Fort Weyr - 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.

It's night! People should be asleep! Except - some people's bodies just aren't acclimated to this particular timezone yet, and thus does N'shen haunt the Living Caverns, perched at a corner table, a stack of paper at his elbow and several singular sheets scattered before him. Leaning back in his chair - ignoring the other scattered occupants, much as they do him - he taps his pen against his chin, brow furrowed in confusion.

Night. Most candidates are either in the barracks or sleeping by now, but there are those who don't seem terribly inclined — or able — to sleep no matter what the hour. That would be why Galina's risking chastisement for being here, slipping as silently through the cavern as she can to one of her few safe havens. Pale eyes flick to the kitchen at first, but soon fall to the way leading deeper into the bowels of the caverns and, in that moment, catch briefly on N'shen. A shallow nod is offered to him, more out of vague familiarity than anything else.

Distraction! Movement captures N'shen's attention, and he nods briefly to the Candidate, then drops his pen to the paper before him, crooking a finger to her. He doesn't speak - the better to keep from alerting those few others scattered about, risking the loss of this wonderful excuse not to continue pouring over his paperwork. He does, however, smile pleasantly, leaning back in his chair until the front legs pop off the ground, leaving him balanced precariously on only two.

It's that crooking of a finger that gives her pause and the healer-candidate stops, only to turn her head ever-so-slightly in N'shen's direction — just enough to regard him askance from the corner of her eye. One eyebrow subtly quirks upward, her expression otherwise an unbroken thing of dull neutrality, and it's only after a long moment or two that she finally diverts her course to venture in his direction and come to a stop within conversational range. Galya's as mute as he, though that pleasant smile he offers isn't reflected in one of her own.

"You're up late," N'shen notes as Galina approaches, regarding her with grinning green eyes. "Shouldn't you be tucked away in the barracks, dreaming of little baby dragons or something of the sort?" Not, mind, that he seems inclined to kick up a fuss at the Candidate's wandering around so late at night. "Not that I'm one to talk," he muses. "I mean, I'm up too."

Straight-backed and with hands folded in front of her, Galina just looks at him for a couple of beats, unblinking and still. A long last, a slow blink is given to him and she intones, "I do not tend to sleep well under the best of circumstances." Her head tilts, birdlike, and there's a curious distortion to the line of her mouth. Not quite sour, but far from pleased. "The barracks are not the best of circumstances." His work is regarded in a peripheral sense, with a bland, "The library would be much more conducive toward getting that done, I would imagine."

"Saucy one, aren't you?" Green eyes flicker thoughtfully over Galina, as N'shen remains balanced precariously on his chair, absently reaching up to scratch at his sparsely stubbled chin. "But - no, the barracks are not the best of circumstances, as I remember from my own Candidacy. It's even worse in Weyrlinghood, you know. Less people, but the dragons take up twice the room, and they're endlessly curious. Though at least at that point," he muses, "you have someone to keep you company." His eyes flicker to the paperwork, and he snorts. "The library would be no better than here - I still wouldn't be able t' make hide nor hair of this crap."

Saucy? That just earns him a long look that verges on uncomprehending. But, the healer-candidate seems to have nothing further to say on that topic, save that lingering look of vague displeasure, and she seems more than content to touch onto the more tangible topic of 'what N'shen is working on'. Galina's shoulders rise and fall in a mechanical shrug as she glances down at it. "There would be fewer distractions," she observes matter-of-factly. There's a long pause, then: "What is it?"

"Maybe it's the distractions I seek," N'shen points out, grinning broadly. "After all, I could have just left you to wander aimlessly until someone who actually cares if Candidates keep to the rules or not found you." Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. "Eh? Oh - paperwork." Captain Obvious, to the rescue. "V'dim, our Weyrlingmaster at Xanadu, decided that I'd make a good assistant." He pauses, then adds, "Not assistant weyrlingmaster - his assistant. This is his paperwork."

"I was going to retrieve some fabric and thread," is meant only to dissolve the 'aimless' part of his statement. Narrow shoulders rise, fall, and square back up again, with the rest of his words in that vein being met with the seeming of bland indifference. It's entirely likely this isn't the first (nor will it be the last) time she's roamed the halls at night. Galina doesn't sit, but her attention seems more or less fixed on the paperwork … until he's done speaking and a few moments pass. "I see." One beat. Two. "What part is difficult to make sense of?"

"It's training records," N'shen replies, reaching out to tug at various pages, setting them into a new pattern of disarray. "I'm supposed to go over them and determine if there's any of Xanadu's current Weyrling crop that needs extra lessons or help in any given area. Not exactly my area of expertise," he adds dryly. "Of course, I don't have one of those." Withdrawing his hand again, he studies the Candidate for a long moment, green eyes cool. Finally, he flicks his fingers dismissively at her. "Go on with you, then. I wouldn't want to hold you back from finding your needle and thread," he adds, with a faintly mocking smile. "I'd tell you to stay out of trouble, but I have a feeling I'm more likely t' find it than you are."

"I see." Pause. "If it is something that you would like to learn," Galya reasons blandly, "then you will make sense of it, even if it is not meant to be your personal specialty." Whether it's simple faith or statement of fact is hard to say, really. "Needles are not something I am ever in short supply of." Surgeon humor. She inclines her head for the dismissal and starts to walk away, with only a mild, "Do not get into the habit of making assumptions," cast over her shoulder. A ghost of a smile, silent and quick as her stride, manifests for a heartbeat and then, just as quickly, is gone. Left behind is a low-murmured, "Be well," and then she's well on her way into the familiar guts of the Weyr.

'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.