy has been saved by Kera in the end it seems. Neither is C'rus dumb enough to give the speech he had intended for poor Lucy to his weyrmate. He just shakes his head slightly and glances over to Beyrl and Lucy. Once again he is rendered speechless, though this time its because he's trying to decipher just exactly what Beyrl said, "Hello Beyrl." he says, settling in his mind for the simple reply. He glances back to Kera and looks about the room, pointing to a set of tables not all that far off, "We could sit there if you'd like." C'rus nods to M'icha in a pre-emptive manner but says nothing. Yes. Beyrl always talks like that. At least every time he's met him he has.

Kera is looking about for a seat when C'rus points out a group of riders rising together not far off and nods "Looks good to me." A couple of steps are taken before Beyrl appears and slows her feet. However it's his flowery words to Lucy that sticks them to the floor. Brows lift as her eyes flicker around the group and finally come to rest on Beyrl and the young lady he greets. But then, whether it's M'icha's words or tone of voice, Kera bust out in a fit of giggles And no C'rus, it's not from the two sips of her drink. "The answer to that I think is, yes. He does seem to have a way with wordplay. Won't need Hall knots to prove he's a Harper." An amused wink to the Weyrlingmaster before she gives Beyrl a way "Nice to see you again Harper Beyrl." Waving to the young man, she looks to Lucy as her feet start motion again "These are really good." She's pointing to one of the tasties on her plate. Then she's following along to the table, where several more seats are still open.

Beyrl , to Lucy, gives a gentle shake of the head, so slightly as to be barely noticed. "She who works with hands and heart has beauty rugged, a rainbow tossed against the face of even dredded stormclouds." A glances over to M'icha is given, as is an arch of an eyebrow, giving his countenance a look unbalanced. "Flattery I give not, but truth in what I observe. If one names a flower beautiful, is the reality all the less?" he asks of the other seriously, but then offers a smile of a friendly nature. "Your acquaintance I am happy to have, and may fate allow a pleasing fellowship, though beyond one of favorable greeting it may or not grow." A smile familiar to C'rus is given, and his tone more uplifted. "Wonderful eventide and event of the most wonderous of clutching to you. Does life find you well and content?" No sooner does he ask, then another grabs yet again his attention. To Kera a smile crooked is given, uncertain if honesty she is seeking, or perhaps amused bemusement is being offered. The handwave gives him answer, and a soft gaze and head-dip polite is given. A motion which is broken by the waking of a four legged eating machine on his shoulder. A yawn from the brown, and Lucy's plate is spotted. Before Beyrl can react, a leap is taken, onto plate, steal one, steal two, and take off! Run little lizard, run! Zipping behind a random pair of legs to enjoy the tasty treats. In shock Beyrl stands, until understanding catches up with thought, and he breaks conversation to tackle matters of higher importance. "Thieving is not the way! I'll fetch that which is needed! Come back to me, King!" A chase (with a perfection that could only be accentuated by Yakity-Sax) is now underway!

Lucy subsides, satisfied, and pops the next dainty…naturally the one M'icha went for…into her mouth while still eyeing Beryl with suspicion. "Yeah, he always talks crazy," a blunter version of Kera's statement. And there's some more, inciting a 'get a load of /this/ guy expression on the young woman's face. "Thanks," she calls to Kera, then frowns deeply as Beyrl's firelizard attacks the plate. "Bloody…" As the caverns descend into the end of an episode of Benny Hill, she nods wearily to the weyrlingmaster. "Right, Lucy." There's a moment of quiet contemplation…or she's just watching the evening's entertainment…before she answers with surprisingly diplomacy (for who knows where the Head Cook's spies lurk), "I like baking things in the kitchens. When I'm allowed."

"Harpers." M'icha all but growls but it could be in not so an aggressive manner. The Weyrlingmaster is known to be abrasive and blunt but it's all bark, no bite. Unless you really piss him off. "Just saying 'Well met' would be plenty," he adds to Beryl but there's a hint of a smile there, even if in his tone and not necessary visible on his features. Lucy's comment earns a low chuckle and as for the firelizard antics, the bluerider just rolls his eyes. "Unreliable, those critters." Yet everyone seems to have one! "You that terrible at it?" M'icha dares to outrightly and bluntly prod the young kitchen worker before softening that remark not with words but the quiet movement of a hand that soon offers a white-knot. "If y'want it, then you'll have an excuse to be in there whether Cook likes it or not. Granted, you'll also be sort've shafted into other chores 'n things but… hey, experience right? You mentioned something of the sort?" Yeah. With food! Not Candidacy! M'icha's grin is back. "Aycheth's in agreement." Creepy blue listening in — don't ask. "What say you to Standing, Lucy?" No pressure. Nope.

No it wouldn't take just two sips to get Kera good and giggly. It would take at least four right? C'rus nods his head in clear agreement with Kera's comments about wordplay and such. Beyrl does seem to have the market fairly well cornered when it comes to use of expressive language, so much so in fact that he may well be on the verge of creating his own language. Beyrlese! "I'm doing well Beyrl thank you. Yes the day has been something else." he says as he begins to move off toward the table following after his weyrmate, though he stops in surprise as he glances between M'icha and Lucy. Oh my!

Kera smiles and tips her head to an older rider that grabs her attention for amoment, bending an ear to hear what the woman says and chuckling a reply. She doesn't catch the exchange between Weyrlingmaster and Lucy, cause she stumbles on some quick moving brown blur. But nothing of hers hits the floor, not even a fruity drop. "Minimur, you brat!" Leave it to her to assume it's her own brown trying to kill her for more food. The greeny darts around in a circle, crouching and peering under the tables looking for her wayward thief. A curious chitter from above and her lizard sepertes from the gathered lizards and circles down to prove, 'It Wasn't Me!' "Oh, sorry cutey. Here." She lowers her glass to the table quickly in order to toss up a morsel from her plate, which he catches and darts off to enjoy before other lizards hone in on his treat.

"I'm amazing at it," and humble to boot. Lucy's instinct is another light slap to repay M'icha for that prodding but she checks herself when he tips his hand, literally and figuratively. The Knot. She stands there, surrounded by the whirl of the party crowd, one hand reaching out slowly to hover over the offering. Two questions, "Isn't he supposed to, I don't know, lick me or something?" and then, much more serious, "Will I have to go back to my kitchen shift tonight? Because if so, definitely yes."

M'icha does laugh this time, "What? Shards no. I mean… if you want that experience then perhaps but I doubt I could get Aycheth to oblige. He prefers observation, generally through me. We're old enough hats at this." Trust is trust, right? "Just be thankful we didn't decide to drop you off in a southern jungle somewhere and see if you live like the last fellow…" Uh. Surely he's joking? That wolfish grin might say otherwise. The knot will be handed to Lucy whether or not she takes it. "Y'can do whatever you want for the rest of this night. Just be sure you're in the barracks come morning. Ask the Headwoman if you need help with anything but given the eggs are just clutched you've probably prime pickings of the cots." Use it wisely! "Now, if you'll excuse me? I've some mingling to do." Right. M'icha does dip his head respectfully though. "Good luck." That's as close to 'congrats' he'll get before he's moving stiffly to shuffle back into the crowd. He figures Lucy can set her affairs in order — or is this part of the test?

It seems that another search has begun, and it seems that the barracks have grown by one person already. My goodness, how fast they are snapping them up. He puts a bit of distance between himself and the pair moving closer to Kera, "It seems another cycle has begun. Loads of candidates will be filling the place again." He gives a wave to Lucy and Beyrl and grins to his weyrmate, "I think its probably about time for us to get going…" he says as he begins to head off, "Shift will come early tomorrow." The pair of them will likely move off into the background and probably sneak on home.

Lucy blooms into a downright grin as she pockets the knot, tosses back her current drink and selects another. She seems more than capable of seeing to her own affairs, if perhaps not surviving in the southern jungle. "Then I will just see myself out," she tells the weyrlingmaster's back, then slips into the crowd to actually throw down a bit before bedtime.

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