Who Doktah, Inri, Mirinda, Rulayn, Tiye, Zhirayr
What A snippet from the after-party of Kayeth's clutching. The dessert is amazing. The dragonhealing is discussed. The eggs are all black and that doesn't mean anything.
When Spring of Turn 2711
Where Living Caverns, Fort Weyr

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Living Caverns
This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.
Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.

The staff at Fort Weyr has had some time to plan this, and as soon as Kayeth headed to the Sands, they swung into action. As a result, by the time people start trickling in, the tables are already groaning under a weight of food — late lunch, early supper, afternoon pick-me-up or whatever the case might be for whoever approaches one of those noisy tables. Needless to say, there's also a lot of booze. And maybe the food is more prominent for quantity than fanciness — the desserts, though, that's where the kitchen staff's efforts shine. They've got a whole table to themselves, and the one in the middle is a model of the Weyr, crafted out of cake and pudding. (Okay, so it's kind of messy looking, and it'll look terrible once people start digging into it — but it will, at least, taste good.)

"You did a decent job," Inri, having now abandoned the glasses but otherwise looking exactly the same, informs Zhirayr solemnly. She doesn't look nervous, for once, talking to him! "The dessert is an absolutely most decent job." There's brightness to her eyes and delight in the smile, but her tone is all, eh, whatever.

Doktah isn't normally one for parties. Too many people. Too much awkwardness. But she'll put up with a lot for the promise of excellent desserts! She tries to sneak through the rush of people, looking to steal herself a glass of sparkling white Benden and a bowl of pudding as stealthily as possible, like a very hungry, boozy ninja.

Free lunch! Or wait, free pudding? Regardless, having watched the clutching go down without a hitch, and with a fresh perspective on how it all worked, Rulayn wandered into the living caverns to join fellow weyrfolk in celebrating the eight new additions to the Sands. "This looks amazing!" She calls out in passing to Zhirayr, headed directly for the bubbly pies. She weaves between hungry folk to secure herself a plate, before selecting an alcoholic beverage herself. Her choice, unremarkably, is the weakest wine offered.

"Thanks." Zhirayr, as dry as ever he gets — which is to say, absolutely parched. Convenient, isn't it, that he's got a glass of wine in hand? That wine is used as a sort of lazy salute to all the passing whoever-they-are who are tossing thanks his way, unlike Inri's more pointed commentary. "Just wait until you find out what made the lake part blue, and then you can come ask me for the last bit of decency that I hid in this job."

Inri squints at Zhirayr, then glances over her shoulder at Rulayn, smiles a little, and says, "Look. That's a young Weyr resident who isn't afraid to talk to you directly." Like she was? Like she still is. She's just doing it now out of a general sense of everything being weirdly okay. "You're very kind!" she adds, louder, Rulayn-wards, because any compliment to the lower caverns staff is a complement to her … somehow.

Doktah, on the other hand, is afraid to talk to Zhiryr directly. Then again, she's afraid to talk to most people directly these days. But after a spoonful or two of pudding, she finds herself compelled to follow Rulayn's example and praise the person who is presumably responsible for all the feasting. "Thank you. This is good pudding." Insightful as ever.

It doesn't take long for the pie to be demolished, and Rulayn is soon wandering over to Inri and Zhirayr with half a glass of wine. She's been trying to nurse it, but it's hard for the girl not to chug the stuff. It's weak enough to be juice! And yet, still strong enough to have the girl dancing on the table by the end of the night. "How long did the pudding take? It looks like an artist had a hand in making it!"

Who else is fashionably late? The Weyrhealer and her daughter, of course. Mirinda has been traveling back and forth between Southern Boll and Fort, as Lord Boll still keeps starting to get better and then worse again and won't have any other healer at his side. (Mirinda knows. She tried.) Taimri doesn't last by the adults long — she just waves, and then makes off to go toward children, nearly crashing into Tiye (who changed, and now looks like a girl in a pretty cocktail dress and not a disaster) in the process. But just barely evading.

Zhirayr manages to mostly hide his laugh, probably behind the wineglass — well, that and through mostly just muffling it. "I must not have yelled at anyone recently," he mutters at Inri, still smiling despite himself. "The cake got baked starting, eh, I think three days ago," he answers, squinting at the Invisible Calendar floating in the middle of the room to double-check himself. "Which is why there have been little cupcakes for those who have been lucky enough to grab them, the past few days. The shaping and the pudding got started yesterday — oh, hey, Mirinda, over here!" The hand not holding the wineglass is the one waving at his lady-friend.

Rulayn nods with interest, although lacking in cooking skills herself. Gotta admire craftsmanship and pay respect where respect is due! "My regards to the kitchen staff. It looks great." She sips her wine and looks across at Mirinda, not quite recognising the woman nor her daughter. She spots Doktah though, and waves to the other girl. "Tried the pudding yet?"

"That was yelling," Inri mutters slyly, Zhirayr-wards. "You have now yelled at someone, though I don't suppose it counts." She steals his wine for a second, takes one sip and places it back in his hands. Definitely feeling bold, today. "I'm sure they'll appreciate it," she tells Rulayn with yet another small, considering smile. "We'll pass along the appreciation."

Doktah turns enough for Rulayn to see that she does, in fact, have a spoonful of pudding in her mouth at that very moment. "S'delicious." She manages to mumble before pulling the spoon out, washing it down with a swig of her sparkling wine. She looks over the crowd and, finding very few familiar faces, naturally gravitates towards Rulayn. "Do you enjoy these sorts of things?" She asks, looking slightly overwhelmed.

Mirinda does respond to that summons, but slowly; she has other people to schmooze with first, giving glad tidings and politeness to a whole bunch of people. "I'm only here for a minute," she tells Zhirayr, and she looks embarrassedly down at what she's wearing. Which is … normal. A blouse, twill pants, boots. But it's not ~fancy~, and that's the sort of thing that would concern her. It's not quite appropriate. Even Tiye now looks like a fashion plate next to her. Mirinda is just neat. "I thought I'd need to come say hi, though, and Taimri wanted to come. Weyrwoman. Dragonhealer trainee I've seen a few times. People I don't know." Nods and greetings, indeed.

Zhirayr has finished making a face at Inri for her theft of his wine; he retaliates by … giving the half-glass of wine to Mirinda, apparently. "I'm glad you stopped in," he tells her, eyebrows wrinkling together briefly, "but — do you really have to leave immediately?" And courtesy: without actually waiting for Mirinda's reply, he raises his voice to speak to the people standing however much further away from him, and adds, "You're always welcome to tell the staff directly, whether tonight or some other time, if you particularly like something they did. It's a good way of getting special treats made for your Turnday, for one thing."

Rulayn shrugs her shoulders at Doktah. Being around a weyr meant there were parties quite often. Hatching here, a new clutch there.. "You get used to it." She smiles at the girl, drinking from her glass and nodding in passing to Mirinda and company as she makes her way back towards the dessert table. Another sugary cake is selected and the girl begins to stuff her face. For someone who looked so underweight and frail, she certainly had an appetite.

"Yes, keep eating," There's Tiye behind Rulayn. "You need to be less … small." It's not a criticism, it's just an observation, really. "Lift more weights, and eat more food. And run more. You'll have to come running with me, you know?" Were we supposed to take a break from work talk? It's a clutching; that makes it an apt time for dragonhealers to be working. Tiye's not exactly shying away from the food either, putting a whole tiny cake in her mouth.

Doktah glances sideways at Rulayn, arching an eyebrow slightly. "That doesn't really answer my question." She ponders a moment, looking up at the ceiling. "Wait. Maybe it does." She shrugs and downs the rest of her drink, scooting over to the nearest table to get a refill. It's then she spots the source of the voice from behind Rulayn. She blinks. "Friend of yours?" She asks.

Mirinda's excuse is, "I'm on call," and she's surprised Zhirayr is being intimate enough to actually ask her to stay, sort of, in a roundabout way, "And really not dressed for it."

Yes, well, sometimes Zhirayr is actually capable of intimacy! Sort of! In a roundabout way! Ahem, goes both his narration and Zhirayr himself. "This isn't a late-night party," he points out, and then sort of half-jerks his head at various other people around who aren't so much dressed up for the occasion. A lot of people are just wearing, well, clothes. (So far, nobody has shown up not wearing clothes. Let's be grateful for however long that lasts.) "Also, I may have ordered the pastry chef to make an extra few Star Stones so that I could have one. They're spun sugar." Eyebrow waggle. "Want to share it?"

Rulayn almost chokes on the mouthful of cake when Tiye suddenly speaks. She hadn't noticed the other woman approaching (despite the massive height difference) and turned, craning her neck back to look at the woman standing nearly a foot taller than herself. "Running? I-I guess.." That'd be better than lifting weights at any rate. She looks over at Doktah and smiles. "This is one of the Healers I work with. She's been helping me learn."

Being that tall doesn't always mean that noticeable, and the greenrider's pretty good at being soft-footed, plus, the desserts were distracting. "Yeah, you gotta be fast, you know. For emergencies. Can't all be book learning." She stands a little taller, because that is what everyone needed, someone who was five foot ten slouching pulling herself into her full six feet, "Tiye, dragonhealer grade three-almost-four, green Naisanith's, hi."

Inri raises her eyebrows at Zhirayr. Both of them. Her glasses do not fall off, because she took them off, remember? "In public?" she asks him, trying not to giggle; maybe her fear has worn off a little bit too much. "Really, though, why wouldn't you get one, you actually have to ask for one to be saved special for you?"

Doktah raises her glass to her new extremely tall acquaintance. "Nice to meet you. I'm Doktah, Journeyman TechCrafter." She idly adjusts her glasses with one hand while sipping her drink with her other. "Grade three is roughly equivalent to a non-Senior Journeyman, right? Congratulations on the approaching promotion." She takes a quick glance at Rulayn, then looks back to Tiye. "Are you Rulayn's mentor, then?"

Zhirayr gives Inri a very droll look. "There's a limited number of Star Stones," he points out. "And logically speaking, it would be selfish of me to claim one of those few — which is why there's a whole extra set, so that the leadership team can have them if they want. One of them might be for you, even, if the pastry chef still has a crush on you. I'm not actually sure." Come oooon, Mirinda, won't you? Say you will.

Mirinda should say no, just because that's what the meta is asking for. She doesn't; she's watching Tiye, Rulayn and the one she doesn't know thoughtfully for a second, then watching Taimri (who is probably harassing K'vir and the twins, but in a loving fashion) and then back to Zhirayr. "I guess," she concedes, looking tired. "You did so much work."

"Yes, Dragonhealers have a slightly different system." Rulayn points out before tucking into a second small cake. Then a second pie, then a third cake. Where all the food is going is a total mystery, because Rulayn seems to eat like there's no tomorrow!

"Mm," Tiye waggles her hand back and forth, the universal 'yes-and-no' gesture. "We don't really have ranks like that, exactly, so I mean, sort of — technically my proper craft rank would still be Senior Apprentice as a Healer — but also it's just a mark of what skills you have and what you can do. So … yes, but we're not allowed to say so, I guess? Promotion comes with time, has to do with how old I am, not what I did." As for whether she's anyone's mentor, well, "I'm the one around willing to teach hands on! Which makes me so by default, I guess, and also SHOULD mean I get to make her run." Dramatic fake-pout. Cake in mouth.

"Running's good exercise," Zhirayr inserts helpfully, mildly, before giving Mirinda another pleased smile. And, well, she's already holding his ex-wineglass, so he excuses himself briefly and goes and actually gets his own plate — piled high with all sorts of sandwich fixings and pickles and savory goodness, because it's the second plate that has a large wedge of Weyrcake and a bit of lake pudding drizzled over it. But hey, he's planning to share. Hungry, Mirinda? Taimri? Someone?

Everyone? How about everyone. Just hand everyone sweets. Even random strangers.

"I see." Doktah replies, nodding at the explanation. "It's no more or less confusing than any other craft's system, I suppose. No sense in standardizing something like that. Just so long as it works for your craft." She glances to Zhirayr, nodding and taking another sip. "Cardiovascular exercise is key to health."
It's Doktah who gets the big, approving smile from eavesdropping Mirinda (they aren't too far off from each other!), as well as the polite nod. "One of many, but yes, it is — and dragonhealing isn't a craft," she adds, as a gentle reminder. "It's a skill. Some people are very particular about that distinction." From the Weyrhealer's tone, it's clear she isn't one of them, but higher-ups she looks to and represents are. She swipes a sandwich.

Rulayn is soon done with her filling of desserts and quickly has a second glass of the same weak wine in her hand to wash it all down with. "I think mentor's a good word. Tiye has already showed me a lot of stuff. It's different from runners." The young woman shrugs and looks to Zhirayr as he comes wandering around with cake. It's tempting, but.. She'll pass. "It feels great to actually have a direction now. I didn't want to be cleaning muck off the stable floor forever."

Zhirayr clearly just wants to fatten everyone up; why else would he have ordered a giant replica Weyr made of cake? That doesn't mean he wants to fatten everyone up off his plate. Just Mirinda, apparently. (Well, and probably Inri, if she snatches from him.) "Personally," he adds dryly, "I'm of the opinion that every craft has a confusing means of ranking students — but then, I was never interested in joining any of them."

Doktah looks at Mirinda with an expression of mild confusion, tilting her head a little. "Well, yes, it's clearly a skill, but… aren't all crafts? I mean, what are crafthalls except places for the organized and methodical teaching of a particular skill?" She takes another drink, pondering the question for a moment. She is distracted from the philosophical question by cake. Sure, she's already mostly full of pudding and wine, but… "I'll have some."

"Different and yet the same, in kind of useful ways, you know stuff I learned way late," Tiye praises Rulayn, because of course she is going to do that. She and her much, much stronger wine. Which is making her a bit giggly. "What the Weyrhealer means is that some people are insistent on the distinction and make it clear that dragonhealers aren't a formally chartered craft. Makes a difference at Conclave levels'n shit." Yeah. Definitely getting on the drunk side.

Mirinda gives Tiye the worst icy look of disapproval, probably for the slurring and swearing. Not for the explanation, because it's right: "Yes, but as she said. We don't get to decide these these things. So it's officially designated a skill and not a craft, even though the definitions of the actual words outside the Charter context is different. It'll give you a headache if you think too hard about it, which is why I try not to, and I never said I agreed with it, either," shy smile returns, no thanks to the greenrider. "Just that I'm supposed to make sure it's not misunderstood." The 'misunderstood' in that sentence is said in a slightly different voice, along with air quotes.

Rulayn chuckles with good humour at the discussion between Tiye and Mirinda, rubbing her cheek. "Well I'm just happy to specialise in the one. It makes my grade less confusing." She shrugs, changing the topic with an even more excited tone of her voice. "So.. Those eggs. Eight, I think? Are they all supposed to be black?"

Doktah ponders all of these explanations, idly swirling the remaining wine in her glass. "Sounds like it's a distinction based on politics more than anything. Which ultimately means Dragonhealers deserve the same level of respect as any other craft." She takes a look at Mirinda and Tiye for a moment, then looks back to Rulayn. "It does seem like you'll fit in with this cr… skill, I mean… well."

Inri had just been going with the flow and enjoying the legal persnickety being someone else's problem. She hated those classes. She also kind of ignored them, but she can agree with Doktah: "Yeah, it is. Nobody's saying they don't except those muckity-mucks." Like you, Inri? Except she's not saying that. But she's a muckity-muck, technically. "Certainly Mirinda doesn't ever disrespect them, or any of our other Healers. And yes, apparently they are," there's a smile spreading across her face, now, "all supposed to be black. They're all trimmed differently."

Zhirayr gives Doktah a mild enough look, and doesn't hand over his plate. How, exactly, is he managing to hold two plates and eat? Well, he's good at keeping plates spinning in the air when it's a metaphor; apparently he's not too bad at balance when it has to do with actual plates, too. The Steward and his contortionism, on display once again. "The cake is available to anyone who wants to help themselves," he points out quietly, an undercurrent beneath the question of Dragonhealing and political recognition. Charters. Pfft. "The dessert table's right over there." And a shrug: "As Inri says. Eggs are always… well, unique, one way or another."

"Always?" Rulayn frowned, thinking back to the book she had been reading earlier. Then again, the illustrations hadn't been coloured.. "They did have different patterns though. Do those patterns indicate a colour? Like.. Stripes for a blue, spirals for a brown?" She looks to Tiye moreso for an answer to this, seeing how she's the one with more experience in this matter.

While Tiye is shaking her head, she's looking at Inri to make sure she isn't overstepping. "If there have been patterns in that, this is the weyrwoman who would know," she says, and then, with a little shrug of bare shoulders, "But nah. They're all surprises. Sometimes entire clutches are gold, too, and not a gold dragon among them — when most people just expect 'the gold egg' to hatch a gold."

"Not that it stops people from betting on what color is in what egg." Doktah observes. "There was quite a bit of that going on when I was a candidate at Igen. Not that I joined in. It all seemed impossible to predict with any sort of certainty. Then it's just gambling for the sake of gambling." She edges over to get herself some of that cake. Mmm, cake.

"My dragon's egg was blue," Inri adds helpfully. "And I think most people are making blind guesses about the gambling, but they seem to enjoy it. Thys keeps making huge amounts of money off it, so. No qualms."

Rulayn taps her chin, giving a small hiccup as a result of the wine. "Well.. What about personality then? Colour and pattern could indicate something like that, right?" She sways slightly and rubs at her nose, which has turned a slight pink along with her cheeks. She's not drunk though!

Zhirayr huffs a quiet laugh, having been thoroughly vacuuming through the food on his plate(s). "It could, and in theory eventually you might even be able to come up with a study that would say what different patterns or colors implied — but then you'd always have plenty of dragons who insisted on proving anything you said wrong, and besides, no matter how detailed the records have been recently there have been entire clutches where nobody really bothered fussing about egg details in advance of the hatching."

"It doesn't," Inri says, firmly but not cruelly, in response to Zhirayr's 'it could' as well as in response to Rulayn's question, "But it would probably be worth studying anyway, to prove that it doesn't, and I've been doing them for almost two decades, thank you." So Inri's actually good records go back very far and have tons of data.

"Measuring personality with any sort of scientific rigor is a pretty difficult task." Doktah says, her loftily academic tone somewhat undercut by the fact that she's shoveling cake into her mouth with almost alarming speed. Before too long, her serving is all gone. "Mmm. Delicious." She says, taking a look around. "I think… I have work to do before it gets too late." Or maybe the crowd's just getting to her. "Nice meeting those of you I just met. It's been a lovely party." With that, she's off!

Mirinda can be helpful here! "There are metrics for it! It's very difficult, but it is possible. I suspect C'rus has them, actually. Somewhere." Where, she doesn't know; she shrugs, steals a little more of Zhirayr's dessert, and says, "Now, I really need to get back to the office, love. I'm sorry." It's been so hard on him, having her gone all the time. Not on her daughter. Just on him.

Rulayn is happy to stick around and pick at any leftover food. After waving farewell to her conversation buddies, she returns to the tables of food. First, she smuggles some of the more meatier treats into her pockets for her firelizards later! There's so many folk here though, that it's likely the plates of food and dessert will be cleared in no time. Still, Rulayn sticks around, moving off to mingle between various folk and so on before finally deciding to retreat. Off Rulayn goes, sneaking away into the lower caverns and back to her newly established independent state: the pillow fort!

Whether or not that's actually located in the Room of Pillows.

It is, we were RPing in there last night.

Zhirayr smiles wryly at Mirinda, and kisses her cheek — yes, Inri, in public and everything! "I'll see you later tonight, then," he suggests/promises/hopes/orders. "I should probably make sure that Th'ero and Nyalle know about their special treats, as well," with an eye on his lower caverns staff, and those Standing Stone candies — and he really does need to get rid of these empty plates, somehow, too. And then do some paperwork. And get another glass of wine. Nods and half-smiles to those he leaves behind; Zhirayr goes.

And so, the clutching party continues: it is long, it is fun, it is sweet and full of excellent desserts, and no one dies. Fort's mysterious luck continues.

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