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.

The day dawns, but you wouldn't know that Rukbat is shining the way the gloom mantles the mountains surrounding fort Weyr in a shroud of foggy drizzle. It's the cold, wet, and miserable sort of wintry day, the skies dim and darkened. At least it's not so cold there's snow or ice. Small blessings? The weather is no deterrent for the task the Weyrsecond is appointed to. He's been told to gather assistants and so has been to the barracks to snag those candidates lucky (or is that unlucky?) enough to be idling between chores - and not scheduled for classes this afternoon. Anyone else found loitering in the cavern and not obviously busy - there aren't all that many right now - are also compelled into service, told it's for the good of the Weyr. All are warned to wear summer clothing, old things for rough work under their jackets. When they find him in the bowl waiting beside Dremkoth, there'll be a pile of helmets, goggles and gloves to borrow. They're apparently going flying. Yay?

Polana is not happy. Not. Happy. A moment(meaning a couple hours) of rest spent happily loitering around the lower caverns. Was that too much to ask? Apparently so, as the Weyrsecond had recruited her for some sort of task. A task that requires her to put on new clothes. Rough /working/ clothes. Because /apparently/ she'll be out doing manual labor on a cold winter's day. As she follows the Weyrsecond out to the Weyrbowl she is wearing old, stained clothes, her jacket, and her hair is still a vibrant shade of purple from the surprise dyeing. But upon seeing the pile of riding gear she freezes in her steps. Her voice is actually slightly nervous as she asks, "just what, exactly, are we going to be doing?"

The brawny woodworker - now a Candidate - makes his way into the bowl, dressed for summer grunt work underneath a thick jacket and loose pants. Seems those shorts must be underneath, eh? Solan smiles at D'ani as he approaches and then offers Dremkoth a respectful nod. "Where're we headed?" the young man asks with a smile much too bright for such a dreary day. Of course, that's when Polana sidles up to them and Solan turns to offer her a smile too. "Hello, Pol," he nods in greeting.

That purple hair surely has drawn a crinkly-eyed peer of bewilderment, but D'ani refrains from comment. Girls and their hair, y'know, they do these things. Goopy face creams and makeup. It's beyond him, but one thing he knows: they sure can be sensitive over their looks. So he'll just pretend that's normal, since he knows nothing behind why her hair (wasn't it blonde just the other night at the clutching feast?) is purple. He's also serenely ignoring her mood, having fully expected some grumbling from his helpers… which looks to be only two. Ah well, it's a light crew. He can deal! He bends down to snag a couple of helmets, tossing them one after the other to first Polana - catch! and then Solan. Gloves follow, lobbed in a gentle arc towards the pair and since he's already got his gear on, he's pulling astride the crouching bronze, leaning down to offer them a hand up should they need it. The answer to both questions is answered with an amiable grin. "We're going to visit Xanadu," he says easily.

Oh, Polana actually wouldn't be insulted by questions about her hair. After all, she didn't /choose/ to make it purple. It was something she was forced into by fate and sadistic weyrbrats. Solan gets a bob of her head followed by a response of, "hey. I see he got you too, huh." When the helmet is thrown at her she lets out a surprised yelp but does manage to catch it and put it on, along with the gloves. As she reaches up to take D'ani's hand she can't help but ask, "Xanadu? Why?"

"That he did," the young man nods back to Polana. Catching the helmet and gloves, he quickly dons them and says, "Xanadua? I've never been!" Solan grins, apparently very excited to check the place out. After having quite a bit of practice climbing astride Kimmila's Varmiroth, the young crafter attempts to scramble up on his own only to realize that mounting a bronze is a bit more involved. For one thing, bronzes are a LOT bigger. For another, he doesn't know Dremkoth yet and doesn't want to put a foot in the wrong place or anything. And so he'll accept that hand up, finally working to secure himself in the straps once he's sitting comfortably atop the great bronze.

D'ani is ignorant of both facts - the weyrbrats or how Polana feels about her hair - unless she enlightens him. And so, her hair goes unremarked upon and his opinion of her being one weird chick remains. But he's nice, nonetheless. It's his nature to be courteous, even though he isn't forth-coming in information. He pulls Solan up behind him, indicating the rear seat, leaving the one directly behind him for Polana. "Xanadu Weyr," he confirms pleasantly, hauling the girl up next. Dremkoth is pleased to have passengers along on this venture, unmindful of any kicks or thumps to his hide and raring to get going. "To pick up something they have ready for us," he says in answer to her question. What that might be is anyone's guess, but the bronze has rolled up cargo nets strapped to his harness, so it must be something… bulky? While the Weysecond clips them into the riding straps, he introduces himself, "Welcome aboard. I'm D'ani, and this is Dremkoth." He double-checks their straps and then warns, "Hang on!" He's not wasting any time, is he? That's the only warning before the neck-snapping launch to the misty skies.

Fort Weyr - North Sky

The northern sky of Fort Weyr, dotted in the cliffs are entrances to various 'weyrs' of all the posted riders. A larger opening leads the way into the hatching caverns upper viewing ledges. The large Tooth Crag is also visible, a single spire rising up to pierce the sky.

She has not enlightened him and chances are she will not. Luckily she doesn't have much trouble getting up on Dremkoth at all thanks to D'ani's help. Polana can't help a small roll her her eyes when he confirms that they're going to Xanadu Weyr. What other Xanadu would they do going to? She pales visibly when he says that they're going to pick something up. And, telling from the amount of help he needs and those straps. At his introduction she opens her mouth, probably to say something snarky, but instead thinks better of it and closes her mouth. Wait, they're going between? Uck, no duh they're going between. Taking in a deep breath Polana closes her eyes and does indeed hold on.

"And I'm Solan," the Candidate offers back. "A pleasure, D'ani." He notices that Polana does not offer her name and can only assume the pair already knows each other. As Dremkoth launches them into the sky, Solan holds on to the straps and prepares for the aching cold that is to come. Even as he does so, his eyes sweep across the nets and he, too, comes to the realization that it must be something large. "Whatever it is," the young man smiles, "I'm happy to come along and help." With Polana sitting in front of him, the wind whips some of her long purple hair - waist long, to be exact - back into Solan's face. Good thing he's wearing goggles, right? Except for the purple strands in his mouth. Blech.

Yeahno. D'ani doesn't know Polana, having just met her the other night when her commentary about fiery hatchings caught his attention. But then, she fell asleep at the table before introductions could take place. At least he didn't draw a moustache on her? He does, however, need her name for this venture, and so after a nod and a "Well-met, Solan," he prompts her manners with a gentle chide, "And what's your name?" Because he can refer to her as 'hey You' but that would be just rude, right? They're high above the Weyr, Fort hidden in the foggy rain below when he warns, "Transferring!" And they pop *Between*. The frigid dark nothingness is just three heartbeats long before they emerge into balmy summer skies above a green forest, the bronze trumpeting his arrival to the watch dragon. They glide towards the canopy below, skimming the treetops until they land in a clearing. There, the bellow of herdbeasts greets them. Ye-haw?

Dremkoth suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-


Darkness and cold like you can't imagine. Nothing to see, feel or hear, except the beating of your heart.


Then, as suddenly as you entered the emptiness…

Xanadu Weyr - High Sky

It is easy to see why the settlers of Xanadu chose this exact spot to live out their lives. Here high above the Weyr one gets a good perspective on the landscape that drew the eye of that rider long ago that sought out the home for a new Weyr. Mountains loom protectively above this pristine little valley, while an energetic river races headlong down the northern side, in a hurry to reach the lake that rests peacefully to the east. Grove after grove of trees dot the land, creating endless shade for the human or dragon.
As well-placed as the natural aspects of the Weyr are, the founders worked hard to keep with the uncontrived rhythms of the valley while destroying as little of it as possible. All of Xanadu opens up below you, welcoming the odd visitor into its friendly arms, or calling a cheerful 'Welcome Home' to the rider and dragon after a visit away.

He might not know Polana but Polana knots him, or at least knows of him. Either way, she assumes that he somehow knows her name or, if he doesn't, doesn't need to know her name. But apparently that would be wrong. When he asks her name she manages to say, "Polana." Suddenly he lets out an exclamation of 'transferring' and they pop between. Cold, freezing cold. She is thankful that you can't hear anything because she has a feeling she screamed a bit. But thank fully she stops screaming before they reappear from /between/, instead she is gasping slightly. Oh look, herdbeasts. She frowns down at them before asking, "this doesn't involve moving herdbeasts, does it?"

Deep breath held before and during *between,* Solan now releases it and smiles as the dragon soars over the lands surrounding Xanadu Weyr. When they come in for a landing, he's looking around at the herdbeasts and their paddocks. Polana's question is a valid one, though the young woodcrafter isn't sure why Fort Weyr would need /more/ herdbeasts. The beholden areas certainly seemed to have enough, at least from what Solan could tell. "You're right…warm clothes were a great idea." It isn't long before his jacket is off and he asks, "Shall we unstrap?"

"Not exactly, Polana," D'ani answers with a grin lurking at the corners of his mouth. He nods to Solan while shucking his gloves, helmet and jacket in a series of well-practiced moves. It's hot and he's already beginning to sweat! The gear is stuffed in the harness, a few twitches sends the roll of netting thumping on the ground and then he'll offer them both a hand down if they want it, after which he swings down as well. Only then does he reveal - partially - why they are here: "It involves moving baby herdbeasts." And look at them! The near paddock contains wee baby bovines - all huddled at the far end - not much bigger than large canines, peering at them with wide-eyed wonder - or it might be fear. "These are of hardy wild stock. We want to improve Fort's herds with an addition of new blood for the genetic pool." He moves towards the pen, beckoning them to follow.

Xanadu Weyr – Paddocks

On either side of the gavel road leading to the three bovine barns are two large paddocks fenced off by eight-foot high rail fences. One is for the breeding cows, the other for the milking herd. Unless sick, injured or ready to birth, the animals of this large herd are kept outside in all weather. An overhang along the side of each of the barns with sand for drainage offers a sheltered refuge from the elements and soft place to bed down.

In both paddocks, at just the right height, water troughs line the fences along the road with water hoses curled up on the fence so it can be cleaned out and filled with ease. Providing extra nourishment to the herdbeasts, in each paddock there is a standing circular rack kept filled with hay. The area around the water troughs and hay racks have been worn down to the dirt from the hooves treading there. Elsewhere in the large paddock lush grass grows in summertime, the herders rotating the areas where cattle are allowed so it isn't over-grazed.

The relief is clear on her face when he says 'not exactly'. For a moment she looks hopeful, maybe she won't end up having to do something awful. As D'ani begins to remove his riding gear so does her, although she is not nearly quite as good at it as him. Then he partially explains what they will be doing and a look of horror crosses her face. Baby herdbeasts, they're going to be moving /baby/ herdbeasts. As he moves to the pen she says, "/wonderful/, so we get to wrestle with the /wild/ baby herdbeasts. Just how 'baby' are these babies?" Yet despite her words she follows him, still going to do the work.

Well that explains /that/. Solan has unstrapped himself and slides down Dremkoth's side, laying a hand on the bronze's hide. "Thank you, Dremkoth," he grins. "Very much enjoyed the trip," Solan nods before stowing his own jacket, gloves, helmet, and goggles in a neat little bundle on the ground. Following after D'ani, he says, "So they're ready to be taken back to Fort. I imagine we'll have to be very careful about how we do this…" And indeed, if they're going to carry some (or all?) of the huddled group back, it'll require some careful netting and positioning. As Polana starts peppering the rider with questions, Solan can't help but chuckle. "Wrestle, eh? Now /that/ will be a site to see: you wrestling baby bovines into submission." He smirks at Polana but she'll probably guess it's all good humor. "So what can I do, D'ani? Put me to work," he smiles at the bronzerider with enthusiasm.

Former beastcrafter, that he is, D'ani's well-used to handling the creatures since they were his specialty and yet, he knows that not everyone is comfortable with them. He waits for Polana's realization to dawn. And when it does, he's not disappointed. He chuckles at her comment. "Not only that, we get to mud-wrestle them too," he says with a nod to the pen which is churned mid-calf high in the stuff. She does, however merit a second glance, this one of approval as she follows despite her lack of enthusiasm. "One week old," he answers her promptly. Dremkoth croons lowly, an abbreviated reply to Solan and slinks away out of sight, likely at D'ani's silent behest. He's scaring the calves but he wants to watch, so once in the treeline, he sinks to his belly to keen an eye on the fun. The Weyrsecond slips between the rails and points to the group, "We need six of the females and just one male. With a gesture to the bunched group, he says, "We'll go for the red bull first." At least the 'bull' is presently a wee, hornless dude with a sweet face?

A sigh of relief leaves her when he says that they're only a week old. A week, she can handle that. Shards, her little sister could probably handle that. Maybe this won't be as bad as she first thought. And only one bull, one week old bull. That's good, right? She's heard that the bulls are the more dangerous of the two genders. The mud wrestling did can a wince. However, she felt a little too happy with the approving glance to say anything. After all, it isn't often that she get those. Polana slides between the rails like the weyrsecond did, rolling up her sleeves. "Alright," she murmurs, "let's do this." With that she slowly approaches the wee hornless dude, crouching down slightly and holding out her hand as she approaches. "Here, little guy," she murmurs. "Don't be sad, we just want to take you to a new Weyr where you will breed and /definitely/ not get eaten if you prove to produce bad offspring."

As Solan heads one way, D'ani slogs through the mud near Polana, heading towards the bunched calves. He has his arms outspread, ready to- He peers over at the girl when she speaks and chuckles. "They won't usually come to you, especially if you look directly at them. They're prey animals. See how skittish they are? You have to make them think you have no interest in them whatsoever. But that would take more time than we have. So we're going to… tackle them." The addition of three people into their muddy pen starts the calves starting and bawling. The red one they're after isn't sure which way to go but the girl looks less threatening than the men to him, so it's right at Polana he bolts!

Oh, great. so apparently she's supposed to walk around trying to /ignore/ them in order to capture them. But no, apparently they just don't have /time/ for that. So instead they'll be tackling them. Polana only has a brief moment for horror to cross her face as she exclaims, "tackling!?" They're /really/ going to be wrestling things!? She thought they were just joking! Shards, she's going to be absolutely /covered/ in mud. Before the purple haired girl can say or do anything more the little bull bolts to her. She does not let out a warcry or downright tackle, quickly moves forward and attempts to gently grab him around her shoulders. Well, as gentle as a grab can be without him completely escaping anyway.

D'ani nods. At that one-word question, "Prepare to get dirty," he says mildly, ignoring the look of horror. He's long ago gotten used to mud in the course of working in the field with these animals. The try for a gentle grab is… probably not the nest of moves. The calf does not DO gentle. Polana's touch sends him bucking and twisting and for a critter just a little bigger than an old-Earth Saint Bernard, he's quite strong! D'ani darts one way to head him off and in sgort order, he's galumping back through the mud towards Polana again. Splattering droplets fly everywhere.

Eew, mud, mud, mud! Mud everywhere! For a moment Polana completely freezes, only to be snapped out of it when the bucking young bull manages to hit her right in the cheek as he flails. A small yelp leaves her as she ends up letting go and falls back slightly, rubbing the spot where a bruise will no doubt form. Oh, it is /on/ not, bull. When it heads for her again she lets out a battle cry, lunging for it, careless of the mud, and trying to throw herself on top of it in an all-out tackle. You do /not/ just bruise Polana and get away with it.'.
Solan, however, has been sneaking around from the other side. D'ani's advice is well headed and the man - despite his brawny frame - attempts to look disinterested and unimposing as he positions himself further down the way. As Polana attempts to wrestle the thing to the ground, the young woodcrafter is hoping that he'll be in the perfect position should the young bull get past her. Crouching down in the mud, Solan leans back on his haunches and waits, looking firmly /away/ from Polana and the calf.

The male calf barrels past Polana - or tries to - but he misjudges the pass and winds up smacking right into her, going down in a tangle of flailing legs and bawling distress. Those hooves aren't lethal by any means, but getting kicked is no picnic, either. So D'ani is there with a deft toss of his rope, the lasso falling around his legs, tugged to snug them together and a hand offered down to help Polana up from the mud. A laconic, "Nice catch," is offered in praise to the girl. Meanwhile, over on the other side of the pen, one of the female calves is indeed drawn to Solan's nonchalant disinterest. His tunic looks appetizing and there's an exploratory tug, then a nibble, but what she wants is to nurse. Snuffling finds his hand and she'll try for a finger or two to suckle. Aww?

Oh, there is mud wrestling all right. Lots of it. Polana fights with the bull, intent on bringing it down in a scene of pure glory. Of course the process is not very fun for her. She is kicked a couple times, earning some squeaks of pain and probably causing some bruises to form in the future. But her persistence and pride keeps her hanging on until D'ani can get the lasso around the bull. She then collapses in a panting mess, no longer caring that her hair will get even more muddy. Really, it's not like it could get worse than it already is. But then D'ani is offering a hand up and congratulating her. She accepts it and, once back on her feet, says, "thanks. Little twit had it coming."

And find his fingers she does! As Solan isn't looking in Polana and D'ani's direction - and as there isn't any charging bull headed his way - it's with surprise that he looks down at the female calf that's suddenly chosen to nurse on him. Immediately looking back up - being careful to make no sharp movements - he languidly moves his hand forward, just enough to get the calf moving forward with his fingers, too. If it follows his fingers, he'll let the girl suckle again just as soon as she's in prime position to be grabbed. And once she's there, the burly woodworker will wrap his arms around her - being careful to keep her hooves pointed down and away from his body - and attempt to stand with her weight in hand?

Don't ask D'ani, because he'd say the mud is an improvement over purple-dyed hair. Because he's frank like that. He's not asked and his focus is on the job at hand. Polana's comment about the calf knits his brows, puzzlement in his expression. 'Twit' he might understand, but 'had it coming'? "He's just a baby," he says. "A rather scared one at that and doing what his survival instincts tell him to." It's a gentle admonishment at best and he busies himself trussing the calf's feet together for the ride to his new home. Then he checks to see where Solan- ahhh! "Nice work!" he says with a grin for the man's non-stressful capture and he turns to Polana. "You want to make like a mama cow and see if you can lure one of them to you?" Not that he expects her to lift it. The one they've got is hefted and removed from the pen, set in the shade before he returns to the pen to assist Solan in trussing his calf.

Aaaaaand she managed to mess up by opening her mouth again. Great job, Polana. She lets out a small sigh, looking down at her feet to avoid making eye contact. Embarrassed that she said something not exactly appropriate? It seems like she might actually be this time. Huh. "Sorry," she mumbles. "I'm just generally nod a big fan of things that ram me in the cheek." Speaking of that, there's a bruise beginning to blossom there. D'ani's comment about her 'making like a momma cow' gets a raised eyebrow, although she does not comment. Instead she does what he says, wandering for a bit before standing still and looking at anything but the calfs.

"Thanks D'ani," comes the woodworker's warm voice. Standing now, mud is dripping down his hind quarters and legs, pooling at Solan's feet as he waits for the dragonrider to wander over. With the calf still very much in hand - the poor thing is struggling in confusion but a bit helpless at the moment - Solan holds the calf as still as possible while the trussing begins. "I didn't see the catch," he admits, "but you must have done well, Polana," Solan offers over his shoulder to the young woman. There's a smile in his voice if she can't see the one on his face from his position. "She was suckling on my fingers," the woodworker says then, looking at D'ani with a bit of wonder in his eyes. "She thought I was her mother, then?" That must be so, given the rider's comments to Polana.

"No worries," D'ani says casually. He's laid-back about most things. But if he thinks his herdbeast are in danger of being mistreated (even if he does love his steak), then it's another story. He catches that brow-raise of Polana's and chuckles. "Mama cow with your fingers, like Solan just did." Hey - it'll keep her busy while he assists Solan. He slogs over, looping a short length of rope around the tiny feet. Two down. "Oh, she did!" he says sincerely of Polana doing well before, "She can go with Red over there." He pauses to consider Solan's question. He's probably never thought about what baby cows think. "They're being weaned and bottle fed so they're hungry," he finally says. Meanwhile there's a slimy wet nose nuzzling on Polana's hand.

Ew. Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, eeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwww. Slimy, slimy, gross, and wet. There is a slimy, gross, and wet thing nuzzling her /hand/. Her poor, scratched up, mud-covered, possibly bruised hand that will need so much pampering after this. No matter how much she wants to flip out, no matter how many of her germaphobic alarm bells are going off, she keeps her cool. Polana is on a mission, and when she's on a mission she is determined to do good. Even if that means getting her hands covered in slime. Taking a deep breath she stretches out her fingers for the calf to suck and, when it is in prime position, bends down to grab the thing. She is not strong enough to lift it off the ground but she's pretty sure she can keep it still until D'ani can get the lasso around it.

"Hungry? Pity we don't have some milk, then," Solan remarks, nodding to D'ani's directive. Being careful not to jostle the little herdbeast too much, the young woodworker makes his way towards the red. Crouching slowly, he gently lays girl down beside her brother (?) and then steps away, heading back for Polana and the dragonrider. Given the young woman's chosen position, Solan takes up station not too far away, watching - with his fingers down in a 'Feed up, time!' posture - as Polana lets the little calf suckle. Well done indeed! Especially how…proper Polana can be sometimes. Smiling reassurance at the muddy, bedraggled courier, the woodwork waits for another calf to see what's for lunch at Solan's Finger Food Emporium.

Slimy can be good, but D'ani isn't going to say that to Polana. Instead, he's slogging over to her to secure the feet of this smaller calf. "You're a natural," he tells her, gathering the critter. Three down, three to go. He should have offered them the choice of bottle-feeding, but nooo he was too intent on pounce-tackling them. Okay, maybe some small part of him wanted to see how Polana dealt with mud-wrestling. "We can do that," he says easily to Solan as if the thought never occurred to him and while he's ducking between the rails to deposit Bessie #2 beside her siblings, Dremkoth watches the pen from his vantage point. Interested? Definitely but it's the humans he's focused on. The Weyrsecond strides up the lane to the bovine nursery, returning with three large, squarish bottle and re-enters the corrals, slogging through the soggy muck to offer one to each of them and wait to lure one to himself. This ought to be a snap, right?

A wide grin crosses Polana's face at his praise. Maybe this was worth it to hear something nice get said about her. Besides, maybe the mud wrestling wasn't /that/ bad. Now that she looks back at it it was actually kind of fun. But there's no way she'll be letting anyone know /that/. She has an image to keep up, you know! Wait, we can do what? She considers asking Solan what they were talking about as she wasn't listening very well but instead chooses to see what D'ani has when he comes back. And he has… bottles. With milk. Polana lets out a small sigh as she holds it out while looking away, hoping to lure another calf to her. As she does this she asks in a quiet voice that should be just loud enough for the Weyrsecond to hear, "you mean we could have just lured them over with milk this whole time?"

"But where would the fun have been in that?" Solan is smirking now as a bottle is handed his way. Settling back to his haunches - chuckling lightly at the confusion on Polana's face - he says, "I have to admit. I didn't actually think you'd go for a tackle. I like surprises like that," the woodworker grins first to Polana and then to D'ani. "So we'll just wait for them to come over, then?"

"Nope," answers D'ani without missing a beat as he turns to head for Solan, "because you didn't have a bottle of milk before, now did you?" And she rose to the challenge, snagging the first one. There's that. He nods at Solan as he waits, he leans casually against the fence, his bottle held out, "We might catch too man- what?!" A look is turned over his shoulder towards where the bronze half-hunkers to watch, then jerked back to Polana. He's incredulous, "Are you nuts? She can catch a calf in the mud, sure but she's-" So surprised that he's forgotten until it's almost too late that he's talking to his dragon out loud. He bites it off just in time, turning to watch the calves instead of poor Polana. "No way," he mutters under his breath.

Oh, there are a great many things that Polana wants to say to D'ani, and it shows through the slight narrowing of her eyes. However, she takes a deep breath and manages to calm herself down enough to keep herself from saying something completely rude and uncalled for. No need to get thrown out of the Weyr after all. Instead she focuses on Solan, flashing him a grin before commenting, "savor the memory, it probably won't happen again." Then D'ani's talking, and sounding surprised at that. Talking about a /she/, a she that can catch a calf in the mud. Oh, she has good hearing when it comes to things involving her. Polana looks at D'ani as she slowly says, "as I am the only /she/ here either Solan has a secret that he's been keeping from me /very/ well… or you were talking about me." That look on her face says one thing, spill.

The woodworker can't help but chuckle as a certain notion crosses his mind. Grinning widely, Solan keeps his mouth shut and focuses on attracting over one of the other two herdbeasts they need. The bottle is held out in rather unassuming fashion, its nipple patiently waiting for a hungry herdbeast to take to it. It isn't a long wait, thankfully, as soon another young one has ambled over and begins licking the nipple with a white-pink splotched tongue before suckling on it. Smiling to himself, Solan pulls the body gently away - allowing the calf to follow along - before reaching around to lift the little one into the air. "Got another," he grins, his eyes shifting back to the bronze and Polana as D'ani expresses some disbelief.

D'ani is having an argument with his dragon, pure and simple. He's stifled the audible part, but the low growls coming from where the bronze crouches registering at the base end of the scale, barely-audible to the human ear says all too clearly it isn't going well on the rider's end of things. "…and she dyed her hair red!!" Yup, definitely talking about Polana. She's said something? He missed it. But he's aware he's just spoken out loud again and that she is looking at him expectantly. Oh hey - saved by the bell, right? He trots - splishes more like - over to help Solan truss it. He can ignore glares from uppity blondes, but the pressure in his head from his dragon is another matter. With a nod for Solan to take the now-trussed calf, he draws a breath and admits, "Dremkoth thinks you ought to stand for the clutch because you have grit and didn't shy from catching the calves." Sigh, he's being prodded, so adds, "In the mud."

Well, that shatters her idea that riders and their dragons have to get along, for it is clear that D'ani is arguing with his. At his exclamation about her dyeing her hair red she crosses her arms over her chest before muttering, "it's purple." Oh, look, Solan caught another calf! Polana gives him a quick grin and is about to say something when D'ani walks over to him, ignoring her for the time being. Cue the intense glare of spill your guts. Then finally he admits what is going on, that his dragon, for he makes it very clear that it is Dremkoth saying this, thinks she should stand at the next clutch. Suddenly she freezes, shock on her face. Real, pure shock despite her near constant act of confidence. She opens and closes her mouth a few times, only managing to stammer out a few syllables. Finally she closes her mouth and takes in a deep breath before responding, "I-I mean, yes. Of course." She then turns to Dremkoth to say, "thank you so much, it will be an honor to stand for your clutch!" Oh my, is she going to cry? It looks like she might.

Solan grins from ear-to-ear, very pleased for his friend as she struggles to work through all the emotions she's obviously feeling. He can empathize - he recently went through the same thing with Kimmila and Varmiroth! "Polana speechless," he smirks before clucking, "you don't see /that/ every day!" But then she's found her voice again and thanking the dragon for his confidence. With a grin, he nods as well, obviously in agreement with the bronze if not his rider. Clutch or not, though, there's still work to be done and at D'ani's nod, Solan moves to place the calf with the other three. Only one more to go, eh? Heading back, he offers to return the bottles to the nursery while D'ani and Polana - the Calf Wrestler - secure their final herbeast.

Two distinct individuals will have their differences despite their love for one another. "Purple," D'ani amends with a roll of his eyes. It's so mud-plastered he's forgotten what color it was, all he remembers is it is some ghastly hue. Get used to the ignoring thing, Polana. He's not the type to pay attention to self-important little girls or petulance. It's nothing personal and it doesn't mean he dislikes her. He just… ignores that sort of thing. Except that… Dremkoth is shoving her in his face. He comments something along the way of thanks to Solan, distracted by first Dremkoth and then Polana… accepting?! that he might not be quiet coherent in the formation of that thanks. He turns to eye Polana is some disbelief. "I haven't exactly offered," he tells her bluntly. He is, after all the clutchfather and as Weyrsecond probably has the authority to naysay his dragon's interest. Dremkoth mutters, creeping closer. "How do we know you have the patience to deal with a baby dragon?" he asks finally, skeptically.

Solan's comment about her speechlessness causes her to give him another small grin, although she is clearly still a little shell-shocked. As he leaves he gets a little bob of her head, it appears she's also still having trouble finding her words. D'ani's amending that her hair is purple manages to get a grin. But then the Weyrsecond says something that actually scares her. That he hasn't offered, asking how they know she has the patience to deal with a baby dragon. That makes her frown and fall silent for a moment. How do they? She has never been the most patient person around. Sure, she's improved a lot since she first came to the Weyr, but something tells her it wouldn't be good for her to bring up for past. For a moment she opens her mouth, about to say that she came with, that she has successfully raised and trained two firelizards, that she caught a second calf with no tackling. But isn't that bragging? She doesn't think bragging will help either. So finally, after quite a bit of consideration, she manages to say, "honestly there's no way to know for sure, you have to trust. When I care about something I try my best at it, and while patience isn't something that has always come very easily to me I do try. I promise not to just try though, if you give me this chance I promise to do."

There's a tugging on the forgotten bottle D'ani's holding and he snags the calf under one arm while leaving the bottle in reach of the calf. Five down! The last one is left for Polana to ensnare. Slogging to the side of the pen, he ducks between the rails with it, lays it on the ground, pins it with one knee while he trusses the calf snugly and deposits it with the others. All the while he's having a silent discussion (argument) with Dremkoth. He's also keeping half an ear on Polana's comments. Trust her? He knows about her rough past in the Weyr. He reads those reports. He's aware of the Weyrleader's ultimatum to her and so he rises, leaning his arms on the railing to eye her. "Like treading thin ice after you've gone too far, eh? You care about not getting kicked out of the Weyr or losing the job the Weyrleader gave you." He levels a skeptical look at her promise to 'do'. But Dremkoth is prodding him, so he relents. "Dremkoth believes in you; but you'll have to earn my trust." He still hasn't asked… formally but…

As D'ani speaks Polana moves her arms so the bottle is down well within reach of a calf. She's nervous, she knows she is and it was starting to show on the outside as well. In fact the bronzerider might very much know just how nervous she is by now. A few turns ago, when she was searched the first time, she had had the utmost confidence that she would be chosen and impress nothing less than a gold. And now? She's just not sure. His words about going too far and getting kicked out of the Weyr cause her to avert her eyes, shame beginning to cross her every feature. Finally he says that Dremkoth believes in her but she will have to earn his trust. After a small nod Polana murmurs, "I understand." It is unclear to her if he is saying that he is or isn't searching her, or if he's saying anything of the like for that matter, but either way she's pretty sure she understands.

Dremkoth trusts Polana and so does the next calf that seeks her out, limpid eyes gazing up at her adoringly as her tail whisks in bliss as she all but inhales the milk, not even shying away as D'ani ducks back through the rails and approaches. Not liking the cowed shame he reads in her expression, his gaze is steady as he seeks Polana's eyes. "Determination will see you a long way, but without heart it's just cold ambition. Accomplishment is important too, but in the end, it's not enough to fulfill. Learn to genuinely care about other people and I might not feel this is a mistake." He has a pristine white candidate's knot in his hand, hands that have been at least wiped free of damp mud. And she's plastered with it, so he doesn't pin it on. Instead, he ties it into a strand of her half-dried muddy purple hair. It's unlikely that she'll be diving face-first into the mud again, now that they've got all the calves. A semi-grave half-smile tugs at his mouth, "Congratulations, Candidate Polana." Then he points, "Go thata way to find Xanadu's bathing caverns. The headwoman will give you something clean from the storage rooms. Be quick. We'll meet up to transport the calves back to Fort within the hour."

A small smile crosses her face as the last calf approaches her a guzzles the milk down. Her voice is soft as she whispers, "hey there, sweetheart." This one seems like she will be easy to catch, and for that she is grateful. She doesn't really want to try and wrestle another baby herdbeast at the moment. When D'ani searches for her eyes she does indeed meet his gaze, forcing herself not to look away. She listens silently as he speaks, absorbing every word. Cold ambition. How long ago was that all she was made of? For how long was it? Is that what she still is? She doesn't want to be. Then there's a knot, a pristine white knot that he attaches to her hair. At his congratulations she gives a small smile before whispering, "thank you, Weyrsecond." At his instructions Polana gives a small nod before heading off, for the first time in her life truly not knowing that to think.

D'ani bends to scoop up the calf. He'll truss her and spread the cargo net to nestle the calves in while Polana gets cleaned up. At least he and Solan didn't dive into the mud like she did. She'll find him waiting closer in by the main entrance with the calves loaded when she emerges and he'll drop her off back at Fort close to the Candidate Barracks with a few pointers about rules like not leaving the Weyr without a rider and keeping out of fistfights. Dremkoth will be purring with satisfaction and happily besotted with 'his' Candidate, reluctant to leave so D'ani can see those calves settled into Fort Weyr's breeding pens.