Fort Weyr - Northeast Bowl

The northern end of the bowl can be an intimidating area, being that Fort is the largest weyr. The far north wall contains the gigantic opening to the hatching caverns, and to the west of that can be seen the sprawling ledges and carved stair cases that mark the way to the administration complex and the training grounds were candidates and weyrlings can often be found. The west cliff wall towers up, dotted here and there by darker openings that mark individual weyrs before it tapers to a point at Tooth Crag.


It's a dreary, cold, wet winter morning. Snow drifts down to mingle with the drifts already on the ground, and mud splashes up against everything that makes its way along the shoveled paths. A notice has gone out to some of the Candidates to dress warmly but pack for a swim, and meet Kimmila and Varmiroth in the Northern bowl. Here, in a cleared but muddy patch, blue and rider wait for their charges to arrive.

Warmly but for a swim? Now that's a mixed message if she's ever heard one. What are they going to be doing, swimming in a frozen lake? Wait, no, warm clothes would be no help when wet. It's all very curious. Despite her curiosity Polana is dressed as requested upon arriving. She gives a quick nod of greeting to Kimmila and Varmiroth but other than that remains silent and still.

Xavier with great care taken while he was getting dressed was layered for the weather but also under it all it was really for a swim. His face had a slight twist to it but he seemed pretty happy and even had a odd patchwork wherhide jacket with himself. Seems like someone got his own riding jacket. He gives a smile and a wave to Kimmila. "Good morning Kimmila. How are you? Where are we off to?" He gives a smile to Polana, "Hey how are you?" He grins at the blue who had searched him "Varmiroth, how are you big guy?"

Dress warmly but pack for a swim…Angelique does just that. It's not too hard to dress warmly lately with the cold weather here! A light brown satchel is slung over a shoulder, no doubt filled with clothing for swimming instead of the normal papers that are normally in it. Jogging over to the area she gives a wave towards Kimmila and Varmiroth. She's here!

Kimmila lifts a hand to wave as the Candidates approach, reaching out to offer and take any bags they brought with them. "Good morning! I felt like we needed to get out of the wet and the cold for a bit. You all have swim stuff with you?"

The arrival of Xavier gets a nod and a grin followed by her saying, "good. I'm curious, but good. You?" Angelique gets a polite nod but nothing else. Words are for people she gets along with. To Kimilla's question Polana responds, "yep, wearing it under my warm stuff." A pause before, "so we're going somewhere nice and warm today? And we won't be bringing small children?"

Xavier nods his head. "I got my trunks and I got a towel and a change of clothes in my bag." It's a small pack slung over one shoulder. Taking the bag and passing it to Kimmila. "So even though we are getting out of the wet and cold mind tell us which craft we are going to vist today?" He gives a nod to Angelique. "Good morning Angelique, how are you?" He grins at Kimmila. "I got a heirloom from my mother the other day. It was this jacket." He shows the well worn flight jacket. It needed some work but overall it needed work. "I plan to get around to patching it up sometime."

Angelique passes off her bag to Kimmila, eyes scanning over Polana a moment. The polite nod but no vocal greeting simply gets a nod in return with little caring if Polana actually likes her or not. "Good morning Xavier, Kimmilia." she puts words behind her wave from earlier. "That's a nice jacket." she compliments. "I can help patch it up if you want." she's good with a needle!

Kimmila stows their bags and motions for them to mount up on the blue, who is shifting eagerly, ready to be off. "It's a surprise," Kimm says with a crooked grin. So…that could be a good or a bag thing. Though she /does/ snort at Polana's question. "Kyzen is in Harper lessons today. He will not be joining us." Her son has a reputation already. Like mother, like son? And father for that matter… blame it on the hair. "Let's mount up and get going. Nice jacket, Xavier. Is your mother a rider?"


Varmiroth

No doubt could linger of this dragon's purpose with one gaze at his luminous hide, a raging tsunami of the teeming life force within: uncontained, unrestrained, always eluding the power of understanding. For while his structure speaks of a masculine grace, with a boxy head and brawny limbs emitted from a lavishly athletic frame, softer is the hide that serves as their canvas: such is dappled like cornflower blue paint, heavier along his sinuous back and peaceful face, and lighter on the glow of his outstretched wings, with frail sails a soft periwinkle fading to flurries of snow within. But along the membranes lie trails of shadowed teal, growing like fragile plants from an overgrown plain beyond the edges of his wings, fading slowly until not-quite reaching the blue of the spars.

Icy and cool, the powdery white frolics again amongst the curve his shoulders and haunches, enwrapping blue with spotted alabaster, and dancing down the strength of his legs to completely encase the pads of his stubby, feline-toed feet, along with the ivory of overly curved talons. But, in further contrast to the artwork of his physique, the shadowed hills of neckridges climb along his frame in china blue, dying at last amongst the pure white end of his long, powerful tail. And only to look upon him is to truly see: his eyes speak of curiosity, his demeanor of creativity, of adventure for he is a free spirit, and no spirit can ever be made not to fly.


Polana smiles a grin of relief when Kimmila says that they won't be bringing any children this time. A small laugh leaves her before she exclaims, "thank Faranth! From what I've seen of him he's a good kid but more of a trouble magnet than the entire candidate class combined." Xavier then gets a nod to show that she agrees with Kimmila and likes his jacket. With that Polana is mounting up, scrambling up onto Varmiroth. By now she has gotten pretty good at mounting dragons so it's really not much of a hassle at all.

Solan had gotten Kimmila's note upon finishing an early morning of lessons with Woodcrafter Journeyman Getelle. Thus he raced through the corridors to dress appropriately, pack his pack, and then be off again once more. Darting out into the bowl, he can see Varmiroth already loaded down and smiles appreciatively at the dragon's load-bearing capabilities. Running up, he greets, "Good morning, all! Sorry I'm so last minute. Getelle only just now told me," Solan remarks, clambering up Varmiroth's side to start strapping himself in. "Ready here," he nods, patting the blue on the side affectionately. "Thanks for carrying so many of us, Varmiroth!"

Xavier shakes his head to Kimmila. "My father is a rider, though I've never met him my mother said he would want me to have it." He smiles at Angelique. "Really? That would be great, I'm terrible with a needle and really don't want to mess up." He mounts up onto Varmiroth and gives the blue and soft pat. "This is getting easier."

Angelique can't resist a smirk. "Kyzen's simply at that /age/. Can't define him as good or bad based on that." she mounts up easily enough on the blue, perhaps a bit used to the process now. Her flight jacket gets fastened all the way up. "I can certainly help, yes." she agrees. "And if we're needed to make our robes." she spares a questioning glance to Kimmila at that. As Solan approaches she smiles warmly towards her friend. "Good to see you Solan,thought you'd headed off with another group already." a gloved hand pats the blue hide she sits on. "Ready."

Kimmila smirks at Polana, shaking her head. "Our son has a lot of trouble making capabilities in his tiny body," she says, chuckling. "Ah! There you are, Solan. Wasn't sure if you were coming or not." Taking his pack, she buckles it into the straps before she's making sure they're all secure. "Fort clothes its Candidates in quality robes," she reassures them. "Wouldn't look good to have Candidates on the sands looking like they're dressed in rags. Hold tight," she says as Varmiroth rumbles his pleasure at being out and about. Crouching, the small blue stretches out his wings and then kicks into the air with a strong leap. Wings catch the air and he soars upwards before vanishing between.


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.


Varmiroth vanishes into *between*

Between

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

<LUB> <DUB>

<LUB> <DUB>

<LUB> <DUB>

Then, as suddenly as you entered the emptiness…

Varmiroth emerges from *between* into the sky over Rubicon River Hold

Varmiroth glides down to the courtyard and backwings to a stop.


Rubicon River Hold – Courtyard

Behind the imposing ivory limestone pillars of the great gates, beyond the red wall with its ivory towers, the courtyard of Rubicon River hold has been laid out on a grand scale. Unavoidably the first thing to come into the eyes is the imposing structure that has been carved out of the ivory limestone bluff. Perfectly plumb for a length of no less than one hundred weaverlengths, stone has been removed and recycled into nearly hundred foot high fluted ionic columns that hold up a wide roof, topped in waves of terra cotta roofing tiles. Above this, bronze shutters cover latticed windows in case of poor weather or attack. Below your feet, the expertly set red stone of the sweeping expanse this area is comprised of has been bordered in a simple geometric path pattern in the ivory stone as an accent. The stones are worn smooth with use and age, giving rise to the notion that this is indeed a bustling place. To the north and south of this, similarly laid paths lead away from the striking faade, to the west and up the stairs, lay the great bronze doors of the of the Hold Proper.


Towering white clouds drift slowly through the blue sky. It's hazy and hot, and the glare of the sun seems to drain the color from the landscape.

Polana gives a small smirk back at Kimmila's smirk, followed by a nod. Then there are taking off, going up, up, up. She knows what's going to happen but she doesn't want to think about it, doesn't want to admit it, for it terrifies her. It is because of this that she does not prepare and they go between when she doesn't expect it. Suddenly it's dark, more than dark, pitch black. Like that egg, worse than that egg. She is trapped, for a moment she fears they won't come out. Her heart beats faster than ever, thud, thus, thud. She panics. And… when they come out she is clinging to Solan and looks absolutely terrified. Immediately she lets go and looks away as they descend. No, Polana was absolutely not panicking and is certainly not scared of between. She dismounts in a hurry, hoping no one noticed.

"Hey," Solan breathes warmly to Angelique and Kimmila. "Glad I made it in time," he grins, reaching forward to pat both Polana and Xavier on the shoulder if he can reach them. "Morning you two," the woodcrafter's voice is warm. See? No more awkwardness! As Varmiroth launches into the sky, Solan holds onto the straps with proper tensile strength and savors the rushing sensation of wintry wind on his now-goggled face. He takes a deep breath and waits for the world to vanish around them. Three beats later and it's done but what's this? Purple hair is flying around him as Polana clings tight. It doesn't take a telepathic dragon to figure out what's happened but rather than call attention to it, Solan simply hugs the woman - there there, it's alright! - and smiles. "Ready for adventure everyone?" Conversation is always good camouflage, yes? He'll unstrap and dismount as well.

Xavier enjoys the take off and braces of the winter grip of .:between:. He gives a quick shake of his head as they come out of it. A smile on his face as he looks at his fellow candidates. Once they have landed he casually dismounts and looks at Solan with a broad grin. "Glad you could make it Solan, sounds like today is going to be fun."

Angelique takes her normal slow, deep breaths with counting. Counting helps and thus when they emerge from Between she is able to be calm with a look around her to see where they are. Which is… "Where are we?" she asks as she dismounts with an absent pat to the blue who brought them.

Kimmila dismounts, helping them down if they want the help, and giving them their things. It's hot here - hot and humid. "Welcome to Rubicon River Hold and the Dolphincraft," she says with a grin and a sweep of her arm. "Let's all change out of our riding gear and into lighter clothes, okay? Duck behind Varmiroth if you're shy." Which she's not, not that she has anything to do except peel off her outer layer of leathers.

Polana's cheeks are a tad red from embarrassment as she waits for the others to dismount. Of course, once they have she tries to act completely natural. Which is a forced grin that looks incredibly odd. She gives a nod at the question of being ready for an adventure, and then Kimmila explains where they are and her grin becomes real. Polana is overjoyed as she exclaims, "dolphins! I love dolphins!" Without any hesitation she removes her leathers and whatnot, leaving her in the two-piece she had on underneath.

Xavier quickly starts taking of his leathers and basically jumping out of his clothes and soon he is in his swim trunks. Excited for a day with the shipfish. "Awesome shipfish." He puts his warm clothes in his bag and make sure his towel and his change of clothes are kept near the top. "So how long til we get to swim with the dolphins?"

"Dolphins?" Solan's already sweating in his riding gear and quickly begins removing it. It isn't long before he's in a functional pair of swimming shorts and a loose-fitting, gauzy white tunic. It's v-shape trails down his chest, threaded loosely with a criss-cross of pale string. "I…don't really know much about the shipfish," the woodcrafter admits, looking to Xavier. "I mean, I know /of/ them, of course…" Of course! Right? "But this is my first time ever potentially laying eyes on one." The others' excitement makes Solan smile but he can't help but feel very, very anxious. So much so that a green firelizard pops out of *between* and lands on his shoulder, nuzzling his face as if to say, 'It's ok. Don't worry!' Reaching up to pet the ever-growing-girl, Solan tamps down his anxiety and laughs nervously. "Always with the water with you, Kimmila, eh?"

Angelique is already shrugging from the warmer riding jacket. Not exactly the shy type she will duck behind simply because the /are/ in the middle of a courtyard. Taking her back with her she'll soon emerge with cool, swimming clothing on and the warmer gear stashed away in her back, a towel sitting on top of the clothing. "Dolphins?" she asks in curiosity and a hint of excitement in her tone. This is going to be fun!

Kimmila turns towards the Candidates again, dressed in a loose tunic and pants, and some sandals she pulled out of a pack. And she blinks when some of them are in nothing but swim suits. "Uh. We're not just jumping in the ocean," she says, trying to hold back a grin. "Put something on /over/ those, we've got a tour first." Amused? Yes. Intentional? Hard to tell, as she grins at Solan. "C'mon, water is great. Plus, you can't say this is worse than the weather we're having at Fort now. Ah," she says, turning to wave as a tall young man comes striding towards him. Darkly tanned, sun bleached hair, green eyes and an eager smile, the young man wears the loose, comfortable clothes of a Dolphincrafter, his journeyman knot pinned to his shoulder. "Welcome, Fort! Dolphincraft's duties to her and her queens, thank you for coming! I'm Darlen, and I'll be your tour guide for this little," he hesitates, glancing at Kimmila, "excursion, I believe it's called?" The bluerider nods with a smile, offering a hand to shake. "I'm Kimmila, and this is Polana, Xavier, Solan and Angelique, a few of our candidates this cycle."

Oddly enough Polana does not show any embarrassment when people begin to get changed around her. Nakedness, she can handle that. When Solan talks about how he's never seen a shipfish and makes his comment about Kimmila and the water she grins at him before saying, "don't worry, we won't let you drown. If needed we'll get you a flotation device. Maybe Kimmila will let you borrow Kyzen's." It is clear that this is just friendly teasing, not any of the malicious stuff she might throw at her enemies. Oh, wait, they aren't jumping in the ocean right away? Another tour? Oh Faranth. After the bluerider introduces them Polana comments, "erm, I don't have any other clothes with me, only my swimsuit and riding gear. Mind if I just wear this for the tour?"

Clad in sandals and in his loose-fitting tunic and shorts, Solan is thankful he didn't skip ahead to oceanic swim mode jussssst yet. When Polana mentions giving him a flotation device, he smirks and says, "I'd also suggest putting me into a harness, just in case." Clearly, almost drowning twice in his life has Solan a little fearful, though he obviously jokes about the harness. Or does he? Nodding as the dolphincrafter appears and introductions are made, the woodcrafter reaches out to shake hands. "Well met and thank you for meeting with us today," Solan smiles back. Then Polana is wanting to take the tour in her skimpy suit and the young man can't barely repress his chuckle. Oh, Polana…

Xavier has the sheepish grin on as he reaches into his bag and pulls out a loose shirt much the same as Solan's and puts it on. "Could have told us Kimmila." He gives a playful laugh before noding to Darlen. "Nice to meet you. Fort's duties." Formal as ever with Xavier. He grins at Solan. "Hey, I'm a great swimmer I got your back man." He gives a laugh as Polana wants to take the tour in her swim suit. Doing his best to keep it contained.

Angelique's own idea of swimming clothing isn't an actual suit but shorts and a tunic that falls to the edge of the shorts. "Heh…poor Solan." she murmurs his way. "Think she's hiding another candidates knot for you at the bottom?" she can't help tease. Her attention shifts as someone comes up. "Thank you!" she says cheerily. "Fort's duties." She's also clad in sandals as well. "Are we going to meet dolphins?" someones excited to meet dolphins!

Kimmila holds up a hand with a grin. "I /never/ said to bring riding clothes and a swimsuit. I said to dress warmly and pack for a swim." Because that's different. Somehow. She just eyes Polana for a moment and then rolls her eyes with a shrug, giving Darlen a helpless shrug. Candidates - what're you going to do? Except step back a bit and grin, shaking her head at Solan. "You'll be fine."

Darlen grins as well, looking the group over. "We will at the end, yes," he reassures them, glancing at Polana and then away, amused. "That's fine," he reassures her. "C'mon in, I'll show you around."


Dolphin CraftHall - Search and Rescue Clearing

This clearing lies just outside the main courtyard of the Dolphin CraftHall. Originally built to house those riders, and their dragons, attending 'Search and Rescue' courses with the craft it now also provides a place for those craft members who have impressed to rest when visiting or working at the hall. The clearing itself is nestled into the side of a mound of higher ground. The higher ground shields it from the worst of the weather and makes it quite difficult for the winds to whip through, providing hot sand for basking dragons in nearly any weather, as well as some shelter up against the mound, where a slight overhang casts its shadow during the day.


Polana looks down at her feet as her friends chuckle, that blush beginning to creep up her cheeks again. There is an audible sigh of relief when Kimmila doesn't chew her out or anything of the sort, instead rolling her eyes and shrugging. Looks like some's getting used to Polana. As the group begins to move Polana walks with them, moving to stand near Solan as she whispers, "watch, something is going to go wrong."

The young woodcrafter nods to Kimmila and decides it's time to man up about the whole thing. If they're going for a swim, then they are /going/ for a swim and that's just the way it is. Recalling his recent encounters with the eggs, Solan breathes deep and lets those shards of remembered strength suffuse him. It'll be fine, really. Walking forward with the group, his customary smile has returned and his eyes sweep across all that's there to be seen. But then Polana is commenting that something is going to go wrong and Solan can't help but smirk. "No children here today. No mine tunnels to cave in. What could /possibly/ go…no, wait," he laughs, "I'm not going to finish that sentence."

Xavier leans in to Polana whispering as well. "It's not like something always goes wrong, besides how wrong could things go in the warm weather with shipfish around?" He gives Solan at grin. "Well I guess I finished that one for you…" He gives a chuckle while trying to listen to the crafter.

Angelique follows along, satchel slung over a shoulder. If she thinks there is a difference between swimming clothes and a swimsuit, she doesn't give any indication of such. Awe…they have to /wait/ until the end. She'll wait with thinly veiled patience! She moves to stand next to Solan, if no one else is already at his side, her attention on Darlen.

Kimmila trails along at the back of the group, shifting into her role as chaperone. Ahead, Darlen leads them down the trail towards the dolphincraft hall. "Here, as you can see," he says with a sweep of his arm, "is where riders and dragons stay when they come to visit. We have a lot of riders that come to train with us, especially from Xanadu's search and rescue wing, whom we work very closely with. Especially during the storm season. Who can tell me what dolphins - not shipfish, if you please - are good for?" He offers Xavier a little smile before waiting for their answers.

A musing tone enters Polana's voice as she comments, "remember the trip to techcraft? You don't suppose we've jinxed it, do you?" Well, it they hadn't before that comment probably has. Ooh, a question, which means a chance to prove that she's smarter than she looks! Without raising her hand or anything Polana grins before asking, "aren't they used to tell when storms are coming and ships are sinking and whatnot? Detecting disasters?"

The woodcrafter smiles at Angelique as the woman sidles up next to him. "Xavier's trying to bring this whole Hall crashing down on us. You may want to send Skyler for help now, as a proactive measure," he smirks, looking back at his friend with mirth. As the question is asked, it's Polana that has the answer and Solan smiles at her with encouragement. 5 points to Polana-dor? The distinction between calling them 'dolphins' rather than 'shipfish' has Solan intrigued and he hopes more is said on the matter.

Xavier tightens his smile a bit. Appearently he should call them dolphins. "Well, I mean I know they are helpful for finding things in the water and can tell you if fish are around." He grins at Solan then smiles at Angelique. "I swear I'm not trying to bring down the hall around us. Just open the water below Solan." He gives a chuckle and a pat on the shoulder just two friends joking with each other. "So Darlen, why use Dolphin instead of shipfish?"

D'ani is there too, he's just been very quiet today. Having helped transport some of the candidates on Dremkoth, he's been following along in the back of the pack, hands shoved in pockets with his mind on something or other. He's half-paying attention to the group, like a mediocre chaperone, but not really following what their guide is saying about the dolphincraft hall - bad student! But he's been here before. He does catch the talk about jinxing but doesn't comment other than to chuff a soft, derisive laugh through his nose.

Angelique smirks faintly at Solan's words of mirth. "Indeed, think Skyler can save us?" blue to the rescue? They do have larger version outside though. Much closer. "Oh no…no opening water below Solan. Bad Things Happen." says she. As far as the question posed she gives it a moment's thought. "Dolphins can rescue those far from shore to bring them in."

Darlen glances at Polana curiously. "What…happened at the Techcraft?" Is he having second thoughts? In the back, Kimmila just rolls her eyes and shakes her head. Diplomacy lessons. That'll be next. Darlen pauses in the clearing, waiting until the Candidates have quieted down before he responds to their statements. "They do have a good sense of storms, yes, and they can help rescue crews in sinking or sunken ships. They can also detect pregnancies, did you know that? And we don't call them shipfish because that's not what they're called. They're dolphins. They're mammals, not fish. You don't call dragons anything but dragons. So we don't call dolphins anything but dolphins." With another smile, he beckons them to follow him into the hall.


DolphinCraft - Entrance Corridor

This wide corridor stretches from the large double doors that are the entrance to the hall to a set of stairs that descend downwards into the ground. The corridor is made of stone but softened considerably by carpeting and a set of tapestries along each wall. Along the left wall the tapestries tell the story of the great crossing from early in Pern's history, dealing with the dolphin part of it of course. The other side of the corridor doesn't tell any story in particular, simply being scenes of dolphins and dolphineers, the first seems to be a picture of the craft hall at Kahrain as it was first formed and the last is the new Craft Hall from overhead, the angle letting you see the bluff and the entrance into the main cavern. In the middle of the corridor there are double doors on either side, leading into the common room and dining hall.


Polana snorts in amusement before commenting, "nah, we're candidates from Fort. We'll get something much more interesting than the hall crashing down or the water opening before Solan. Like… meat eating shipfish. One of us will lose a leg before the day is done." A playful smile crosses her face as she lowers her voice, but not so low that a certain bronzerider can't hear, and whispers, "I bet it's D'ani, he's unlucky like that." Oh, look, she got it correct! Or at least partly correct. Polana is beaming as she follows the group, her ego having been nicely stroked.

As mentions of sudden drops into open water abound, Solan's mood dampens slightly. He knows they're joking - and he appreciates the ribbing of friendship - but part of him wishes this particular fear of his had remained a secret. But then a thought strikes: the notion of working together, of not judging, of being honest and loving. Lessons the eggs seemed to teach and with a nod, Solan dismisses his embarrassment and says, "Better get that floaty ready." When the distinction between dolphins and shipfish is made, the woodcrafter is suddenly nodding. The bit about pregnancy detection, though, especially catches his interest. "How do they know that?" Maybe it's a dumb question but Solan grew up focused on woodcraft, not ocean mammals.

It's probably some minor weyr-management sort of thing D'ani's mulling over, some boring facts and figures, for he doesn't look troubled. Just… preoccupied. He's catching the gist of the conversations floating around him, smirks at Polana's comment, obviously doesn't believe in bad luck either, but if she feels he's bad luck, her candidacy might be doomed? He doesn't say that, remaining silent - and behaving. Setting a good example.

Xavier nods his head and listens not realizing that dolphins could be used to find out that sort of information. "True I guess they arn't a fish." He rubs the back of his neck and slight grin on his face realizing he was zoning out ant he looks at D'ani. "Hey D'ani, didn't realize you were here."

Angelique had no idea that they could detect pregnancies so she blurts out without thinking. "How can a dolphin do that?" yes, she just spoke before thinking. Oh noes! And her question is right on the heels of Solan asking the same thing! Polana gets a quick look. "Dolphins. He said not to use the term ship fish." her tone is that of one speaking to a little who doesn't understand. Her attention shifts to D'ani as he's greeted by Xavier. "Heya D'ani." she greets with a wave,.

Darlen pauses, fixing Polana with a long stare, his smile faltering a bit. "Pardon me," he says, clearing his throat, "but if you wish to be a part of this tour I need to ask for you to be quiet, focused, and - again - to not refer to them as shipfish." Turning his attention away from Polana to Solan, the Journeyman smiles. "The same way they sense fish in the water, or a trapped sailor. Their sonar. They 'see' with sound. It's difficult to explain, but they can sense a baby in the womb before the woman might even know. Some dolphins are better at it than others. Now, we have one task to complete before we go to see the dolphins. A team building exercise. Follow me down to the main cavern."


DolphinCraft Hall - Great Cavern

The Great Cavern is a large cavern of which about three quarters is underwater. The rest, the part you are on now, is above the water, and forms a natural dockside from which to watch the activities of the Dolphin members of the craft. At the western end of the cavern lies the craft's teaching areas, while at the eastern end a heavy tapestry keeps sound out from the domain of the craft's DolphinHealers, the Healing Cavern. To the south a large arched entrance leads deeper into the Craft Hall itself.
Between the land and the water is a natural rock shelf, normally only a few inches below the surface, where human's can rest while they work with their partners, steps have been carved into the rock, making it easy to climb up from (or down to) the ledge. At one end of the ledge a frame extends out over the deeper water beyond it, and from it hangs the main halls 'Dolphin Bell'. A chain extends from the bell and hangs down into the water, allowing Dolphin's to summon humans if needed.


Polana shoots Angelique an annoyed glare. She isn't a toddler, thank you very much. And then there's the guide, telling her off, telling her to be quiet and focused, and not to call them shipfish. Sorry mister guide, it isn't exactly easy to undo a whole lifetime of calling something something just because someone wants to be technical. When he turns around and heads then down she wants to mock him, she soooo wants to mock him. But she also values her candidacy so she doesn't, instead following him with a slight huff.

Polana shoots Angelique an annoyed glare. She isn't a toddler, thank you very much. And then there's the guide, telling her off, telling her to be quiet and focused, and not to call them shipfish. Sorry mister guide, it isn't exactly easy to undo a whole lifetime of calling something something just because someone wants to be technical. When he turns around and heads then down she wants to mock him, she soooo wants to mock him. But she also values her candidacy so she doesn't, instead following him with a slight huff.

Asking Polana to be quiet is like asking a storm not to rain… Solan smiles at the young woman encouragingly, his expression perhaps urging her not to bristle too much. When she quietly fumes instead, he nods at her with a bit of pride. Well done! The urge for silence, though, has Solan going quiet as well, listening to the explanation about 'soh-nar' and how it's used to detect pregnancies. "That's pretty crazy," he admits to Darlen. "But also kind of amazing," and there's a smile on Solan's face as he considers the other possibilities of sonar's use.

So the form for the- Wha? Was that his name? D'ani takes a sluggish moment to re-filter Xavier's comment, trying not to give him an odd stare. Instead it's a faint smile. "Yeah, been here since you have. We were, uhh… behind Varmiroth though. So you might've missed us?" His hands remain in his pockets and he gives amicable nod and smile to Angelique, "Hey." That fades, however, on the heels of Darlen's reprimand to Polana. He adds nothing to that, but his gaze, mildly disapproving, remains on her, watching her reaction to their guide, shaking his head at her huff. At least she kept her mouth shut, so there's that. His expression relaxes a touch.

Xavier thinks about it for a bit. "It would be useful if we could get Dolphins up into the forests to see if a tree has been eaten through with pests or not. I somehow think might be a bit difficult to keep the things alive outside of water though." He grins at D'ani. "I still want a chance to ride adragonback from a bronze. Maybe I'll head back to the weyr with you when this is over hey D'ani."

Angelique has always known then as dolphins as everything she's read in any Avias files that the harper has taught from has referred to them as such. So Polana's quiet huff gets a brief look from Angelique but nothing else. She's on even ground with the other Candidate now, no assistant headwoman knot on her shoulder these days! Instead she simply refocuses her attention forward. "What type of team building exercises?"

Darlen doesn't comment on Polana's attitude, because she's quiet. "It is amazing," he says to Solan with a smile. Then he's looking at Xavier, as if he's unsure if that was a joke or not. "In…the forests? Keep the /things/ alive?" From the back, Kimmila speaks up, "He meant no offense, Darlen, he's just thinking out loud. My apologies." And she gives the group a /look/. Stop being insulting! Darlen turns back to lead them down the stairs and into the great cavern, where other dolphineers move about on their business. In the water there are several dolphins, chatting away with their partners, one getting a bandaged fluke checked out. "It's an exercise we have our apprentices work at, until they've mastered it. Line up there, one of you on the shore, and the rest lined up about arm's length apart, to here," he says, pointing to a bucket with a line drawn around the top of it." So they need to form a line from the water to the bucket, which is a few yards up the shore.

Polana notices the nod from Solan, and the look of disapproval from D'ani. She smiles to Solan but does not do anything to address the look from D'ani, it probably wouldn't end well if she does. Oh, look, and the guide looks like he's going to chew out Xavier now. Not only is he snippy but now he's messing with her friends. Polana resists the urge to snarl, even if only because Kimmila and D'ani are there. Instead of saying anything she does as he says, taking the spot closest to the bucket.

"D'ani," Solan gives the bronzerider a wave as Xavier draws attention to him. "Good to see you," he smiles in passing, moving as directed down the hall. When they reach the cavern and the exercise is explained, the woodcrafter looks at the water, mulls something over, and then makes a decision. Striding right to the shore's lip, he takes station closest to the water. He'll wait there patiently for instruction while the others line up.

Xavier decided he would just try and stick to being a little more quiet clearly this dolphincrafter isn't nearly as laidback and carefree as the rumors of the dolphincraft would have you believe. He walks down right next to Solan in line Solan on the shore followed by Xavier an arms reach away. Which is a fair distance with the kinda arms Xavier and Solan have. "So what is the expercise?"

Angelique looks around as it's partially explained. Hrm! Line he says. So she lines up next to Xavier.

"Sure," D'ani tells Xavier easily. He's an agreeable, easy-going sort. He just sort of headshakes about the conversations, trying to keep a straight face when Darlen questions the tree-comment. He flashes Kimmila a twinkling look. Kids, right? Not that… he's much older than some of them. He drifts along with the group, finding himself beside Solan. "Solan, how are you?" he responds genuine warmth in his greeting. Doh, he's been so out of it. Polana, behaaave. He's waaaaatching you.

Kimmila hangs back with D'ani, watching the group with an amused quirk of her lips. "I think we need to send Polana to finishing school," she mutters. "Girl looks fit to burst, and all he did was ask her to shut up while he was talking." And then…D'ani is going to parcitipate?

Darlen waits for them to get in line and then he grins, holding up a large sponge. "The goal," he says, tossing the sponge underhand to Solan, "is to fill this bucket," he points to the one near Polana, "with water. Using only the sponge. Fill the sponge and pass it along the line to your teammates. You," Polana, "will squeeze the water into the bucket and pass it back to Solan. The record time is twenty seconds. Let's see how long it takes you all."

Polana raises an eyebrow at Solan when he takes a place by the water. Someone's feeling brave. She can't help but smile at the sight of it. Of course D'ani is watching her, D'ani is always watching her. She can feel it and it creeps her out at times. That or she's paranoid and imagining things. Oh look, she took the spot with the most work. Awesome. Polana holds back a sigh as she waits for the sponge, a sponge she will apparently have to squeeze an awful lot.

As D'ani approaches, Solan is smiling back. "I'm very well, thank you," he says, quietly, so as not to irritate Darlen. "And you?" He'll listen for the reply and nod, glad the rider is here, until Darlen begins speaking. Then, he's all kinds of attention to what the Dolphincrafter is saying. As the sponge is thrown his way, Solan catches it, lowering it towards the water but not plunging it in yet. "Whenever we're ready," he smiles at his teammates. "We'll have to be quick /and/ gentle with this thing, though," he says. "Jerky movements and too forceful a toss will leak the water out too quickly."

Xavier focuses up as the sponge is passed to Solan, "Alright lets do this. Lets do it team Fort." Looks like Xavier is pumped and ready to go, now he's just waiting for the rest of the team to agree and for Solan to pass him the sponge. "Fluid motion like the ocean."

"Be sure to be quick Polana!" calls out Angelique to the sponge girl, not noticing any stifled sigh or other signs that she might not like the position beside the bucket. Pass the sponge! "Kind of like hot stone." she muses. "Pass a hot stone around until time runs out and last person holding it gets burned." lets hope not too badly! She's ready to start whenever they are it seems. "Ready." she says with eyes on Solan and Xavier.

Nono, D'ani is just going to watch. He edges back when the Candidates get buckets and sponges. Y'know, no sense tempting fate, here. He's purposely a good distance from Polana, just in case her aim is bad or she decides to exact revenge for all the mud the other day.

In the pool the dolphins, from various points around the pool, take avid interest in what's going on at the ledge. Game? Oooh! They LIKE games! A few drift closer while one glides the length of that ledge, sharklike.

Polana does not hesitate to call, "ready!" Really, she is. The sooner they can get this over with the better, maybe then they can finally go swimming and get away from that guide. Polana has added him to her list of despised people, right below whoever dyed her hair.

That fin is eyed warily - what's the dolphin doing? - but the woodcrafter has a job to focus on. "Here we go," Solan grins. Quickly thrusting the sponge below the water's surface, he feels it fill nice and fat in his hands. With gentle swiftness and an expansive reach, he's handing the water-gorged sponge off to Xavier, glad for the man's enthusiasm but hoping he'll be careful. When you're a big, strapping lad like Xavier and Solan are, it's easy to squeeze harder than you intended. One bad squeeze and a lot of the water could be lost! So he'll watch as its handed down the line, smiling with encouragement and standing ready to take and fill the sponge again when it's his turn.

Xavier decides that perhaps closing his hands around the sponge is a poor idea so with curled fingers he accepts the sponge and turns to pass it to Angelique. His body for as large as it is turned very smoothly due to turns working in cramped spaces like under tables.

"She sure does," Dani replies to Kimmila, agreeing with her observation of Polana. "She looks like that a lot around people, I've noticed. She did, however, make a great nursemaid to the calves." He finds this somehow very amusing, says the expression on his face. "Not bad," he answers Solan cheerfully from over by the wall where he's leaning against it with one shoulder casually to watch. He goes quiet during the exercise.

Dolpinic chattering: Oooh they're filling buckets with water. The one lurking just off the ledge pauses near where the bucket is and turns tail-down, rising out of the water. He sprays a stream of water aimed for the bucket, but only some of it goes in. Oops?

Fast, fast, they have to move fast. The moment the sponge reaches her Polana gently takes it, at at least she is gentle until she reaches the bucket. Then she squeezes like her life depends on it, a good amount of water entering the bucket. And then SPLASH! There's some more water in the bucket, yes, but more of it is on Polana. A yelp leaves the purple haired girl as she stumbles back… accidentally knocking into the next person in row. Candidate dominos, anyone?

"C'mon Polana," Solan calls out supportively, "pull it together. This exercise was /made/ for someone like you." He's still smiling but also trying to bring the team back into order, dolphin play aside. "Pass the sponge," he encourages, waiting as it's handed back down the line. Again he pushes it into the water, letting it become as full as possible before taking it out and passing it on to Xavier. "We can do this," his tone is warm and supportive. A quick glance is spared the dolphins and he grins at them. Playful little guys, eh?

Xavier takes the sponge and passes it to Angelique this time he was a bit rougher with it. "Sorry." He grins at the dolphins. "Hey guys, you want to join us? squirt water in our bucket." He's no master of the dolphin tongue but he hopes that they understand english.

Kimmila stands back and watches with Darlen, amused at this exercise. "Slow, steady and gentle."

Angelique is getting wet. It's something that's hard to avoid as a wet sponge is being passed back and forth between them. She tries to pass it along to Polana though she's quickly having to duck the stumbling Polana and thusly the sponge falls from her hands to hit the floor.

How was Polana made for this? In what way was she made for passing a soaking sponge down a line while being sprayed by dolphins? Solan is her friends and all but sometimes she just doesn't understand him. Angelique manages to drop the sponge, causing her to mutter, "great." With that she picks in up and squeezes the measly amount of water still in the sponge into the bucket. As she passes it back to Angelique she calls, "hey, shi-I mean, Dolphins! Think you'd be up to helping us a bit?" A pause before, "without getting me even more wet?"

The dolphin, after emptying his mouthful of water, levers back, still elevated in the water and makes a laughing chatter at first Xavier, then Polana. He's… already helped? He does understand humans, but he doesn't attempt to talk directly to anyone but his trainer. Who, incidentally, calls him to her side.

If Solan knew what Polana was thinking, he might offer that - as a messenger of sorts - she's routinely responsible for delivering messages without losing her cool if life throws a curveball. Even so, he watches with a bit of disappointment as the team dynamic begins breaking down. It's not the dolphins' job to fill the bucket, it's the /Candidates/'. "Guys," Solan smiles again, "this isn't is so bad. Just have to get into a rhythm." The sponge is handed back and filled again, quickly sent back toward Xavier and a nod. "Good work, Xav," he says.

Xavier keeps moving passing the sponge when he sees the dolphin swim away. "Please come back dolphin…" He laughs before a idea strikes him. "What prevents uss from moving the bucket closer to the water?"

"The rules," Darlen says with a grin. "Nice thought though."

Angelique doesn't drop the sponge this time. She'll prove she's not a weak link! A grin is cast as Solan offers encouragement. "Course we can do this!" she agrees with a glance over towards the dolphins.

Polana quickly takes the sponge and squeezes, making sure to get every drop of water in the bucket. They actually get a rather good amount from this round, and the first go combined with the splash from the dolphin means they have a pretty good amount. A grin crosses her face as she passes the sponge back and calls, "we're getting closer!"

"Much better," Solan chuckles back at Polana. The sponge makes its way back to him and dunking it into the water, he then quickly but delicately hands it off to Xavier. The thing is positively gorged with liquid and dripping down on the ground below. If it can be handled carefully, maybe another pass or two will finish off the bucket? When it's passed on again, Solan says, "Keep it going, Angelique. You're doing great," he smiles down the line. As for Polana, Solan can't help but be proud of how she's recovering from her surprise dolphin splash and getting her head back into the exercise.

Xavier takes the sponge with great care and passes it to Angelique. A small sigh escaping as he hears he can't just move the bucket.

Better late than never? Another has arrived to escape the less than cheery weather back in Fort Weyr, though Th'ero's delay is likely from duty. Leaving Velokraeth to join Varmiroth and Dremkoth, the Weyrleader has also stowed away most of his riding gear, though his dress is still, to a degree, a bit on the formal side. Fresh from diplomatic work, no doubt! It won't take him long to puzzle out where they may have all gathered, though Th'ero is careful to keep his approach as quiet as possible as he joins either Kimmila or D'ani where they stand watch. "Nothing gone awry on this one?" he murmurs quietly. Who needs greetings?

Kimmila smirks at Th'ero when he arrives, the bluerider not looking surprised to see him here. "Nope. Well, a few of them could use some lessons in diplomacy, but no one's gotten lost or turned the power off." Even though that technically wasn't Kyzen's fault. Watching them work, she whistles softly. "Keep it up…"

Pass this way…pass that way. Angelique's fallen into a bit of a ryhtym for this, intent to get as much water into the bucket as they can. Teamwork at it's best!

Polana might not be the best with teamwork but even she's falling into a bit of a rhythm. Once she has the sponge she squeezes with all her might, rendering the bucket nearly full. She passes the sponge to Angelique before calling with joy in her voice, "I think one more will do it!

Solan lets out a whoop of almost-triumph. "Nicely done, everyone. One more pass," he nods, taking back the sponge from Xavier and dropping it? Gah! Thankfully, it falls right into the water anyway and Solan pushes it underneath, letting it fill up before pulling it out. Got a little cocky there, Solan. Chill, man. Nodding to himself, the sponge is quickly handed back and thought their time will likely be pretty not-so-great, he's still proud of how they eventually got it together. "This could do it!"

Th'ero has to at least check in? Give the track record… "Lessons in diplomacy?" he drawls with a sidelong look to Kimmila and a slight frown that's easily read as 'what happened?' without him actually saying it out loud. Shaking his head, he glances back out over the water and chuckles. "They're brought to the Dolphincraft Hall but are passing a sponge?" he muses softly.

And getting sprayed with water from said (oh-so-innocent) dolphins! Or one of them. Which by now are setting into the sprit of the thing - even if they're not allowed to help anymore - and click-chattering-cheering them on from the sideli- er water. Every one of them have their heads sticking out of the water, eyes following the progress of that sponge.

Kimmila shakes her head a little bit, with a 'later' mouthed to her weyrmate. "Yeah, it's to get them to work together or something. It's fun to watch," she says with a grin.

Or something. There's distraction in Angelique's passing from one side to Polana's side as she can't help but look towards the dolphins in the water!

The last pass of the sponge isn't exactly 'passed' as Polana takes the sponge once Angelique gets distracted. She squeezes the sponge one last time, effectively filling the bucket. With an excited 'woot' Polana punches the air, a picture of victory surrounded by dolphin spray. Of course, victory soon turns devious. A sly smile spreads across her face as she picks up the bucket and calls in a sing-song voice, "oh D'aaaaaani! Did you know revenge feels wet?" With that she takes a step forward and, if the bronzer runs, will proceed to run after him. No one muddies Polana and gets away with it!

Victory! Solan starts congratulating them on a job well done when Polana suddenly picks up the bucket and stalks towards the bronze rider. "Oh no," he says, facepalming. This can't be happening. They're here on an official excursion to the Dolphincraft Hall. People - important people - are watching and /judging/ them as potential riders. Setting his resolve, Solan steps into Polana's path and smiles, "Pol, c'mon. Let's save the splashing for in the ocean when we're done, yeah?" He hopes the request won't upset her but right now, there are more important things than a little fun revenge. This visit - like the one to Landing - could seriously earn Fort a bad reputation.

D'ani remains in his nonchalant position shoulder to the wall, hands in pockets. He regards Polana with a slow smile creeping across his mouth. His brown eyes are perhaps more serious than the good humor his expression implies. Oh, he gets her wish for paypack, but she does need to learn a few choice things like respecting authority. One of his hands is tugged out of his pocket deliberately and extended towards her, palm up. He drawls, "Go ahead. Toss it at me. Be prepared to put your white knot in my dripping wet hand right after you do." He'll just wait there calmly to see what she decides to do.

Th'ero's frown deepens when Kimmila silently tells him 'later' and is instantly suspicious but nods his head to show his agreement. Later, then. "Team exercises? Hmm, can't say that I am against that sort of activity!" As for fun to watch? It is! Not that the Weyrleader will openly admit to it. Nope! Then he's all but scowling by the time Polana is grabbing that bucket, with Solan attempting to intervene and D'ani just nonchalantly standing there with that warning laid out. "She wouldn't dare…" he mutters under his breath, already shifting his weight in preparation to move — though he lingers for just a moment longer.

Kimmila stiffens beside Th'ero, shaking her head firmly. "That girl…" she mutters, but…she'll wait to see what Polana does.

Hey! They did it. Angelique looks around quickly to see if they did it in the right amount of timed. If this was even times. Then Polana starts to take off for the bronze rider and Angelique steps back a pace or two. Gotta keep clear of any water being solashed around! This does mean though that she's now closer to the edge of the pool. She tenses, perhaps worried that indeed water will be thrown.

You see, there are some things Polana is painfully lacking in at times: common sense. That is one of the reasons she likes Solan, he helps her figure out things that she wouldn't figure out in her own. You can practically see her figuring it out after Solan speaks, moment before D'ani himself speaks. Her eyes widen a slight 'oh' leaves her, quiet enough that only Solan could hear. Carefully she sets the bucket down and takes a step back, her hands in the air. Her face is beginning to turn scarlet as she stammers, "sorry, I-I kinda forget about ranks and stuff at times." Oh, look, she's switching between staring at her feet and giving Solan a look of relief. It is in one of those looks that she mouths, 'thank you.'

"Always the joker," Solan says out loud, trying to cover for Polana with a nervous laugh. See? She wouldn't have actually done anything to jeopardize Fort's reputation or endanger her own Candidacy. "I think we've all gotten wet enough with that sponge, right?" He laughs again, placing a hand on Polana's far shoulder and leading her back - if she follows - towards Angelique and Xavier. Turning as they walk, he murmurs, "You're welcome. We're all still /learning/," he encourages, hoping the young woman will indeed carry a new understanding from this. Much louder, he says, "Well done, guys. That was pretty fun once we got into the rhythm of things." A look is thrown Th'ero, Kimmila, and D'ani's way. Don't worry, we're all good…nothing to see here. Right? Gulp.

D'ani remains motionless until Polana has made her decision, eyes remaining locked on hers, though his face is mild rather than stern. He simply nods gravely to her; apology accepted, hopefully lesson learned? He stuffs his hand back into his pocket rather than striding over to shake Solan's as he'd really like to do. His brown eyes track the young man thoughtfully for a moment as he regroups the Candidates, then he turns to Th'ero and Kimmila and he murmurs his approval, "I like that guy. He's got it together."

No water is thrown and that is, indeed, a blessing! Th'ero relaxes with a low exhaled breath, shifting to stand casually again by Kimmila's side. The Weyrleader's gaze will remained fixed on Solan and Polana, even Angelique and Xavier as the situation resolves itself peacefully enough. Mistakes happen and sometimes better judgement does get left behind in the heat of the moment. As for Solan's claim that it was a joke? Maybe Th'ero buys it a little. Maybe — okay, not really. That look is met with a smirk and a slight incline of his head. He's seen enough but all is well! "I agree and as do I," Th'ero murmurs low to D'ani as he folds his arms loosely over his chest and darts another quick glance out to the Candidates. "They've all their own potential. We'll see how they balance each other out as a group."

Applauding, Darlen steps forward. "Not bad. Took a while, but I think you can see where your strengths and weaknesses are as a team. As Candidtaes - and potential future Weyrlings - you're going to have to learn to work together with your wingmates. So this is just a taste of what your future might hold. Now," he gestures to the water, "let's get in there and you can meet some dolphins"!

Kimmila tilts her head to D'ani when he approaches, nodding her head. "Yeah, I've always liked him," she murmurs back. "He's got a real good head on his shoulders. Aware of things."

Angelique hmms faintly, shooting Polana a look as it's mentioned the need to work together now as Candidates and later as weyrlings. Depending. The possibility is all there! She'll fall into line with the others now, choosing Solan's other side with her attention to Darlen as he's talking still. The murmurings aren't heard but the blue rider and Weyrleader do get a brief look. "Into the water?" now Angelique's gonna enjoy this. With the invitation right there she kicks off her sandals and moves to do a little hop into the water from the edge, at perfect ease in the water!

The sheer amount of relief she feels for Solan at the moment is overwhelming. At the moment he could ask her to wrestle ten calves in eight feet of mud and she would. There is a relieved smile on her her, in fact she looks overjoyed. But do you know what she want to do now? Calm down. So with one last grin to Solan she goes off running, doing a canon ball into the water.

Solan is, of course, oblivious to the discussion taking place about him. So instead, he'll grin at his teammates and say, "Dolphin time!" To Darlen, the woodworker nods his head and replies, "Thanks for the encouragement…and for the exercise. It'll definitely help us in the long run." And in some ways, maybe it already has? Smiling back at Kimmila, Th'ero, and D'ani, he calls out, "You all coming in?" Quickly his once-loose-shirt - now clinging to him thanks to being drenched - is removed and the young man is sliding into the water as well, laughing loudly as Polana cannonballs into the water. Smiling, Solan begins swimming towards her and Angelique, some dolphin play firmly in his thoughts.

//This is what the dolphins have been waiting for! Released from their trainers' sides, they rocket through the water around the candidates as they’re entering the water, surfacing near each one, chittering a welcome. More water is flipped by nosing the wavelets to splash them playfully before they circle once more, awaiting their slower trainers to swim out and join them.

Angelique swims great in the pool showing no fear of being dunked by the playful creatures. She'll relish any time in the pool with them and no doubt ask tons of questions to their trainers about specifics about the dolphins, how to play, how to train and how to do tricks if they do any tricks. Overall this will certainly be the highlight of the visit and she's remaining on best behavior as well in that she's polite and cordial to Polana whenever their paths cross.

Let the fun begin! Nothing quite like a swim in the ocean and with dolphins, to end a day! It'll be an experience to bring back to Fort Weyr, one to be shared with Candidate and weyrfolk alike. Th'ero will simply shake his head to Solan's offer, "No, but thank you!" he calls back, glancing between D'ani and Kimmila as he does. They'll be standing watch — for now. It'll give the Candidates their 'freedom' and fun while in the water with the dolphins, with far less stress worrying about some high ranks being there as well! Time will progress and perhaps a touch reluctantly, the Candidates will be called back from the waters, instructed to dry off and dress in preparation for the return trip home back to Fort Weyr!