Fort Weyr - Center Bowl
The wide center of the bowl is often bustling with activity as riders come and go. Off westward can be seen the entrances for the candidate barracks and the guest weyr, while to the east is a large opening that leads into the dragon infirmary. The bowl stretches off both to the north and to the south, where the sheer stone walls rise steeply to the sky.


It's a wonderful winter day! Maybe in some folks dreams it is! Reality is a cold, wet and drizzly day that promises more rain and damp and general overcast gloom. With the morning barely begun, the rain has tapered off for now, but the wind is chill and biting. Weyrfolk and riders alike hurry along on their duties and tasks, no one wanting to linger outside for long. One of these is M'icha and he's hastily limping around Aycheth's patiently waiting form as the Weyrlingmaster adjusts a few buckles and straps. They're on the one edge of the northern bowl, where the mud and ice is thinnest to avoid the bluerider losing his footing. "Shardin' miserable weather! Wish it just get ON with it and snow already!" he grumbles under his breath. "And m'leg is fine! Really… don't need no…" Mutter, mutter, grumble.

Jastre's duties today require him to go outside, even with the nasty weather. The platform on the lake is suffering from a leak, and someone needs to go patch it up with resin before it sinks to the bottom. The rain currently stopped, so he took the opportunity to do so as fast as he could, sheltering the pot from the cold before the pitch solidified. Once done with that, he rows the boat back to the shore and hurries towards the living caverns, pausing politely by M'icha as he nods a greeting. "I would say good day but… that would be a bit of a mockery right now."

Aycheth rumbles and extends one of his wings, which helps serve as a bit of shield against the wind as M'icha continues to toy with the straps. The dark, dark blue's eyes whirl at a serene pace but he's alert and it's he who informs the Weyrlingmaster of Jastre's approach well before the young man speaks up. "Mockery would be right! And just downright cruel!" M'icha growls and smirks, but his tone softens a bit as he turns to face Jastre, eyeing him for a long moment as if considering something. Then he snorts and in a gruff, but warm tone goes on to say: "So, that wanderlust of yours still alive and kickin'? What's had you unfortunate enough to be dragged out in this weather?"

Jastre wrinkles his nose, grimacing at the weather. "Ehh, I did say I was willing to do any odds and ends jobs to pay my way here, but I didn't know it would involve sitting out in the middle of a freezing lake. Just patched a hole in the floating platform, is all."

M'icha laughs gruffly and grimaces as well, "Learned your lesson then, did you? Well. Do I have a proposition for you then, lad!" he'll say while pointing a finger at Jastre and grinning. RUN, man, run! It's never good when the Weyrlingmaster grins! "What if I said I had a job for you and it was away from this," He sweeps his arm to indicate the bowl and Weyr as a whole but likely the miserable winter weather. "And somewhere FAR more warm? What say you to that?"

"At the moment I'd take anything so long as it's warmer than this, what do you need done?" Jastre asks, glancing around. Hopefully somewhere inside, those are his favorite jobs at the moment.

M'icha grins toothily, eyes flashing with a brightness that looks like amusement but is likely FAR more. He's pleased, that's for certain and he's opening a pouch on Aycheth's straps to haul out a worn but dry and warm looking flight jacket and a helmet. "Here!" he warns just before tossing them at the young man. "Check to see if those fit ya. Might be best if you switch jackets if yours is soaked. Ever ridden dragonback before?" he'll drawl. What and what now? "Oh, it'll be warmer." M'icha replies with a cryptic snicker. "And I just need help in gettin' something. Afraid my leg doesn't allow me to be as limber no more but I do need this gathered. Figured you'd be up for it, if not for an excuse to get out, eh?"

Jastre raises his eyebrows as the gear is brought out. "I've ridden on one on a direct flight before, though nowhere far enough to need one of these…." curiosity causes him to put them on, flexing his arms a bit. It fits decently, and he looks to him again. "Where are we going?" he asks, waiting for further instructions.

M'icha nods, looking satisfied with Jastre's answer and with the fit of the gear. "Well, that'll make this a bit easier now wouldn't it? And you'll see! We've best get hurrying before this damp and cold works any further into our clothes and bones. Come on then, I'll give ya a boost up." he says after peering up at the overcast sky as if it held some secret information. Then he's coming to stand by the straps, ready to thread his hands together and help hoist Jastre up until he manages to clamber into place. "Comfortable?" M'icha quips as he seats himself behind the handyman, buckling them both in as Aycheth begins to shift beneath them, wings flaring in a bone and join popping stretch.

Jastre accepts the boost up, settling in place. He wasn't lying when he said he had ridden on a dragon before, although to keep out of his way he lets the rider buckle him in. He's more or less eaten alive with curiosity now, and makes sure the jacket and helmet are on securely.

M'icha checks and tests a few more straps and then reaches around Jastre to give Aycheth a sound thump to the neck. "Hold on!" he exclaims and he isn't joking! The blue may be up there in Turns but he can move and with a bounding leap he is surging up into the cold wintery air. Wings sweep in powerful strokes and the Weyr drops away dizzyingly below them. "Count to three!" M'icha's voice calls over the rushing wind, which could only mean one thing: Between. Aycheth takes them through smoothly. One moment they're in cold, damp Fort Weyr and three heartbeats later they're… in a tropical, humid and HOT paradise. Below are endless jungles, stretching out to the horizon, broken here and there by clearings and it is to one of these that Aycheth is swooping down towards.

Jastre clings to the straps as they go between, his eyes wide in startlement. He heard about it, sure, everyone knows what it is. But to experience it is a far different matter. And then they're back on Pern, and he can't help but sigh relief. Oops, so much for proving he can handle anything. Well at least he didn't scream or otherwise embarrass himself. These thoughts are soon distracted by the blast of hot air as he blinks down, taking in the surroundings. It COULD be Nerat, but judging by the previous conversation he had with the Weyrlingmaster, Jastre has a good feeling this is Ista, the one place in the Northern Continent he hasn't set foot on. He excitedly looks back and forth from one side of the dragon to the other, taking in the view.

He'd be wrong on both counts! It is neither Nerat or Ista but that very place the Weyrlingmaster was trying to warn him off of: Southern. Well… a part of Southern. It could be anywhere in that vast territory and as Aycheth comes to land, the bluerider is swift in unfastening the safety straps and preparing to help the young handyman down. "What'd I tell ya, huh? MUCH better than Fort! Welcome, Jastre, to southern!" Another grin, followed with his arms spreading outwards. Ta da?

"Southern?!" Jastre exclaims, startled, and his gaze becomes even sharper as he scrutinizes the surroundings. He can't wait to get off the dragon, and as soon as the straps are undone, he slides down, whirling around to look. "It doesn't look that different… well, then again, it does. Everything's bigger here." he amends, looking at certain varieties of plants. "Where are we? Anywhere specific?"

"Southern!" M'icha chimes right back, a big almost goofy grin on his features from where he remains perched on Aycheth's straps. Both rider and dragon watch as Jastre whirls around to investigate, but it's the bluerider who chuckles gruffly for the young man's enthusiasm. What reaction was he expecting? "Oh, it's different! Don't let it fool you, this place is beautiful, bountiful but it's dangerous. And we're about oh… a half day out from the nearest minor hold? That'away!" He'll point vaguely towards the east. "No where specific. That'd ruin the fun." Fun? Wait. Why hasn't the Weyrlingmaster dismounted? "So, my dear lad. That item I need fetched is also about half a day that'away. Think your wanderlust can get you there? I'd say you'd reach it by nightfall." Another peer to the skies, his hand lifting to shield his eyes. "Yup. Juuuust past noon now. Better hurry!" But where are they going!? Aycheth rumbles and extends his wings again, haunches gathering to ready to spring into the air. "Good luck and we'll see ya on the other side!" He's not serious, is he? Leaving the handyman there with vague directions and no supplies!? He's serious. Aycheth is taking wing then and is soon disappearing over the trees.

Jastre is immediately wary, remembering all of M'icha's warnings about dangers. The rider is still on his dragon, which means he intends Jastre to go on alone. He looks in the direction that was indicated, and checks for the usual markings to get his bearings on direction. The last thing he wants to do is get lost here, of all places. "All…. all right. I'll do it. I'll be there in less time than that!" well he'll try, anyway. Bringing out his beltknife, he dubiously eyes the greenery. No, this won't do. Oh well, he'll try to find as many animal trails as he can, the knife will be useful for other things. Off he goes, and though he doesn't manage to get there before the half day mark, he doesn't get there much further past the time either. He ends up covered in scratches from vines and bushes, and even ended up with a nice wherry carcass when he flushed one out and threw his knife at it. He comes out of the jungle, exhausted, but at the very least he didn't meet anything but the wherry and…. well….. about a million insects. Half the scratches he has were from bug bites.

At least M'icha wasn't entirely lying? It's no hold that he led the young handyman too or if it is, it's a very small one. More a camp than anything else, it looks to be a way station for trading and very few are long term residents here. Just enough to keep it maintained! The Weyrlingmaster is waiting there, resting against Aycheth's foreleg with his one leg propped awkwardly. "Ahh, there you are! Was beginning to think you'd got yourself turned around after all. I see you're whole, though looks like a few things made a meal of you." The dark blue dragon rumbles again, head turning and then lowering a bit, nostrils flaring as he sniffs at the air. M'icha's brows lift up in mild surprise and then his grin returns, crooked and difficult to read. "Look at that!" he whistles, eyeing the wherry carcass. "Even managed a bit of huntin'! You planning on dragging that back? Or is that lunch for poor Aycheth here?"

Jastre blinks a little. "Well I didn't know how long we were planning to stay, but if Aycheth would accept my offering as thanks for allowing me on his back, he's welcome to it." he bows formally, leaving the wherry near the blue. "Lucky throw, really, it popped up right in front of me, I couldn't help but throw my knife on reflex. A lot of times, that's all that fed me on my way around Pern."

Aycheth will promptly snatch and gobble up the offering without hesitation, licking his lips in a satisfactory way. Thanks accepted! The dark blue settles comfortably then with a low, deep croon. "Don't think I've ever seen a dragon pass up a wherry as a snack, 'less they just ate of course." M'icha drawls, eyeing his lifemate and then staring fixedly at Jastre. The Weyrlingmaster snorts, "Nothing wrong with trustin' your reflex! Though yer lucky that it wasn't a person that popped out of the jungle like that. But! You've skill, that much is certain. Not to mention guts. Was figurin' you'd not move a single step once Aycheth and I just abandoned ya there! Here you are!" And he's a live! Congrats! "See that lean-to?" M'icha will point towards the far wall of the modest building. "There's a crate there marked for Fort. Mind hauling it here? Normally I can but my leg won't allow it."

Jastre nods, averting his glance as the wherry disappears down the throat of the blue. No, silly, dragons have never eaten a person, that's stupid talk. "Waiting there until nightfall would've been a great way to die." as for the request, well, with the way he was complaining about his leg, no wonder he needs help, especially getting something that large and bulky onto his dragon. So without another word, Jastre goes over to the lean-to, looking about. Locating the crate, he hefts it up with a grunt and carries it over. Oof.

That crate is sturdy and fairly heavy and there is the faint, muffled sound of glass clinking together inside. What's inside? It's a mystery! But M'icha looks delighted to see it and he'll stiffly get to his feet to prepare the transport straps and ropes. "Now, just bring it over here and set it like this…" And the Weyrlingmaster will guide him through it, leaving it to the young handyman to hold the crate while he works in securing it. "Oh, we'd not have left you till nightfall. Admittedly, had you been just a few more minutes in your tardiness Aycheth and I would've come hunting for you. Won't want you dying. Far too much paperwork!" he drawls with a gruff chuckle. Haha, that… was a joke right? Once the job is done, M'icha will shuffle back and reach to clap Jastre on the shoulder. "Thanks! Saved me the trouble and several days of increased discomfort." Speaking of which, he begins to reach into his jacket, where he keeps that flask always at hand. Only it's not a flask he pulls out but something made of woven white thread. "And for payment for all your troubles? Aycheth says you've the stuff if you'd be willin' to brave southern jungles for a random agin' man's errands. Not to mention survive 'em with just a few scratches! So? What say you?" The knot, for that is what it is, is extended out. "Would you like to stand for Kouzevelth's and Dremkoth's current clutch?"

Jastre holds the crate as indicated, assisting him in securing it to the dragon. He wonders briefly why it's here out in the middle of seemingly nowhere, but it's here and that's the only important thing. He waits for further instructions, except what the man says next knocks him off-kilter. "Wait, what? Me? Is… is that a good idea? I mean, what if I just get the feeling of wanting to… go off again? I did say that I was willing to stay until the eggs hatched because I've never attended a hatching yet, but… I wasn't planning on staying much past that. Me?"

Explanation may have to wait until later, for now M'icha is only grinning, folding his arms across his chest as he waits for Jastre to recover from the shock and once the knot is taken. "Yeah, you? See anyone else here?" he remarks sarcastically before sobering his tone. "You've not heard the word? Candidates won't be stuck to the Weyr, you'll be going on excursions! That ought to satisfy your urge to wander off, I'd think? And well… now you'll have an upfront seat to the Hatching! As to what may happen well, can't say I can guarantee you your freedom yet but it's an experience. One not to miss!"

"Ah…. I did hear something along those lines but didn't really pay much attention… are you sure? I suppose that would be good enough…. I haven't been to most of the crafthalls since it's only the fishingcrafthall that's along the shore, for obvious reasons, and…. uh." he's babbling. "I guess… if nothing comes of it, I can go along as usual, and if not, well, I'll come up with something."

"I'm sure! Considering it was official orders from the Weyrleaders! You'd be visiting more than just the fishercraft too! And if you're not being dragged across the planet, they'll be doing demonstrations in the Weyr for the non-Hall Crafts and other specific skill sets. Oh! And if things work out, you might even go to Landing or the Yokohama. Now wouldn't those be worth a notch on the belt for braggin' rights? Not everyone can claim they've been above Pern." And the Weyrlingmaster points his finger upwards to the dusk-colored sky with a grin. "You ain't trapped, lad! So do you accept or not? Yes or no?" he drawls, while Aycheth rumbles and chuffs from where he rests.
Jastre hesitates. He has several reasons why he shouldn't, but then again…. those reasons are all based on fear. Again, stupid thoughts. The temptation of more places to visit, one of which was SPACE of all places, finally turns the tide. "I…. I accept." trapped, huh? Well he's making this choice, might as well man up and stand by it. "Heh…. I get the feeling you might leave me here a few days until I changed my mind, huh?" he jokes. Of course he wouldn't…. right?

M'icha grins toothily. "Well, now that you mention it, we'd be tempted! Aycheth doesn't often mistakenly Search. He's sensed something in ya and I agree! We need Candidates like you to round off the group." he explains, unaware of the inner turmoil poor Jastre is trying to overcome. All he sees is a bit of a shell shocked young man, so used is the bluerider to folk reacting in surprise when presented with the knot. Taking hold of the straps again, M'icha motions with a jerk of his head. "Time to head back, before the night grows later! You'll have to go report to the Headwoman when we get back and then gather what belongings you have and move into the Barracks. Not many other Candidates yet, so you've prime choice of cots!" Then he's offering his help once more to Jastre, buckling them both in before Aycheth takes flight once more and winks Between to take them home.

Jastre is in a daze when brought back Between, such an eventful day. He got to the Southern Continent, got searched…. he doesn't know which one was more shocking. He's pretty much struck dumb by all of it.

And that is how M'icha will leave him with one last parting clap to the shoulder once they've dismounted. "My thanks again! Both for the help AND for accepting Search! Best of luck and enjoy it while it lasts! The end comes swift enough!" he says with a grin, only to grimace as a hard, cold wind comes gusting through the bowls. Oh, what a change from the warmth of southern! M'icha will wander way with Aycheth then, back to the training complex and into the weyrling barracks where his office and weyr reside. Shame, Jastre never did find out what was in those bottles!