'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.

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.

Early afternoon, it is, in a Fort undergoing the sometimes-fascinating metamorphosis from winter to summer, that incorrigibly messy season of Mud. Er, that is, Spring. Spring. Right. Guard trainees are doing maneuvers in the sloggy deep mud of the northern bowl, trampling and slushing and generally wearing themselves out for no particular reason. Khyonai stands apart from the group, watching and every-so-often calling out a critical comment. Oh, new recruits. So young and tender and deliciously crunchy with ketchup.

Snow one day, slushy rain the next. So is the loveliness of spring at Pern's oldest weyr, it would seem. Mud everywhere! Hotaru's boots are covered in it. The teen has climbed up onto a stack of crates in the bowl not too far from where Khyonai is barking out orders to some of the new guard recruits. She's munching on a redfruit and watching them do their drills. And probably putting off whatever else she's supposed to be doing right now. Which is probably unpacking the crates she's sitting on, or finding something in them and hauling it back. "Oop, that one cheated!" She yells, pointing to a guard trainee who didn't -quite- make it to the line on that sprint.

Cesran comes in from the northern bowl and he has his pack on that is no doubt stuffed full of techcraft manuals and plans. He hears Hotaru's voice and he moves over to her, "Said the girl who cheats at ice skating races." He teases her and gives her a smile, "Hello there by the day." He gives a nod to Khyonai as well, "Hello Cesran, apprentice techcrafter."

Mud or no mud, creatures are hungry with no grass growing in the pastures yet and thus critters must be fed. Sadly, Edani is laid up from work while those cracked ribs continue to mend and other beastcrafters are covering his chores in the pens. Restless with little to do but study, the beastcrafter is taking a break and doing something useful and easy on the abs - walking the herding canine who just weaned that passel of pups up in the shed yonder. Still moving carefully, he's mindful not to slip as he goes. It's Hotaru's comment that draws his attention to the exercises going on and he makes his way near enough to watch the training and not be in the way. Cesran's there just before him and Edani has to chuckle, "Did you cheat at ice skating?" Amused. Very.

With the impassive face that so very typically represents the entirety of his interactions with many people, Khyonai turns to said cheater and assesses the individual for a half-considering moment; "Drop and give me twenty." There's a moment where it looks like the young man is going to protest, but down he goes, right into the squishy mud. "Thank you," is his sidelong comment to Hotaru; "Missed that one." A sketch of a frown crinkles the straight line of his brow at the thought. To Cesran, there's a brief nod: "Khyonai," he self-introduces. An eye remains on the group of recruits, but Edani attracts his attention as he trundles through: "Are you supposed to be out and about?" His voice isn't censorous, however; more amused than anything. A touch of approval, perhaps, at the idea of flaunting those damned Healer's rules.

Hotaru grins to Cesran. "Hey, it takes one to know one." The teen swings her feet a bit from up on her perch. She gives a wave to the approaching Edani. "Hey, boyfriend. How's the ribs?" The red-head has a smug grin on her face. "It weren't a real race. Plus I didn't really cheat. I just didn't start the race until I was closer to the finish than everyone else." Which, by definition, would be cheating. More or less. There's a grunt from Hotaru as she pushes herself off the crates, landing with a bit of a muddy splash. "You're welcome." She tells Khyonai, in between bites of her redfruit. Though the poor young guard stuck doing push-ups in the mud is probably not too happy with her. "Can anyone run with the guards? Or is that not allowed?" By run she means participate in drills, apparently.

If her handler is stopping, the canine is going to relax. SPLISH! She plops full-length in the mud quite at home in it. Welp! Washing her is going to be some other beastcrafter's problem. Edani now, he's impervious to the plight of the guard doing pushups in the mud. He works in mud - and worse frequently enough to be blase that other people have to endure it on occasion. "Khyonai." His simple greeting to the guard is accompanied by a somber nod and then a furtive glace towards the cavern opening. "Probably not out here if they knew the going was this sloppy," he admits with a shrug of one shoulder. A half-smirk tugs at one side of his mouth. He can always claim it wasn't in his parole document or something. He expects the sort of greeting he gets from Hotaru. His response is the typical big brother sort of ruffle most girls hate, fingers making disarray of that red hair before finishing up with a light pat to the top of her head. "Oh? That's quite the verbal side-step there, Hotaru. You'd make a fine harper." And there's Cesran, whom he hasn't yet met so to the teen he nods and says, "Edani, beastcrafter."

Khyonai has a brief glance to Hotaru. "If you get permission from whomever is conducting drills, I don't see that it would be an issue. So long as you can keep up," the last part of this being stated in a rather dry tone of voice. The recruit has finished his push-ups and has now rejoined the bulk of the others. Khy pauses to call out orders for the cohort to break into pairs and start on basic staff techniques, which they do - groaning as they go. He turns to Edani with a broader expression that is his usual: something that quite passibly could be a grin. "Healers," is his only statement, half-derisive in familiar fashion. He does squat down on his haunches to extend his knuckles to the flopped-out puppy, something like a croon on his voice. Puppies. Everyone loves puppies.

Hotaru chuckles a bit as the canine lays down in the mud. "Aw. What's his name?" Or her name. Hotaru isn't experienced in sexing canines, so she doesn't know. The red-head grunts as her hair is mussed by the beastcrafter. She shakes out her head and then fixes it, eying Edani from over her red spectacles. "Perhaps." Is her response to he making a fine harper, followed up by a grin to him. "Would you rather be dating a haper, then?" She asks him. "Oh. I'm Hotaru." In case Khyonai didn't catch that from the other two. "I can keep up. It looks fun, though." She tells the guard confidently. Whether or not it's true remains to be seen. Also she has an odd view of what is 'fun'. Then squats next to him to also pet the puppy.

Healers indeed! Says Edani's grimaced agreement with the guard's one-word summary. "Especially when they hold your craft advancement over your head for noncompliance," he mutters. He shoots Hotaru a crinkly-eyed look at her enthusiasm for running in the mud. This is one weird chick - that's written all over his face for a moment before a teasing grin takes its place, "Wouldn't those clunky boots come off in the mud?" That might be fun to see! Mama canine is large enough to stand on hind legs and be head to head with the six foot tall beastcrafter but she is still a puppy at heart! Still she laps up attention from any and all sources; she's happy to oblige both Khyonai and Hotaru both, heaving herself up and sloshing the few steps over to them while Edani plays out the lead between his fingers to give her the freedom to do so. "Her name is Repa," he replies while pretending to consider dating a harper. "I'd date a grown up one, yeah." says he a beat later. Repa, meanwhile is nosing whoever she can reach while his handler remembers to ask, "Hey Khyonai, do you know if the guards have seen anyone up near the pens besides beastcrafters and riders lately?"

"Well-met, Hotaru." While Khyonai is still watching the guards, seems like his attention has been truly distracted by the pup (and by pup, of course, meaning canine - all dogs are pups, right?); luckily, none of the recruits seem to be lagging. They're all probably paranoid that this is a strange tactic to lull them into complacency… His attention jerks back up to Edani with a crook of an eyebrow; "Craft advancement? Are they holding you back from" a brief assessment, "journeyman? How can they - can they even do that?" Fingers are happy to bury in the soft spots behind ears and along jaw, deft scratchings given in the manner of one well acquainted with the canine species. "I'm not sure," he replies to Edani's last, slowly; "I can check the night reports for you, if you'd like, or ask the sergeant. He'd know if anyone would."

Even Hotaru frowns and furrows her eyebrows when Edani says the healers were threatening his advancement based on not following their rules. "It's a broken rib. Ain't like you got some contagious disease or something. My Gramma said fresh air was good for healing, anyways." The red-head rolls her eyes at Edani then. "They're laced. They won't come off any easier than your boots will." All canines were puppies! Even the huge ones. "Is she yours?" Hotaru asks the beastcrafter about the dog. She chuckles then. "Grown up in weyr terms, or in hold terms?" There was quite a difference there! After a bit of patting and petting, Hotaru stands back up to continue her redfruit. "Hi!" Is her greeting to Khyonai. Not really much for formalities. She raises a brow at Edani's question and Khyo's response. "Eh? Why? Someone stealing things out of the pens? There ain't missing runners or something, are there?" She asks a string a questions with her mouth half-full. Nevermind that it's not really Hotaru's business. She's curious!

Looking none too happy about it, Edani nods grimly. "Aye they can threaten." Those tricksy healers! "Said they'd report me to the hall and the Master would delay me. And they say moving around could change a crack to a full break if I fall." Which is why he's out here in the slippery mud, right? He just grins about Hotaru's boots and answers firmly, "My terms!" Hah. "She belongs to the Weyr, I guess. She watches the herdbeasts." Repa, meanwhile, is settling into those fingers nearly sighing with pleasure while her tail thumpa-thumps in the mud. Splot-splot-splot. "Either, if you would, Khyonai. We've been finding the gates left ajar and some of the stock out and wandering." He shakes his head, shrugging his ignorance as to why though. "Nothing's missing, just let to run lose. Hence the heifer chasing and (hooray-hooray) heifer-kicked cracked ribs. "The Weyrleader ordered locks but until they've been installed we need some extra vigilance."

Khyonai nods along with Hotaru's statement regarding fresh air and healing. He's startled by her re-greet enough to respond, "Hello," before thinking about the absurdity of it all; a cough and he redirects his attention back to the dog. A shake of the head for the veracity of Healers and their eternal mission to bugger up everyone's lives - his words, you know, of course. Repa continues to get attention as he nods once up to Edani. "I'll have them to you by nightfall. I'm stuck out here until I've worn the brats down," a jerk of his chin to indicate the raw recruits. "Babysitting." Very sad, but it does — his brow furrows. "I can ask the sergeant about getting you a revolving watch, if you'd like. The kids may not be full guards, but I'm sure they could discourage mischief if we posted them prominently enough."

"I guess I'll have to find someone else to take me out ice skating, then." Hotaru says to Edani. "Though I think the lake is thawed out now. So I guess there won't be any of that, either. Maybe we can still find a spot to go sledding in, though…" Hotaru ponders, scratching her head. "What are 'your terms', old as your ma and twice as wrinkled?" She teases. "It's probably some weyrbrats." Hotaru says about the gates open and whatnot. That's her unprofessional assessment, if nothing's actually gone missing. Staying up all night to watch the herdbeasts sleep isn't something that Hotaru fancies, and she wrinkles her nose at the suggestion. She may wants to run around with the guards, but that's about where her interest ends.

Edani chuckles at the back and forth hello-hi between the other two but he doesn't tease them. "Thanks Khyonai. Since I've nothing else to do but study, reading reports might be a nice break. I'll be in the library. Or… the infirmary if my warden deems free time is over." And a little sleuthing couldn't hurt either. He just grins at Hotaru's teasing. "I make 'em up as I go along," he quips. As for the watch, "They aren't already? Couldn't hurt but that would be a decision between the Weyrleader, my supervisor and the Sargent, I guess." But putting bugs in the appropriate people's ears - they can do that! Hotaru gets another crinkly-eye look, which is then directed to the sky. "Does it snow this late here?" It is late spring, but he's from the tropical islands and they're in the mountains, so what does he know?

"Well, there's the general watch," Khyonai states— "But I mean a dedicated guard. I'll ask the sergeant, see if he'll bump it up to the captain." Dumb bureaucracies. He keeps a mild eye on the recruits, but it seems as if he's making up his mind on putting them out of their misery, patting the big dog once more before rising to his full height again, still an inch or two removed from Edani's six feet. Dumb tall people. "Perhaps you should try to find someone your own age," is his unsolicited advice for Hotaru, though amusement quirks about the edges of his expression, lurking just under the straight-laced facade. "It /can/ snow late, but I imagine it's about done for the season. It's all muck, now, until summer dries it out."

Hotaru giggles a bit at Edani. "Oh, I see." Hotaru moves over to the crates she was sitting on earlier, looking them over for… something. "Generally it doesn't. But there might be snow higher up in the mountains someplace." The red head lifts some of the tops off the crates and sets them back down. Whatever it is she's looking for, she hasn't found it. She grins at Khyonai then. "How old are you?" Be careful, Khyo might be opening himself up to be the teens new 'boyfriend'. As in, the guy she teases all the time. "Yeah." She agrees with his assessment of Fort's weather. "At least the flower and things will start blooming soon. The rain is sometimes nice, too. As long as you're not stuck out in it all the time." She pulls the top off of one of the crates, taking it in both hands and smacking it against the bottom. A piece of the end has split off a bit, and she pulls it the rest of the way.

"I thought as much. I just thought maybe after I mentioned it to Th'ero he might've ordered a dedicated one." Though the Weyrleader does have rather a lot on his plate at the moment. "It's a good thought and great training for the new guys," says Edani. He manages not to chuckle at the advice given to Hotaru though adds his input, "Or Repa here can pull you." Across ice, snow AND mud even! Speaking of Repa, she's restless without her scritching and now Hotaru's gone and abandoned her too. She heaves to her feet, looking wistfully up towards the pen. She misses her cows! "Well, I'd welcome warmer weather. And it looks like Repa is finished with her walk. See you two later." He's off navigating the slippery path to the kennel with a vague wave.