Who Thys, Xhanfyr
What A gardening chore turns into something much bigger.
When Summer, Turn 2711
Where Center Bowl, Fort Weyr, and Stonehaven Hold

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Fort Weyr - Center Bowl
The wide center of the bowl is often bustling with activity as riders come and go. Off westward can be seen the entrances for the candidate barracks and the guest weyr, while to the east is a large opening that leads into the dragon infirmary. The bowl stretches off both to the north and to the south, where the sheer stone walls rise steeply to the sky.

Fort's morning is well underway, and it's time to get to work for everyone who has things to do. Including candidates! A handful of those assigned to gardening duty today have been given a little star beside their name - they have special assignments. What, exactly, isn't specified - but they've been asked to report to the centre bowl, to goldrider Thys, and to bring a jacket. Thys is there, of course, with Rhenesath fully strapped up and with a handful of Haast riders on the ground beside her, formed up and ready to leave. The goldrider is dressed for flight, flicking through a notepad, making marks beside certain points as she waits for the candidates to turn up.

What's better than feeling special?! A group of four candidates does show up, with one or two decidedly dragging their feet, amongst them Xhanfyr. A short and stout girl from Benden named Krindi unhurriedly takes up the rear, more interested in her breakfast toast than the plan for the day, or brushing her tangled dirty blond hair for that matter. There is Evandin, from Breakwater Hold, a tall and serious redheaded twenty-something who's first to arrive and salute to Thys before standing at attention. He's eyeballed by the second to arrive, a generously proportioned brunette woman from Fort Hold named Jakita, who only after rolling her violet-hued eyes offers the dragonrider a smile and nod of her head. Bouncing her way in front of everyone with a boundless energy is Diilo; a tiny pixie-like thirteen turn old wth short cropped hair pale blond hair streaked at the front with a distinct pale pink color. She too salutes, but pairs it with playful grin and sparkle in her perhaps-too-large for her face pale green eyes. Y'know, despite all that specialness, Xhanfyr doesn't appear as thrilled as a few of the others, and maybe even less than Krindi. He's decidedly shorter than everyone other than Diilo, but she'd probably outgrow him at some point as well. Evandin glances over his shoulder, noting the count, and then snaps another salute. "This is everyone, ma'am." Then he's back at attention. Jakita rolls her eyes again, elbowing the young man beside her gently. "This isn't the guard, Red." she suffers with a sigh, which bears no fruit, the young man doesn't even react. Krindi lifts her toast-weilding hand, "Can I be excused? My stomach is upset." Diilo straightens and bounces back towards the tubby girl, "Oh! Oh no!" she says aloud, clasping her hands to her pert little mouth. Conspiringly, she whispers but in such a way everyone can hear it anyway, "Is it diarrhea?" Krindi looks offended, but her cheeks pink up. "No!" Xhanfyr pinches the bridge of his nose between a finger and thumb and cradles the elbow held aloft with the opposite hand. He doesn't know these people, he swears on his mum.

Well, what a rambunctious group of candidates to be bombarded with. Thys blinks from Krindi to Diilo, her brows going even higher when the questioned diagnosis is offered. "Dear Faranth, if it's that… yes. Go to the infirmary, please. Go now. Once you've got a clean bill you can go back to your regular chores." She pulls a face, gives a little shudder, then looks back to the smaller group. "One rule to remember, if you Impress: do not ride a dragon with an upset stomach. You don't want to have to clean that sort of mess off your straps or their hide." Gross. After scratching her arm, Thys holds up the notepad. "That was Krindi I've just sent off, wasn't it? Which means I have… Diilo, Evandin, Jakita, and… you must be Xhanfyr?" Each listed name and confirmation gets a tick in her notepad. "Ok. So today, you're all coming with me, with us," a hand is swept to indicate the waiting Haast riders, "to pick up some new fruit trees. I'm assuming you've all ridden dragons before?"

Some of the dragons might be relieved in not having to carry Krindi, who nods to Thys with a red face that might be little more than exsertion related as she turns and sweats her way back to the weyr, presummedly to the Infirmary, nibbling on her dry toast. About half a dragon's length away she does shout, "It's not diarrhea!" Maybe she's just nausious? Diilo whistles low and cups her hands together behind her head, leaning back her weight on her heels, "She's so unhealthy! Why did she get searched?" she asks in youthful boldness, looking between all those gathered. Xhanfyr bawks, turning startled eyes upon the pixie-girl, "Diilo, that's really insensative." he repremands in a muted hiss, to which her eyes go wide with surprise, "Was it?" she asks, looking to the others again for confirmation. Evandin ignores everything but Thys, while Jakita shakes her head again with a soft tsking sound. With roll call, the remaining candidates fall into a single line according to height. Xhanfyr and Diilo of course at the end. Evandin nods for his name, Jakita smiles warmly, Diilo waves wide and big over her head, and Xhanfyr slides his eyes off and down to the ground with a flush. "Yeeeeeah." At meantion of riding dragons, all but Xhanfyr express either excitement or confirmation. They all had. The almond-eyed boy shakes his head and flushes darker, "I was searched here." he murmurs, to which all three of the other now turn to look at him with srurpise. "You've never been on a dragon?" Diilo asks with all the wonderment of all the world. "No." he replies, shoulders tightening. "Like, ever?" Xhan stiffens and his eyes close, "No." Diilo's mouth forms a perfect 'o' as she stares and leans in very very close, "Ever, ever?" Fists are formed at Xhanfyr's sides as he brows begin to furrow. "….no."

"Faranth, stop." Thys is looking at Diilo and her 'ever ever ever'ness, brow furrowed. She snaps her notepad shut, slips it into her pocket, and takes a deep breath. Caaaalm. "Alright. The Haast riders behind me are waiting to take you all. Evandin, please join S'ren," she points to a rider standing beside his blue dragon. "Jakita, you can go with H'ster," a brownrider is pointed at, "and Diilo, please go with Asha." Another bluerider. Which leaves Xhanfyr. Alone. With Thys, and Rhenesath behind her. "Xhanfyr? You can come with me. In know Rhenesath's huge, but you'll be ok." The big, dusty-brown gold turns her head to look down at the candidate, breathing warm air over him as her eyes whirl bright blue. "Do you know how to mount up, at least?"

Diilo had opened her mouth to ask again, but only made it so far as to inhale and make a single 'eh' sound before Thys put a stop to it. Huge seafoam colored eyes dart her direction, she pauses, and then she lets her breath out with a long sigh and sinking of her narrow shoulders, "Fiiiiiine." Xhanfyr might be expected at this point to start looking at the goldrider like she was his savior astride the periless mountaintop, donned in the shiiest of armor with rays of golden sun shimmering down on her flowing hair. His hero! Actually, he remans tense for several moments before letting a breath out himself, a rush of air and a quick peek at Diilo who has lost all interest now that she's been spoken to. In fact, she looks a little pouty, with her bottom lip stuck out and spindly arms crossed over her none-existant chest. Brown eyes flicker for all of a second to Thys, murmuring a soft and shy thanks, before dropping his gaze again to the ground. He was, red had creeped up his ears and down hs neck, but was subsiding now that everyone was heading off towards their assigned dragons. Being the last to be divvied up, the sixteen turn old fidgits some, lips pressed into a thin line as he nods for the assignment. Rubbing a hand up and down the length of his upper arm as he hesitantly steps forward and looks between rider and mount but lingers the most on the mount. His eyes widen to about as big as they can go without depoiting them onto the ground at his feet. He stiffens at the exhale of air that whooshes over him, but it's not fear there. Surprise and maybe a little impressed? More likely, yes. "Uh…" he starts, ripping his eyes off the darkly colored Gold and starts flushing again quite quickly. "I'm sorry. I have no idea." There is a wince, and expression that begs for him not to be hated. Diilo laughs from where she is parked behind Asha, "You're weird." Xhan can only tense up and look down, looking like he'd about ready to make a run for it.

Perhaps to save Xhanfyr from humiliation, perhaps to save time - whatever the reason, Thys pumps her fist in the gesture that tells a wing to take flight, which is exactly what the candidate-bearing Haast riders do. They take off, circling higher and higher until the jump between. Which leaves Thys and Xhanfyr, amongst the rest of the bowl's occupants. "There's no time like the present to learn, I suppose!" Thys does seem a little surprised that the candidate hasn't mounted a dragon before, but other than a hint of it in her expression and her voice, she stays mum on the matter. "Ok, so, what you're going to do is put your hand here," she points, "your foot here, then hand there, and just climb until you're up." Each step is pointed to, until she reaches the point between Rhenesath's ridges where the rider and passenger seats are nestled. After a moment, she makes a 'hrumph' sound. "Maybe it'll be easier if I just show you? Watch. It's easy." And up she shimmies, exactly as she just explained, and in slow motion for the candidate's benefit. Then she comes back down, landing softly. "Go on, then."

Diilo lets out a thrilled 'Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee' when her rider's dragon takes to the air, arms pumped up over her head with a squeel of delight to follow. The other two are relatively quiet, save for a soft giggle from Jakita which barely carries over. Then they are gone, and Xhanfyr relaxes to a degree. Lips pursed, Xhan tries to ignore the hints of surprise. He really does. But in the end, a rush of explination flies out of his mouth, "I don't have dragonrider friends, I don't have a lot of friends really, I don't think but if I do none of them are riders and I'm usually really busy with the runners or was till I got searched and now its candidate chores and I did wash a dragon once but she didn't have straps on and…" Yeah, it sort of tapers off after that with the resealing of his lips and an apologeitc expression to adorn that reddened face. He does watch with rapt interest in the demonstation though, brows lifting before he glances Thys' way. "No I ge…" he starts, and then the goldrider is demonstrating anyway, which only serves to darken his complexion. He appears a little hurt for some reason, not meeting Thys' eyes when she tells him to mount. Careful avoid her in that awkward way of his, he does manage to climb up as was just shown with only a single pause towards the middle, maybe to catch his breath or calm his nerves. Whatever the reason, he contemplates the seating arrangement and chooses the one further back.

"Well done!" Thys is genuinely pleased when he makes it up successfully, and she even gives him a little clap. It's slightly condescending, though not intentionally; everything about Thys suggests she's not great in dealing with younger folk. She looks pleased when he chooses the rear seat, and she scoots back on up Rhenesath's side to settle in in front of him, from where she can lean back and buckle him in. "Ok! You're all set. Now, you can hold on her, or you can hold onto me. Either way, you'll be fine. You're not going to fall, I promise." Around she turns, buckling herself in as Rhenesath stands up. It's suddenly a whole lot higher, and Thys looks back over her shoulder to give Xhanfyr a thumbs up. "Ok - we're going now! Hold on!" Whether that's to her waist or to the straps, Thys doesn't mind. Rhenesath leaps skywards in a spine-jolting display of hindquarter power, sweeping her wings down to carry them further aloft. They climb to the height where the Haast riders went between before following suit, disappearing into nothingness… only to reappear above Stonehaven.

Stonehaven Hold - Courtyard
High in a valley in the Fortian mountan range, sits Stonehaven cothold. Backed up against the mountain cliffs, this rugged little cothold can house up to forty people at a time, though usually averages around 20. Approaching the cothold you first move past the large empty field where dragons can land and depart. To the right is a path that leads to a sturdy looking barn and pastures beyond, where all of Stonehaven's animals are housed. To the left are the fields, and depending on the season they are either filled with crops, barren, or buried in snow.
Straight ahead walls that surround the courtyard rise at least 8 feet tall, thin arrow slits at regular intervals along the front and both sides, reaching all the way to the cliff face on the right, and to the main hold building on the left. The gate is black iron and sturdy, set neatly into an archway in the wall, with thin slices of stone radiating outward. Above the gate is Stonehaven's crest, carved from wood and freshly painted.

Thys looks back to check on Xhanfyr, reaching behind to grab his hand and squeeze it reassuringly. They're alive! Rhenesath circles downwards to where the Haast riders are waiting, landing with a thud in the middle of them - she's heavy, and dainty landings just aren't going to happen! As Thys unbuckles herself, she looks back at her passenger. "All good? You didn't puke, did you?"

Brown eyes peek up at Thys for the clapping, not so much offended as disheartened from the way they drop right back down and he hunches over himself a bit. He mumbles something under his breath about 'not an idiot' before falling into silence. He holds his arms up and turns his head away when the goldrider does up the straps, the flush at his cheeks lingering even as he rolls his eyes upwards and stiffens bodily. Only when the space between them, as little as it is, widens…does he breathe again. Attention flickers back to her though as she explains what happens next, brows shooting upwards in unison and going deep crimson at the mere mention of holding onto her. "Oh. Uh, I…" he stammers, moistening his lips and working his jaw, mouth gapping a bit as he indecisively flounders. Yeah, he's not making choices here. Though, as Thys takes to the air, the lurch forward decides for him as he flings his arms around her middle and holds on for dear life. Then there is flight, and nothing. Cold, empty, nothing. The second they come out the other end, Xhanfyr gasps and can be found to have blanched out to the color of a sheet. He's got some strength there that might be surprising considering his small build, proving that one should never judge based on appearance. He can only ashenly stare at the reassuring weyrwoman, though he isn't green at least. He holds on even after Rhenesath has landed and straps are being undone upfront, but when Thys speaks again he seems to realize it and instantly recoils. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." he flusters, color bleeding back in full force into his cheeks. He rapidly shakes his head vhenamently at the accusation of throwing up, he totally didn't.

Thys laughs - not unkindly, but reassuringly when Xhanfyr begins apologising so profusely. "I'm sure I was the same my first time too," she says, giving him a wink. "Let's take a moment to compose ourselves," yourself, "shall we?" She frees herself of her straps, then shifts about so she's sitting sideways on Rhen, all the better to face Xhanfyr. "Some people throw up, or worse. So thank you for not doing that. From both of us." Rhenesath wuffles, which Xhanfyr will not only hear, but will feel beneath him. "Just let me know when you're good to go, and we'll join the others."

Eh, the laughter doesn't seem to do much then make the awkward teenage boy even more awkward, keeping his eyes down and fixed on the straps before he very carefully removes them from his person. Xhanfyr presses his lips together again as he's given a moment of composure, which undoubtedly he knows is meant for him and him alone. "I'm fine." he mutters, not exactly sounding very thrilled. Almond-shaped eyes lift upwards when Thys turns to speak to him, casting them off quickly enough towards his escape route; down the side of the gold. Though, what she says brings his attention back with haste, brows launching upwards beneath the fringe of his whispy bangs. "Wait, what's worse then…" he starts to question and then flushes deeper. "Oh." Yeah, not stupid, just endlessly awkward and perhaps lacking the confidence he had been rumored to have on the candidate trip. "Uh, you're welcome…I guess?" Welcome back the awkward, looking away, but gripping the seat when Rhen vibrates beneath him with a few quick blinks. A second later, he exhales and meets the goldrider's gaze. "I'm good."

Thys nods. Good. He's good, she's good, they're good to go. "Ok, going down is just as easy as getting up. Easier, even. Just follow my lead, ok?" She's already sitting sideways, but the way she's sitting means Thys has to turn around to face her dragon's side as she climbs down. Turns of practice make it look easy as she jumps down the last few feet, landing lightly. Practice makes perfect! And once Xhanfyr is down with her, she'll straighten up her Fortian uniform - a formal shirt with her leathers, her knot pristine on her shoulder and her hair smoothed as far as it'll go in its current wild ex-pixie cut - and then they're ready to join the others. "Do you know much about plants, Xhanfyr? I believe you worked with runners before candidacy, is that correct?"

Xhanfyr only nods, reserving his voice for more awkward awkwardness after he's got both feet on solid ground for sure. He does pause though once Thys is out of earshot to just look around from his vantage point, pushing himself up to his feet and walking with the kind of confience he clearly hadn't shown in the weyrwoman's presence. He had a very concise sense of balance, likely because he road runners, and was used to the rise and fall of an animal beneath him. Still, there was definately more to that, there had to be. He was almost, feline-like in movements. He murmurs something to Rhenesath, smiles softly and pats the side of her neck, apparently much more at ease around animals than people. Then it's climb down, which goes quite a bit more smoothly than up, but he takes the rungs all the way down rather than jumping off as Thys had. He brushes his hands off on his trousers and then side-glances to the weyrwoman as she asks him about plants, "Yeah." he responds, soon chewing on his bottom lip as if trying to decide something. With an inhale, he breaths out, "My family lived outside of Keroon for a while, my ma taught my sisters and I the edible and poisonous ones." He nods, "Yeah." he says quieter, and a fond smile pulls at the corners of his lips. Runners, yes, he knew about runners.

Rhenesath isn't shy in sharing a fond wuffling of breath and a warm little clucking sound in return for the pat Xhanfyr gives her. The reaction makes Thys grin as she watches the teenager come her way. "Rhenesath appreciated the pat, and would like to thank you." In case as much wasn't already obvious. Thys then turns on her heel and leads the way towards the Hold, where there's already a small group of folks to greet them. The Haast riders and their candidates close in, leaving Thys to greet and haggle with the Farmcrafter who steps forwards to meet with her. Marks eventually exchange hands, and there are suddenly a lot more people - and a line of carts, each carrying a small fruit tree - or two, in the case of a handful.

Xhanfyr opens his mouth and then closes it, looking over his shoulder at the queen he had dismounted and left behind and inclining his head to her in gratitude. "You're welcome." It was as if talking to her was far easier for him than it was interacting with people, and he lingers again as the weyrwoman marches off to make a deal. Diilo, Evandin and Jakita are there with the Haast riders of course, but they're all busy trying to follow the haggling process before marks are exchanged, with Xhan eventually making his way that direction but leaving a healthy amount of distance perhaps in anticipation of the flurry of activity that occurs immediately after a deal has been struck. He remains out of the way, the curious eyes of inexperienced youth following all the movement of the never seen before event. He does however, keep one of those eyes on Thys, as if waiting for instruction.

OOC: Not yet completed, but my brain died on me. Silly tired! :(

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