'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 - Feeding Grounds
Milling herdbeasts dot this lightly grassy section of the southern end of the bowl. Fences keep them neatly secured on all sides, even extending into the lake, allowing the beasts ample drinking water without granting them an escape. Dragons young and old come here to hunt on a fairly regular basis, though not all come at once of course. From here you can easily make out the entirety of the Weyr's lake as it spreads out south and southwest to the tumbled rubble of the far shore, while the rest of the bowl lies beyond the fences to the southeast, east and northeast.

It's a clear spring morning, the skies are finally cloud-free and the humidity is low. What a departure from the recent weather! The feeding pens are quiet and the grounds have just been cleaned, soft earth turned to rid any remnant of gore while the beasts within awaiting the next dragon meal are munching hay from the rack unsuspecting it may be their last meal. Beyond that, a ways off, the barn windows and doors are open, allowing the fresh cool air to flow through, the sweet scent of hay mingles with the honest aroma of placid beasts. Inside is Edani, a few pregnant cows and a runner each in their stalls while the beastcrafter, released to light work, rakes the aisle between them.

Ezra and Zoi come up, the puppy on a leash and clearly hating it, struggling and biting at it. Ezra lets her, though, and ever time Zoi darts back to her he pauses to crouch down and rub her ears and shower her with praise, and then she gets a treat from his apparently limitless supply of pocket-food from his jacket. Which has changed. It fits him now, but the seams have been expanded with…pink fabric. Thanks, Zap. Bright pink fabric cuts a rather garish swath through the otherwise somber black leather, with turquoise and copper trim.

It's the sound of flail-scratch claws on packed earth and puppy growls that alerts Edani to Zoi and Ezra's approach. He can hear it over the soft scrrrrriiiiittt of the rake and so he peeks out to see what's up. The scene is so appealing that he pauses in the shadow of the barn door to watch them come closer, only turning to appear busy when it's evident he'll be caught spying. Raking may be easy, but Edani's muscles are still a little sore and a lot weak plus he's been at it - and a few other chores - for awhile now. Thus when boy and pup arrive at the door, he's more than ready for a little break. He's dressed back in jeans and an open-necked, loose-fitting shirt, sleeves rolled up, bit of hay in his hair, smudges here and there, which smear a touch more as he swipes his forehead with his upper arm. "Ezra, hello." He's greeting with an easy smile despite their last spectacular parting of ways. "Hey Zoi-girl." The beastcrafter greets her also, squatting to offer his hand.

Ezra stops when they're inside the barn, and Zoi flops onto the ground, panting and gnawing at a piece of hay. "Hi," Ezra says a little sheepishly, perhaps a bit embarrassed about their last parting. "I've been doing your chores. Why're you raking? Doesn't it hurt?" he asks with a frown. When Edani's hand is offered to Zoi, the canine wiggles forward to lick it and even try to nibble on fingers. Mmm, she loves the taste of fingers.

Edani pretends their last discussion went just peachy. "A little," he answers with a chuckle as he playfully tug-tugs a little on those puppy teeth clamped on his curled fingers. "Though it's been nearly a month since I got kicked and they were only little cracks. I'm mending. And I owe you your pay, don't I?"

Ezra looks up hopefully, but then tries to hide his eagerness with a casual shrug. "Yeah, I guess." It's no big deal! But it is. It's a /huge/ deal. "Haven't gotten her favorite colors though, I haven't seen her…I might just buy some in all the colors. Or pick some from the garden."

"So, lets see… four days at one-half mark a day makes two marks," says Edani as if he's juuuust now figuring the sum out. Gently pulling his fingers from between the teeth, giving Zoi a good ear scritching followed by a few head strokes, he pushes a hand to the floor, using the handle of the rake to stabilize himself while rising. "Let's see if I have that much on me (he does already and he knows it).” Digging in his pocket, he pulls out the coins, all smaller denominations and carefully counts out the full two marks so the boy can see, offers the handful to Ezra. "That's a good idea."

Ezra holds out his hands, cupped as if he's accepting food or Holy water. His eyes shine when the two WHOLE marks are dribbled into his palms, and he clutches them greedily to his chest. "Thank you," he says, his voice almost reverent. "So what else should I do for her turnday?"

"Count them yourself, Ezra," cautions Edani with a bemused half-smile for the boy's awe. "It's a good habit to keep from getting short-changed." Somehow the beastcrafter has fallen naturally into watchful-big-brother mode into his relationship with Ezra despite the kid's initial rejection of such an idea. Then, "Turnday? I thought it was a date?" There's a definite uptick of attention in Edani's question. "When is Inyri's turnday?"

Ezra ohs, blushing a bit behind his curtain of hair. Crouching right there in the aisle, he begins to carefully and sloooowly count out the marks. Maybe numbers aren't his strong suit, as he fumbles a bit and has to start over at least once. Finally he nods and shovels them back into his pockets. "S'good." And despite his rejection of the 'big brother', he's certainly latching on to the concept. "It is a date. Later. Um. I think her turnday is today. There's going to be drinks and stuff at the Tavern later, I think. I was gonna take her flowers. And this." And the boy digs into his pocket and brings up a hunk of wood. It's…terrible. Really. It's a hunk of wood that the boy has tried to carve into…something. If you hold it one way it looks like a rock. Another way and it looks like a star, sort of. A third way looks like…a heart? It's not even sanded, so watch for splinters.

"Today!" Edani is a bit dismayed. He holds his palm out to receive the carving, examines it from several directions before saying seriously, "So, artists usually name their pieces. What's this one called?" He dares not ask 'what is it?' so he's sorta hoping the name will clue him in. "I could order a small cake from the bakers. But," he glances at the sky, "will have to do it soon if we want it ready for today. I'm not sure how late they accept orders."

Ezra nods with a frown. "Yes, today. She just told me yesterday!" Really, they're lucky they were told at all. "She said she'd try to get a cake…" But he trails off, uncertain if that means that Edani shouldn't try on his own, or if he still should. "Um." Even Ezra seems perplexed by the idea of naming his carving. "I call it Fuzzy." That's no help.

Edani gives the lump of wood a closer, second scrutiny. He runs an experimental fingertip over the surface lightly. Are the splinters the fuzz? He decides it's best not to ask. Instead, "Fuzzy, hmm? And why's that?" The thought of Inyri getting her own cake causes him to frown heavily. "No one should have to rely on free drinks AND get their own turnday cake. She should have a party. With friends. And a card. And presents." He tilts Ezra a curious look. Instead of asking the boy the question that's on the tip of his tongue, he says, "Would you like me to help you throw Inyri a surprise party?" It's better than asking it the other way 'round.

Ezra shrugs a little bit, head tilted down. "'cuz when I think of Inyri I think of the drink she gave me first. It was…fuzzy. Fizzy, I mean. But that's a silly name for a carving. So's Fuzzy." Because Fuzzy is a great name for a chunk of stabbed wood. He really sucks at this. Then his head is snapping up though, giving Edani a wide-eyed look. "You think we can? We used to have the /best/ turnday parties back in Stonehaven. Mom'd cook allll this great food and Dad would make a cake - he was great at cakes. And there'd be presents from everyone. Useful things and always one toy too, so you didn't mind the clothes and tools so much." He rambles on and then blushes, ducking his head down a bit and kicking at a bit of hay. "Turnday's' supposed to be special…"

There's a very still quality to Edani's face as Ezra bubbles on about turndays past. Part of him is enthralled at the change in the boy's demeanor, breath held with the intent wish that it wouldn't dissipate, ever. But of course it does. His fingers have tightened upon that carving until his knuckles are white. "I know we can," is all he says in regard to that question, his voice rough with emotion. Turndays, well, the flood took care of those for him, so this will be the first he's been involved with for more than four turns. "Come on. Let’s go see the bakers and see if Shenanigan's has a turnday special for their dinners. Where can we find a place to buy gifts?" Someone's going to blow his entire savings if he's not careful!

Ezra hasn't celebrated a turnday since Stonehaven's destruction. This - throwing one for someone else - might have a healing effect on the poor boy. When he looks up and peers through his strands of hair, his pale green eyes are a little moist, but he blinks it back and coughs, using that excuse to wipe at his eyes with his sleeve. "Yeah," he says, his voice a little rough. "I don't know…we'd have to go somewhere. The Hold maybe?"

It might be bittersweet for Edani but he's choking down the emotion in his typical 'get 'er done' mode. "Come on then, we've a lot to do and little time to do it in." He hands that carving back and starts for the door. "Oh, Zoi. If we run she might not mind that leash so much?" And if the boy is willing he takes off at a jog. Zoi should love it.

Ezra nods, taking the carving and putting it into his pocket. He peers up at the older boy for a moment, and then tentatively reaches out to fistbump Edani's shoulder in a silent show of solidarity. And then off they go to get the plans done!