Theory of Potential - Heart of Hearts
Who Sephany, Zevuki
What Sephany and Zevuki talk about what makes a Dragon choose.
When Spring - Day 17 of Month 5 of Turn 2714
Where Igen Weyr - Inner Caverns

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Igen Weyr - Inner Caverns

Igen's inner cavern is smaller than the main living cavern, but isn't small by any stretch of the imagination. Tables and comfortable chairs are placed about the room, clustered together, and often-occupied spinning wheels and a large loom sit in one corner. A small corner-table holds klah and various crudites and appetizers, refreshed constantly by the kitchen's staff. The walls and much of the floor are covered with a mosaic of colorful rugs, many handcrafted by Igen residents, dampening noises and giving the cavern a more intimate feel than its size immediately would suggest


It's late afternoon at Igen, and though the sun is beginning to drop in the sky, the air is still warm. While the living caverns are growing packed as the dinner hour approaches, the lower caverns are quiet, cool and dim, all pleasant sensations after the heat of the day. Zevuki's receiving a few glances, some knowing, as he emerges from the resident's hallway, carrying a trunk. He's got the bulk of it balanced on his shoulder, though his footsteps are slow and careful so as not to upset said balance, as he moves along the caverns.

And the Fortian's invade again. Well, one anyways. Sephany is dressed for the weather, though her scarf has already been pulled down and draped around her shoulders. Her steps are sure, without hesitation; she knows where she is going. Down familiar halls, up and down familiar stairs, and then to the lower caverns where she finds Zevuki and his trunk. There's a look on her face that says she's only a little surprised to find him moving; as if she had been told but had not believed it entirely until she saw it with her own eyes. "They told me but…" but her words fade off, and she flashes a smile instead. "I suppose congratulations are in order."

Zevuki hears her before he notices her — odd for the normally perceptive guard. The voice is familiar, though, so he lowers his trunk, muscles straining with effort, before he sets it down and straightens to regard Sephany with a flickered smile. "I… yes. It's strange how we were just talking about how we weren't sure how we would answer. I was sure I would say no, but…" he trails off, making a brief face. "How are you?"

Sephany comes to a stop some feet from him, eyes seeking out the space on his shoulder where a knot would be present. "Strange…" she murmurs, repeating his word, gazes going back to his. "I suppose that is the nature of things. I was speaking with Riohra just a few weeks past about what he would do if Kassala was searched and… she was Searched. And then you and I spoke about what we would do… and the choice was given to you." There's a dry sort of laugh, and a shake of her head. "Perhaps I ought to stop talking." Clearly not, though, as she simply continues with, "I am well… enough." A shuffle, and the packet of papers is drawn out again, though she hesitates before offering it and instead reverts to the topic at hand. "What made you decided to say yes? If, that is… you know why you did?"

Undoubtedly he notices her looking at his shoulder, and almost sheepishly, Zevuki draws the white knot — clean and newish looking — from a pocket. "Haven't had a chance to attach it on yet. Figured I'd move my things first, but — word travels fast." Perhaps he means Sephany's hearing of it, or perhaps the Weyr in general, given his gaze darts around, meeting the eyes of anyone that glances their way. A smile flickers, and lingers, as Sephany speaks, gaze shifting back to her: "Perhaps that means you're next, if the trend holds?" he suggests. His gaze goes down to those papers, but since she doesn't offer them, he's polite enough not to draw attention. "It was… the dragon. Chessylith. I asked him if he knew that his rider was meant to be his, and he said, well… that his rider was always his. Something about the way he said it…" he trails off for a beat. "It made me think that, if there was a dragon out there for me, looking for me, and I wasn't there, well…" he spreads his hands, and falls silent.

"It does," is murmured softly, for word spreading fast. Sephany's gaze moves, down to the knot in his hand, before going back once more. "I don't think so…" for her being next, and there's a brief flash of emotion across her face that may be unreadable; longing. Sorrow. Acceptance. And then it is gone, and she is smiling once again. "Did the dragon speak to you… personally?" she wonders, surprised. "Or was his rider kind enough to translate." The papers are held, for now, though they will be offered up soon enough. Once her questions are answered. "I have heard that before, as well. From other candidates," she explains. "It is a good reason to say yes," she offers, as if to reassure him. "And there is documentation to support such a thing; dragons going into the Stands for their chosen one, when those on the Sands did not meet their… requirements." A beat, and she moves forward a bit more. "Do you want some help? I can carry something, I'm sure."

His gaze on her, there's little doubt the perceptive Zevuki catches those flickering expressions. He keeps his own gaze even though, no pity or sympathy — just pretends like he didn't notice. "He did," the guard — former guard — admits, half surprised himself. "At first I thought it was the rider — they sound kind of alike? — but it wasn't. It was all very… unusual," he admits. His expression softens marginally when she accepts his reasoning. "I admit, it was more based on emotions than fact and logic, which is… different for me. It's reassuring to hear you say that. Oh… uh. I think I'm okay. But you can walk with me, steer people out of the way?" he asks, with a brief smile, as he bends in order to pick up his trunk again.

"That is amazing! Incredibly unique," and Sephany's voice holds all of the awe that she feels for that particular situation. "I think… it was a very good thing that you took the knot, Zevuki. If a dragon is speaking to you, it certainly means that you have the necessary traits to make a dragonrider." His suggestion that she make a way for him is met with a small laugh and a nod of her head. "Certainly, I can do that," and so she will, even if her usual habit is to slip and slide between people rather than clear them from her path. She stays close enough to speak, and truly the lower caverns are not so full as to need her full attention to this task. "I did go," she mentions, drawing the papers out again. She keeps them in hand, owing to the fact that he is now carrying a trunk and otherwise occupied. "But I must report that Telgar was a failure. The ice was declared too thin, and I was unwilling to take the risk. So I suppose you will just have to accept my report on High Reaches and we can call it a draw."

Zevuki sets a slow pace — either the trunk is heavier than even it seemed at first glance, or the guard is taking his time for non-obvious reasons. "Does it?" the Igenite sounds unsure — or maybe just surprised. "It seems to me that riders are as varied and different as any others. It's hard to determine what traits they find of interest." Apparently he's been researching — or maybe asking around. Amusement slips into his voice at her showing of the papers. "Maybe we should just call it on hold — and you can finish the Telgar report next Turn?" he suggests, smile apparent.

Sephany is certainly not trying to rush, even if she knows the way with certainty. In fact, a few steps later and she turns around to walk backwards, the better to converse. She at least has the sense to make a glance or two over her shoulder to ensure she doesn't do something as foolish as run into another person. Or a wall. "It does," she affirms, smiling brightly. "You are right about that; dragonriders are incredibly varied. But they all have one very clear trait in common," and she lifts her free hand, taps gently at her temple. "They all hear a dragon in their head." This seems to be important to the weaver, who eventually turns back to walk properly once more. "I cannot say what else a dragon would look for. But the ability to speak with them appears paramount to the Impression process." Her offered papers are folded back up and, after a moment's hesitation, tucked back into her bag. "Alright. I suppose I can do that. I should be quite adept at skating by then. At High Reaches, I was able to skate backwards," she notes with a grin at the guard. "Perhaps you will have a dragon by then, and I can bribe you for a ride."

Zevuki tips his head slightly as Sephany walks backwards, gaze skirting past her to make sure the way is clear. "That normally happens after they impress, regardless," he observes, ruefully. "But I get the sense Chessylith was mostly… excited. And determined to make me say yes. I didn't realize dragons were so complex." He gives a low chuckle, as she tucks the papers away. "Backwards? I don't believe it," he declares, clearly goading her. There's a brief shake of head, but he clarifies: "If I did have a dragon, I don't think you'd need to bribe me. I'd be happy to take you."

"True," Sephany concedes, head tipping slightly with the acknowledgement. "However, of the two of us, who has lived their entire life in the Weyr, hm?" she teases, flashing him another smile over her shoulder. "I have given incredible thought to this," she continues. "And while I cannot claim to be any sort of expert, I have a theory. It stands to reason that the ability of one to speak with their dragon must be an inherent trait in the human half, for the partnership to work at all." A methodical rehearsing of what she has likely given great thought to. But then she hesitates, and her voice turns much more conversational before continuing. "All of my older sisters Stood without being Searched by a dragon; it is a weyrborn right to ask to Stand even if they are not Searched," by way of explanation. "But none of them was successful at Impressing a dragon. And my theory is that they lack the required ability to communicate with the beasts at all." And another smile at the guard, wide and triumphant, "So you see? That a dragon would speak with you says that you have the required trait. You shall just have to polish your charm, to see it through." A huff of feigned annoyance for his lack of belief, and she fixes him with a look that says she does not appreciate being called a liar, even if her grey eyes dance with mirth. "Then next winter, I shall prove myself. And I will take you up on your offer and abscond with your dragon to the High Reaches, and you will have your proof."

"I guess I have to concede authority to you on that," Zevuki acknowledges with a brief laugh. It fades as he listens attentively to her theory. "So, by that theory… if a dragon, any dragon, speaks to you, you are rider material?" he asks, sounding unconvinced. "Wait… charm? What do you mean?" he asks, brow furrowing. "I'm perfectly charming, and I can't see how that affects anything." He gives a little grunt as he shifts the weight of the trunk, moving along in her wake. "Deal," he says, to her latter challenge, a brief, wry smile appearing.

Sephany spends a moment looking ridiculously triumphant before she laughs with delight and decides, "Yes. Indeed. That would be my theory. But, having a dragon talk to you is not required. Though it is definitive proof, I would say." She drops back, falling into step rather than leading the way. "I was teasing," about his charms. "You are perfectly charming, if a bit stiff at times," which is clearly further teasing on her part, if the grin is any indication. "It certainly couldn't hurt, could it? As you said… who really knows what a dragon is after in their potential 'mate?" A beat, and a flash of her eyes to the trunk he carries. "Do you want to stop? Is it heavy?" she queries quickly. "Though the cavern is just there," and she points ahead, to a dark opening further down.

"It's fine," Zevuki assures her. The guard does have an ego, even if it isn't often shown, and he's not inclined to let himself be defeated by a mere trunk, and so he keeps moving, muscles straining under the weight but bearing up. "If I don't impress," he picks up the conversation, "Does that destroy your theory?" Her suggestion that he's too stiff earns a sidelong glance — now that she's walking alongside — though he doesn't voice a protest aloud.

Sephany does not mention it again, though there's a bit of a look for the trunk and the straining muscles. "No," is her quick answer, right back to the topic at hand. "It would not. My theory is that you have the potential. But potential does not equate to success. It could be just as likely that you do not Impress until your second, or even third, time Standing. If," she continues with a glance down the hall, "you chose to continue Standing." Perhaps she caught that sideways look, for the corner of her mouth twitches just a little as she offers an apologetic, "You are a guard. And seem to be a good one, at that. So it is expected."

"So, you have a theory that cannot be conclusively proven or disproven." Zevuki's tone is amused. "Have you shared this with the dragonhealers? Perhaps they can help with records to back your claim." Or not as the case may be. There's a brief grimace. "I'm not sure if I'd continue to stand if I didn't Impress. I guess it would be another of those decisions to make when it happens. I'd be loathe to leave Igen," he admits. He slows, as he manoeuvers the trunk through the opening into the candidate barracks. There's already several cots claimed, though apparently the guard isn't too fussed and selects one of those nearest the entrance to lower his trunk down against. Exhaling a breath, he rests a foot on the top, while regarding Sephany. "And what," he asks with interest, "Is expected of a weaver?"

A dry laugh echoes his words, and Sephany admits somewhat reluctantly, "Well, when you put it like that… I suppose so. It shall forever be a theory." A shake of her head for mentioning it to the dragonhealers. "No. It's just my own theory. But as you pointed out, there is no way to prove or disprove it, so I'd rather… not mention it to those who likely know way more about dragons than I ever will. It's just… Well it would explain why some people are never Searched, wouldn't it?" she wonders, though it is more or less a hypothetical at his point. She does not enter the barracks with him, but rather remains at the door, curious grey eyes scanning the area before coming to rest on the guard-turned-candidate. "Expected?" she repeats, a little surprised. "Well… I suppose the same as any craft. To study well, to excel at the Craft, to put skills to use and create-" she pauses. "Or do you mean in temperament? I'm not sure there is a Weaver expectation for behavior, aside from the obvious."

"Maybe it's less about being able to hear dragons, as much as it is they can sense when people don't really want to be a rider, in their heart of hearts. After all, everyone lies to themselves, more so than anyone else." Clearly it's the cynicism of the guard speaking there, though Zevuki does seem sure about that particular point. "Luckily for you, I know no dragonhealers or riders well enough to share your theory, even if I've a mind to, so I think you're safe." There's a brief smile, but he asks with what seems genuine obliviousness, "What's the obvious temperament of a weaver?"

"Perhaps. Though your theory is not any more testable…" only she fades off, and frowns briefly before giving him a studious look. "Does that mean you desire to be a rider, Zevuki? In your heart of hearts?" There is no accusation there, nor in her next question. "Do you believe that you lie to yourself? Do you think that I do?" The wall is given consideration for a moment as she decides, "I do not think I lie to myself. I believe I am the only one I can be truly honest with. I am the only one I can trust." But the topic is not pursued further, rather she circles back to temperaments and whether or not there is an obvious one for Weavers. "I simply meant that… well. We are to be polite. Hospitable. Creative, of course. Ensure that we represent ourselves and our Craft in a good light. I am to be cordial and pleasant, and conduct myself with the highest sense of respect for myself and others," though as she continues, it may become obvious that her words are not necessarily her own, but perhaps those from an authority above her. "Wouldn't you expect a weaver to be all of those things?"

"If I'm honest, I really don't know," Zevuki admits, with a shake of his head, shifting his weight before he straightens. "As you said… not any more testable than your theory," he concedes, with a gesture towards her, a brief smile conceding the point. He goes still, gaze on Sephany as she looks at the wall, taking in her words. While he doesn't disagree verbally, neither does he challenge her assertion of self-honesty. Finally, he says, "I would hope that most people aim to such things — not merely the weavercraft. But as you're the only weaver I've personally gotten to know — I'd be hard pressed to do otherwise than agree," he says, with a genuine smile.

There is a moment, after her unanswered question, in which her grey eyes leave the wall seek out his green, and Sephany is very intently studying him. It passes, and she relaxes against the doorframe, turning so that her back is pressed against it and she can idly follow the pattern of the stone opposite her. "That is a very nice thing to say," she decides, pleased. "I am glad I've left such an impression. I do try," she says idly, though the last bit is more lighthearted and playful in tone. A long exhale of a sigh, and she decides, "I should let you settle into your new accommodations. I have distracted you far long enough," but she hesitates before standing straight, adding, "Would you mind if I came to visit again? Even if I have no excuse to do so other than to see you?"

"It is the truth," Zevuki responds, as if that's the takeaway point here — rather than it being a nice thing to say. There's a slight shift of his posture as she speaks, adjusting his weight, the barest of hesitations before he says, "I would like that." He moves now, taking the few steps towards the doorway as if to escort her even that short distance. "Would you give my regards to Riohra when you're back at Fort — and let him know of my situation here?"

"It is still a nice thing to say," Sephany argues playfully. The doorframe holds her attention, so she does not catch the shift of posture. But the words make her smile, despite the hesitation. She pushes from the doorframe as he approaches, prepared to fall into step if they should head for the bowl. "I will. Though I expect you will likely see quite a bit of him here, as well. With Kassala being here," she says needlessly. "I will tell him, all the same."

"Very likely," Zevuki agrees, on her suggestion about Riohra, leaving that other conversation about being nice by the wayside. He will escort her to the bowl, largely silent, giving careful nods to anyone that passes by. "Good evening, Sephany," he finally bids her farewell, turning to depart soon after.


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