Who Aranthi, Kezresan
What Aranthi and Kezresan meet again.
When Winter - Month 1 of Turn 2718
Where Staples, Fort Weyr

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Fort Weyr - Fort's Forests ~~ Forest Beasthold
This area of the forest houses Fort's main Beasthold. A large section has been cleared and houses pastures, barns, stables, an indoor arena, small cottages for workers, and the watchwher dens along the outskirts and up close to the shelter of the trees.


This is Kezresan's second trek out to the beasthold today. The first occurred much earlier in the morning, pre-dawn in fact, when he came out to help feed the runners. Admittedly, he was not expected at such an hour but, truth be told, this is one of the few chores that the healer-turned-candidate was thrilled to be assigned. When sleep escaped him, he headed for the barns. And now, sun high and breakfast finished, he's back to pursue the actual tasks assigned to candidates. Namely: Mucking stalls. Joy. But Kez parks the muck cart outside of an empty stall and, grabbing a pitchfork, quickly steps in to get to the task at hand.

Aranthi practically skips into the stable, making sure to securely close the door behind her against the chill. Whistling to herself, she hops towards a black mare's stall, cooing softly to her as she reaches into her pocket for a redfruit to hold out.

A jerk of his shoulders, and Kezresan freezes at the sound of the door. "Hellow?" A moment later, and he's peeking out from the empty stall and peering down to where Aranthi stands. "Oh. You." is offered with no small amount of wariness, eyes narrowed suspiciously before he's ducking back in to rake the pitchfork through the straw.

Aranthi turns her head slightly, and then her eyes narrow. "Ah." Well, that covers that, right? Then she's back to cooing at the mare, rubbing her soft nose while she nibbles the redfruit from Aranthi's flattened palm. "Chores?"

"Yes." The 'obviously' is left unspoken, but definitely suggested in that tone of voice. "What's your excuse?" Even if that's pretty obvious, as well. Kez will just focus on tossing small forkfuls of sodden bedding into the cart in the hall, working in a methodical manner around the stall.

Aranthi seems confused by the question. "Excuse? I don't need an excuse to be here. This is my mother's runner, so I've come to visit and maybe take her out on a ride if the weather stays nice enough."

A snort, and Kez glances down the aisle as he tosses another forkful of straw into the cart. "And you've nothing else to do with your time? Chores, or lessons?" A glance for the runner, and he's back to work. "How nice, to be so free." He's not being intentionally sarcastic; Kez is more or less incapable of such a thing, not at all comprehending sarcasm to begin with. More, a lamentation of his own lack of free time, perhaps.

Aranthi doesn't quite get the sarcasm either, answering him honestly. "Not today, no. And yeah, it's very nice, the freedom." Then she glances at him for a moment. "But…but you're a /Candidate/." It comes in a rush of juvenile jealousy, and then she's ducking into the mare's stall with a click.

"I am," agrees Kezresan, because it is true enough. A shrug of his shoulders and he decides, "For now at least. It won't last," and he doesn't seem too keen on his chances, either. "And I'll be back in the infirmary, soon enough." Scrape-scrape, toss. Frown. "You could stand if you wanted too, couldn't you?"

"Not unless I'm Searched!" comes the petulant grump from the stall. "What do you mean it won't last? Are you going to get kicked out?"

"Can't you ask to stand? You're weyrbred," Kezresan points out, slanting a glance over the stall in the direction that Aranthi's voice is coming from. "And given your parents…" because at some point, he's wised up about who she is, apparently. "I'm sure they'd let you." A shake of his head and a firm, "Of course not. But eventually those eggs will Hatch. That's the point, isn't it?"

Aranthi shakes her head even though he can't see. The sounds of brushing come from the stall. "No one can just ask to Stand. You have to be Searched. Or at least invited by a goldrider. And Nyalle doesn't like me. But the eggs will hatch, yeah. You might Impress!"

"You could," insists Kezresan. "They did it all the time at Telgar." He's pretty certain of this, but given his age at the time? Memories can be deceiving. A shrug, and he goes back to his task. "Why doesn't Nyalle like you?" he asks before he can stop himself, a grimace coming soon after. "And yes, I might," he agrees. "But there are far more of us," candidates, "than then," eggs. "So the odds are not very good."

Aranthi scowls. "This isn't Telgar. This is Fort. We do things /right/." Okay then. "I don't know. Doe she like anyone? Do you want to Impress?"

A snort for that, and a barely suppressed roll of Kezresan's eyes, even if they're separated by stall walls and it couldn't possibly matter if she saw the expression or not. "Alright, then," he decides, unwilling to argue further. "I'm sure she likes someone," he muses. But the question of whether he wants to Impress? That gives him pause, pitchfork ceasing it's movement as he thinks on it. "I don't know," he admits at last. "I like being a healer."

"You can be a Healer and a rider. There's a crafter's wing. And the search and rescue wing needs Healers all the time, because people are stupid and need rescuing."

"I can," agrees Kezresan, putting his eyes to the floor despite not really seeing it now. "But it's entirely different. Being a dragonrider comes before being a Healer," and he rather likes being a healer, entirely. There is, however, a flicker of a grin and a huff of amusement for those stupid people. "They do, yes. I suppose Search and Rescue would not be terrible…"

"Yeah, because your dragon comes before anything. Before /everything/ else. Even kids." There's a pause, and more brushing of the runner. "That's what my mom does sometimes, when she's not doing the cotholds stuff. Varmiroth is little so he can get into places others can't."

"What if I don't /want/ it to come before everything else," argues Kezresan, though it's really not a debate he wants to have with a child. "I like who I am. I like what I do. I like—" a sudden huff and he finishes lamely with, "I like my life as it is." A scowl, and a quick return to shoveling straw with a vengeance. "My mother is also a dragonrider," he confides. "She did… well. She does something similar."

"Then why did you agree to Stand? If you don't want to have a dragon?" Baffled, Aranthi finally peeks out of the stall, looking for him. "I don't think dragonriders have a choice. It's just…how it is."

"Because," answers Kezresan, sounding somewhat startled at the question, "I was asked. It's my /duty/ to Stand. The dragons must have options," he explains, echoing words spoken to him on more occasions than he can count, "And not everyone is acceptable to them. What if I didn't, and one of them…" but he lets the thought die unspoken. "It is," for dragonriders and how it is, spoken without resentment.

Aranthi looks a little perplexed. "So how will you feel if you /do/ Impress? I'm sure it'd be fine though. I've never met a rider who hated their dragon." She visibly shudders at the very thought of something so…so strange.

"Hm. I'm not sure," Kez says honestly, pausing once more to consider the question. "I have seen enough hatchings to know that I will not be /upset/ about it. I would never be… I wouldn't say /no/ to a dragon," he adds, equally horrified at the thought, impossible as it might be. "I don't think it is possible for a rider to hate their dragon," he concludes. "If it happens, I suppose I will deal with it then."

Aranthi nods. "I think riders change to suit their dragons, that's what I think. And I think it's so wonderful that you don't /care/ that you change, because who you were before isn't who you are with your dragon, so it's like a second life."

Kezresan considers this in silence, once more paused in his work. It is after a long moment of thought that he offers a somewhat hesitating, "But what happens to the people that loved who you were, before? What if they don't love you anymore, because you're not… you."

Aranthi gives that question a lot of thought. "I guess…you'd be sad? But…not too sad because you have a dragon now. I've seen it before. Riders and non-riders after a Hatching. After Candidacy. They grow apart. It's…it's different. People are different after Impressing. But," she quickly adds, "sometimes it works. Sometimes it's fine. I'm not sure why it works sometimes and doesn't other times."

"Do you suppose," muses Kezresan, "that it makes a difference if the other person is already a dragonrider?"

Aranthi nods. "Dragonriders stick together. They get each other. They understand. So…yeah. Dragonriders tend to stay together."

A shallow nod of his head, unseen behind the walls, and Kez decides, "That's good." But he'll still overthink it, of course. Because that is who he is. At least he gets back to the task of stripping the stall, tossing soiled straw into the cart. "And who knows. I might not Impress at all," and then there is nothing to worry about. "Are you going riding?"

Aranthi nods again, clipping a lead onto the mare's halter and leading her into the aisle. After all that grooming, the black mare's coat shines. "Yeah, I think I will. You still cleaning?"

"I am," sighs Kezresan, tossing the last bit of bedding into the cart, "But I can take a break. If," he amends, "there is a runner that I can borrow." He doesn't have his own, of course. They've established this previously. But as Kez retreats from the stall, putting hands to cart handles and setting off down the aisle to dump it, he can't help but to peek at the stalls that he passes as he looks for a likely candidate to ride.

Aranthi brightens considerably. "Of course there's one you can borrow! They all need exercise, I'll go find out which one you can take!" She darts out, leaving the mare standing patiently in the cross ties.

"Perfect," because if a runner needs exercise, that sounds like a chore! And if it's a chore, then Kezresan can do it without feeling guilty for abandoning his /current/ one. As Aranthi runs off to find out who he can ride, Kez sets to the task of dumping the soiled bedding. The empty stall is left to air out, and undoubtedly he'll fill it with fresh straw once they are back from the ride.


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