Canines, Chickens, Geese and Dragons

Fort Weyr - Galleries

The galleries are carved right out of the rock face, the rows and rows of benches rising high up into the air on a slight slant. Stone and wood benches that used to be known for offering little in the way of comfort, are now padded with cushions in Fort Weyr's colors. Placed along the railing at regular intervals are antique looking baskets filled with cheery fabric flowers. The curving walls sport tapestries in warm vibrant colors that seem to add a dash of color to the otherwise dreary stone. Where the galleries curve slightly at the ends, affording those attending hatchings or clutchings a decent view of the sands, shaded laterns offer warm lighting along the rows of benches.


It's snowing. This would normally be considered no big deal, except for how it's already mid-spring at Fort and some people have a tendency to expect actual /spring/ weather. Inyri either isn't one of those people or she's flexible, because she's wearing a knee-length green winter coat and a fuzzy hat. At least the galleries aren't really prone to getting much in the way of weather, and so while the coat doesn't come off when she enters — with an eight-month old puppy who looks like he's already the size of some adult canines on a leash, romping alongside her — she can wipe snowflakes from her face and not get hit with another onslaught. This is Durahiko's mid-day walk before Inyri's got to go to work, and she's evidently decided to stop and get another glimpse at the eggs; the first, since the clutching itself. She walks right to the front row and stands, rather than sitting in the front row of the benches; Durahiko sits down beside her, tail slowly swaying back and forth.

What? Fort isn't always sunshine and summer? Heaven forbid! What with the increasing number of people coming to visit the galleries, the guard detail has been nearly tripled — the troubles haven't entirely been forgotten, and Fort's guards are no slackers to begin with. Khyonai, obviously having been esconced in the galleries for some while, is outfitted properly in a short-sleeved guard uniform with no consideration to the chilly weather outside. He drifts closer to the girl and the puppy, his professional face on display; polite, to be sure, but not necessarily personable. "Please make sure the puppy doesn't fall," he comments to Inyri, with a nod down to the canine; "Don't think she would take too finely to it." A glance, then, to the Sands.

Durahiko's attitude is clear: if he had any interest in the sands at all, it's definitely gone now, because his expression is like 'look! a person!' He sits up a little more, front legs up in the air, making that eager-excited puppy face at Khyonai, tongue lolling out of his mouth on one side. "I think he's not going anywhere closer than he already is," Inyri promises, pressing down a little on the pup's head so he stops sitting up quite so high — not that it works. He's going to keep looking adorable until some real petting action happens. "At this point he's definitely more interested in you than the sands."

Oh, look. It's a freaking adorable puppy. What's Khyonai *supposed* to do in the face of that? Where people may get his distance professionalism, /canines/ certainly aren't subject to said rule. The man crouches down to present his knuckles to the puppy, silent; not /trying/ to rouse the puppy any more than he already is, at least. "Well, then, I suppose I should distract him. You know, for the good of the weyr and all that." Amusement crinkles crow's-feet at the corners of his eyes, squinting up at Inyri.

"You're protecting the gold dragon and her eggs, clearly," Inyri agrees, a small and innocent smile forming across her face. Durahiko sniffs delightedly and messily, getting nose goo all over Khyonai's hand until he decides, instead, to lick it off and then just — keep licking, until the guard or Inyri push his head away. Inyri, at least for the time being, doesn't — she's switching between glancing at the eggs (or what can be seen of them, as they've been buried and all) and just making sure Durahiko doesn't go for licking Khyonai's /face/. For now, at least by her standards, the canine is behaving. "He's excitable, but only in short bursts. Just wants to get to know everyone. All the time."

"Clearly," Khyonai states, that amusement still holding his face captive. The guard has a short, quiet laugh for the puppy's enthusiasm, restraining the pup from such a motion by simply placing his hand over his nose, loose-muzzle style. This, of course, will work as long as it takes the puppy to figure out just to pull his dang head back, but. "That's what puppies are good for," he agrees with that last part; "If only all the important people on Pern took puppies around with them everywhere, everyone would come to peaceful resolution."

While eight months is no infant, Durahiko is one of those big herding-type dogs; intelligence is only really his forte when he feels he needs it. Right then, he's getting attention and so he just keeps his face right where it is, letting Khyonai hold his head steady. "Even adult canines make for excellent conflict conclusions. This guy's being trained to do drunk control for the tavern, and so far he's been doing an excellent job distracting people from fights." It's mid-day and Inyri's brought Durahiko to the galleries on his walk to avoid the snow; Khyonai has been stuck on guard duty and is now stuck on puppy-petting duty, in addition. They're right by the edge of the stands, close enough to get a good view of whatever eggs aren't currently buried — not that either are looking just now, as the puppy has their focus.

Gotta love those big dumb dogs. Khyonai pets the pup when it's obvious he's going to stay steady, sans-licking. "Oh, trust me, ma'am," he tilts up to Inyri; "I'm quite familiar with conflict resolution with adult pups. If you can even call them that - do they ever really grow up?" The presence of the canine has loosened his normally tight-locked tongue. "Even those that we train to take down people who flee the guards only think it's one big game - or maybe a hunt," ruefully tacked on to the end.

Ezra bounds up into the galleries with Zoi on her leash. Spying her brother, the growing canine gives a loud bark that has Ezra jumping in surprise and yanking at her leash. Unfortunately he pulls a bit too hard and the canine yips, her huge paws slipping a bit before she topples over onto the stone. She's up in a moment though, cavorting around Ezra's legs and there is a moment where the awkward, lanky boy is all akimbo, trying to avoid being tripped up by the canine or her leash. "Ow, no, wait, stop, git…ugh!"

"What isn't a game, when you're a canine? I seriously think they must have the best possible outlook on life. Everything is a game and always be optimistic and give the whole world a big dumb smi— " Presumably, the rest of that was 'smile,' but Inyri doesn't get a chance to finish her sentence because she's being interrupted by Zoi's barking. It's a good thing her instinct is to grab tighter onto Dura's leash when startled rather than to let go; it stops there from being any further leash tangling or canine escaping. " — Hi, Ezra," she calls, once Durahiko has calmed himself down again — all he really did was sit up a little higher and pin his ears back, panting more excitedly than he had been. For the most part, Khyonai's attentions are keeping him chill. "You okay down there?"

The arrival of Ezra causes Khyonai to turn his eyes towards the source of all that commotion - a brief expression of alarm crosses his face, but relaxes in concert with the rest of him. Attention returns to Durahiko in terms of petting, more as a precaution than anything else; "You okay, Ezra?" he calls over, a flicker of concern visible. To Inyri, belated; "Wouldn't it be something if people could learn something from them?" He's certainly on a philosophical slant today.

Ezra manages to get himself untangled from Zoi, and they move over to join Khyonai and Inyri. Flopping into a seat, the boy grins. "Hi, we're good, she was just happy or something." Pulling a bit of some unrecognizable food from his pocket, he holds it up. Promptly, Zoi's backside flops onto the stone, and then she gets her treat. "Looking at the eggs?" the boy asks, turning his pale green eyes down towards the sands, a slightly hungry look crossing his features.

"Thinking about it, anyway," Inyri laughs, because she hasn't gotten much of a chance to really look at the eggs, just yet — "We've mostly been looking at Durahiko." Who is still happily wagging his tail in what appears to be slow motion, making sure to breathe on Khyonai and make whuffling noises at Zoi at she approaches. "I wish I could learn more from him. I try to emulate his total coolness, but I'm just not as collected and relaxed as he is, no matter what I do." Inyri moves to actually lean against the stair railing, not dumb enough to put her weight on the guardrail between her and the sands — just in case.

"On duty," Khyonai addresses as to why he's here; his uniform likely makes that statement redundant, but y'know, people never really know, right? His approving glance takes in Zoi's sitting-on-command, and he flashes Ezra a smile at the same time, before focusing back on the pup. "They haven't done much," is his sudden, dry statement involving the eggs; "Though people certainly seem to make a fuss over them nonetheless." A friendly glance upwards to Inyri; a short laugh at her commentary regarding Durahiko's ultimate coolness.

Ezra glances down at Zoi's brother, and smiles. "They're getting big," he remarks quietly. "M'glad I don't live in the resident's cavern…Why would you wanna be like a canine? They can't have sweets or fly or nothin'." Baffled by the rather non-literal notion, the boy rubs Zoi's ears and gives Khyonai a cool (as in awesome, not cold) smile. Yeah, he got Zoi to sit, he's a badass huh. "Are they afraid someone's gonna hurt the eggs?" he asks with a frown, glancing at Khyonai's uniform for a long moment.

Inyri can't answer the second question, but she can tackle the first — "Because they're so relaxed. And look at /everything/ as a game. And get away with it, too, because nobody expects any different. So life is like, perpetual fun when you're like a canine." The idea certainly seems to meet Inyri's satisfaction, because she's got this contented facial expression that makes it seem like she's definitely getting the canine vibe right then. It might be rather cold, but other than that, everything right in that exact moment is fine by her. "It's hard to see much," is all she's got, regarding the eggs. "Lumps under sand."

Yes. Ezra is a badass. Whatever amusement Khyonai was experiencing previous is wiped out by the boy's final question, though — as if coming to the realization that he *is* on duty, he offers the pup in front of him one last pet and rises to his feet, scanning a brief look over the plentitude of visitors currently gawking at the sand-covered shapes. "It wouldn't do to be ill-prepared," is his firm reply to Ezra; such a perfect non-answer. Grasping onto Inyri's vein of conversation as a lifeline, he nods: "Could be like those healer tests. 'Here's a picture of clouds, what do you see?'" Since Pern totally has a version of Rorschach tests, right?

Ezra looks down at the canines with a thoughtful gaze, head tilting slightly. "Huh. Does seem….kind of nice," he murmurs. "Not to worry about nothin'. And you can chase and chew stuff and no one looks at you funny." His smile is a little crooked as he looks at his canine. Then his eyes flick to Khyonai and then to the eggs, and he frowns. "I hope no one does anything bad to them." Just look at his childish pride rise. People better /not/ mess with the eggs!

"Exactly." Inyri is all about this I'd-rather-be-a-canine plan. It sounds good to her. "And even your work is fun. Herding people? Herding animals? It's just chasing stuff around. And guard dogs get to /jump/ on things; that's got to be the life, right? Job being nothing but play. Getting fed and petted and free to take naps when you want so long as you're not in the middle of a job." She shrugs, long and slow, rolling her shoulders back into a momentary stretch before she relaxes again. "And I still just see, you know, a bumpy mound of sand — they were amazing lookin' when clutched, though. They get bigger, yeah?" See how much she doesn't know about dragons? "I mean, they must."

Khyonai is content to let the issue of the eggs' safety pass without further comment. He takes up position again, his back to the Sands, to observe those who come and go. The talk of the freedom of canines has relaxed him, though, and his gaze is more cursory than hard or even truly questioning. He glances involuntarily askance towards Inyri, though, at the last question. "No, not bigger," he replies; "Harder. They— well, I suspect they do fill out as far as shape goes; when they are first-clutched they're still leathery," matter-of-fact with the understanding of a weyrbred, well-seasoned to such issues. "So… deflatable, almost. Not when they get close to hatching - hard enough to crack, not tear."

Ezra nods, "They get bigger, kind of, yeah. And harder." But then he's just nodding along to what Khyonai is saying. "Just like chicken eggs," he says with a firm nod. "You can hear them cracking and stuff."

"Deflatable," Inyri repeats, looking — not incredulous, so much as with a laid-back expression that essentially says 'that figures.' "Sounds kind of awful, at least at first. Makes sense they'd be kept under sand and constant watch, then; that's even more fragile, in a way, than hard and crackable. So," she reality-checks, as Durahiko stands up to stretch his legs, which amounts to walking in a circle and sitting back down again, "How much of a total moron do I sound like, really? I must be the only person here who's never had any exposure to this kind of thing."

"You know what I mean," Khyonai tosses to Inyri, all amused exasperation. "Like a waterskin, you know? With a shape that's more fluid than not." Doesn't last for long, though; sooner or later they will be shapely and hard enough to hatch. "Chicken eggs. Can't say I have much experience with those," he confides to Ezra. "Are they much like firelizard eggs?" He shakes his head at Inyri, though; "You don't, and you aren't. There are far bigger bumpkins than you. Trust me." Rue embodies the last pair of words.

Ezra shrugs a bit, smiling at Inyri. "I asked even dumber questions when I first got here," the boy admits. "I thought they came out like a puppy does. Not in eggs. I thought the clutching and hatching was all the same thing, at the same time. Didn't know why there were suddenly eggs and kept asking where the dragons were." Only to Inyri would he admit that, to make her feel better. He shrugs at Khyonai. "I've held a firelizard egg, but never been near a dragon egg so I dunno."

Inyri looks down a little, but she's smiling as she does so; it's a shy smile but an appreciative one, for them both. "/That/ I can tell you is so," she says, relieved to be back in an area where she has a clue. "There's similarity between chicken eggs and firelizard eggs. Except for how all chicken eggs are the same color, pretty much. They can be similar in size and are pretty similar in how long it takes 'em to be ready to hatch. Though chicken eggs /do/ get a little bigger from when they're laid to when they're hatchable. Provided they're actually fertilized, the ones you eat don't grow."

Khyonai barely covers his smile for Ezra's words in time; he stares impassively off into the middle distance, pretending not to hear. It's a guy thing. He comes back into the conversation at dragons-versus-firelizard eggs; "I've not been up close to them before," he admits regarding eggs, "Outside of the odd time or two I've guarded the Sands exit. But they don't seem too much different than firelizard eggs, other than — well, scope, of course. Quite a bit larger." As Inyri adds on, obviously it becomes obvious that dragons, firelizards, and chickens all share similarities in eggs. Don't tell any dragon, though! He nods along, as if it all makes sense to him. (It might not.)

Ezra nods, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees, peering at the sand covered lumps. "I can't wait for them to hatch," the impatient tween whispers, rubbing Zoi's ears until the canine's legs go wobbly and she topples over onto her side with a contented sigh.

Dragons, after, all, eat chickens, won't they? Or just flame them into oblivion? Inyri might guess a chicken's a small meal for any dragon but perhaps a newly-hatched one. That doesn't mean she stops the questions, though, now regarding Ezra rather than weyrbred Khyonai as her nearby expert. Perhaps it's in order to encourage him, or maybe it's his passion for it, but either way, it's more him she's asking: "How long's it usually take?"

"It'll be soon enough," Khyonai comments Ezra-ways, his eyes still on perpetual-scan mode. His gaze lands lightly on Inyri, and therefore to the kid, before a smile touches at his lips again. He doesn't comment, leaving his own weyrbred sentiments out of this current conversation — though he's totally guilty of reaching down to impulsively scrub his fingers over Durahiko's ears. The guard is standing with his back to the guard-rail, next to Inyri and her puppy; Ezra sits just a pace away, facing the eggs, with his own gangly adolescent dog flopped out in front of him.

Ezra clears his throat, and the boy looks at Khyonai instead. "Um. Months. It's a while…" But he has a hard time remembering, well. Time. "Feels like forever." So clearly it must be, right?

"Months. Well. That's a lot longer than chickens." Because Inyri's the resident chicken expert, or something; well, Edani's not there, and even he's more the bovine type. Durahiko is appreciating Khyonai's brief affections, letting out another low whuffle-breath of contentment. Now just pat his side a couple times and he'll be /totally/ set. His person, on the other hand, is just looking a bit more curious at every step, though she's not actually /saying/ whatever it is she's got her brain cogs turning about. "I suppose considering how much bigger they are than chickens it makes sense. How'd I get on chickens, again?"

"Four months, give or take," Khyonai clears up. "Sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more." A rolled shrug of one shoulder, and he relaxes again, still content to mess with Durahiko's ears and pretend to work. A loudmouth in the back receives a quailing look from the guard, and the decibel levels draw down to acceptable levels again. "Chickens? I think Ezra brought it up. I know I didn't. I wouldn't know a chicken from a goose if both of them were in front of me," he confides to the two, shameless in his weyrborn sensibilities. Farming is entirely not his schtick.

Ezra shakes his head. "Eggs," he answers Inyri with a small smile through his curtain of hair. "Really? Chickens are smaller, and geese are usually really mean. I was chased by one once. It chased me up a tree." The boy shudders at the memory, pushing at his hair.

"They're definitely easy to differentiate once you've met them," Inyri agrees with Ezra, unable to prevent herself from an ever-so-brief laugh. "Geese also fly and chickens don't — I mean, they don't look alike, in much of any way, but when in doubt, geese fly and chickens don't." Khyonai is clearly going to need to know the difference between chickens and geese for some pressing reason very soon, right? Maybe not. At least she's managed to not laugh at the idea of a goose chasing someone up a tree. "Geese can be nice if you're around 'em their entire lives; a lot of Breakwater's geese are pretty placid, but they've been handled by humans since they were eggs."

For most of the morning, the Weyrleader has been out and about the Weyr, on various duties when he wasn't holed up in his office. One would think he'd escape to the solitude of his weyr in the first moment of peace, but not today it seems. Th'ero slowly climbs the stairs to the galleries, as if leery of what he may come upon and comes to a slow stop once he's at the top to cast his dark eyes over the benches. His shoulders relax a little when he does not spot too many lurking about, though his gaze does come to rest where the trio now lounge, two of them at least familiar. Dressed in casual clothing, it seems the Weyrleader still avoids much of the way of color and is dressed in nothing but neutrals and black. As he approaches (and slowly again), he tries to smile though it comes off a little reserved. "Good day to you three," he says in a low and drawling tone, giving each a lingering look before looking beyond them to the sands below.

Khyonai stares at Ezra at this, startled out of his thought process. "Geese? You were chased up a tree by a /goose/?" His bafflement shows obvious that he hasn't been subject to up-close-and-personal experience with the dastardly creatures. (True fact: goose-pinches hurt.) He stares at Inyri as she explains, too; but this just makes him shake his head in bafflement. "I'm glad I don't need to know the difference," he confides. "I don't have any plans on moving out into the country." The country wouldn't like it if he did. His gaze lands upon the latest arrival, and despite Th'ero's urban camouflage, Khy recognizes the man; a salute is given before he replies, "Sir." He's not slacking off at all. No. Really!

Ezra shakes his head, "Chickens can fly, just not real far. Our chickens got onto the roof once, and my brother had to go shoo them all down. Least our chickens could fly. Our geese were kinda wild. They were bossy, too." Blushing, he nods to Khyonai, confirming that fact of childhood embarrassment. Turning his head, he sits up a bit straighter at Th'ero's arrival. "Hi," he says, wiggling a bit on the bench and reaching down to grab Zoi's collar before the canine can lunge forward to greet the Weyrleader.

Lingering around the canines is absolutely not slacking off! Inyri will defend Khyonai to the end there, whether or not it's actually her fault in the first place. She let Durahiko be cute, after all. And Durahiko is showing off just how chill he is; as Th'ero approaches, he /stays/ lying down, though he does lift his head all the way up and watch the Weyrleader closely. Another new person has to be properly assessed, after all. "Weyrleader," Inyri greets, very soft and muted, just loud enough for him to hear. Maybe he's trying to lay low with all the darks; maybe he's /always/ doing that. "Your chickens clearly had good range; ours never really tried to fly much. Jump, glide, sure, but not fly really. Bossy is the perfect way to describe a goose, though. Even one who likes you."

Th'ero turns to Khyonai first, the salute met with a brisk but polite nod while his eyes give the guard a studious one over. He must approve or figures his place here is not questionable and so he's not chastised for what could be seen as idle chatter. As Ezra moves to grab Zoi's collar, the Weyrleader's brows crease a bit in a frown and it's then that he spies Durahiko there as well, though considerably calmer. "Be sure those canines remain quiet and do not cause a raucus," he points out firmly, but for Ezra's sake he seems to smile vaguely to take some of the edge off his warning. Last thing he needs is to be called back to the galleries over Zuvaleyuth objecting over what resides in the galleries. To Inyri, he nods briskly as well and it's only then that he picks up some pieces of the conversation he walked in on. "What's this about chickens?" he asks softly, sounding as genuinely curious as he looks. See? Totally harmless. Sort of.

"Bossy?" Khyonai is still confused how chickens and geese can have personalities, but that's just indicative of his background. "I'll bow to your considerable expertise in this, good sir," he comments to Ezra with not a lick of sarcasm, but a hint of a smile and an inclination of his chin. He keeps an eye on Durahiko, but as the pup doesn't seem inclined to do anything drastic, simply leans back and watches the crowds. His lips twitch into a smile at Th'ero's words of consternation involving the canines, and he flicks an involuntary glance to Inyri - /that/ doesn't sound familiar at all, does it? - before straightening expression and stance to reflect better his status of currenty on-duty. As to the topic of chickens, he wisely remains silent.

Ezra clears his throat and shakes his head. "She's being good." Now. She didn't bark when she came in. Nope. Promise. Scout's honor. "We were talkin' about eggs and then chickens, and then geese and stuff. Are the eggs okay? That one had cracks in it…isn't that bad?" The boy peers down to the Sands, searching for and failing to find that particular egg.

"Heard the dragonhealers said it was okay," Inyri contributes in a lazy sort of tone that indicates she's not sure what's /true/, but after all that's what she /heard/, and she'd hate to be caught without information. She gives disclaimers often enough that people must know now she can't back up whether or not it's true! "And — yeah, the geese will run after you and snap at you if you're in their way or they have something you want, or — something." Shrug. Again. In Th'ero's direction, she promises, "He's not fussed about the sands, I guarantee; actually he's not fussed about much. Nary a bark."

Th'ero goes to reply to Ezra, only to fumble awkwardly as Inyri beats him to it and leaves him blinking for a moment between the two, then a darting look to Khyonai. "Ah, yes…" he begins, awkwardly and then adds in a steadier voice. "The egg is fine. It is simply a trick of the patterns it seems, though it's arrival was a touch ironic." he muses. Did… he just show a little amusement? If the quirk of his mouth is any indication, then yes. But it'd be hard to tell, as he keeps his features schooled to his usual reserved neutralness. As Ezra turns to try and spot the egg, Th'ero only shakes his head. "Zuvaleyuth buried it. Look for the mound of sand, not the egg." he tells the boy. With the conversation on geese and chicken elaborated, the bronzerider can only shake his head again and likewise to Khyonai's statement, defers to the obvious experts on the matter. "Never thought they'd be so temperamental," he drawls and from his tone seems to suggest he did not find the geese and chickens to be the most intelligent of creatures. Delicious, but not smart. "Good," he remarks on the behavior of the canines and then simply lets the matter rest. Out on the sands though, there is movement. The pale bronze hide that makes up Velokraeth's boxy and stunted bulk is shifting as the dragon stretches out from where he's taking up a sentinels perch on a low ledge overlooking the sands below.

"She has been remarkably quiet," Khyonai pitches in, regarding Zoi; the pup receives a gimlet glance thereafter, as if the young man could infuse the desire to remain silent through the transmission of thoughts or sheer willpower. A glance over his shoulder at mention of the cracked-appearing egg, but he seems more than obliged to allow the others to carry the conversation. His game-face is defied by Th'ero's glance and commentary regarding chickens and geese. "I'm glad I'm not the only one ill-aware of the differences between species of fowl," he comments to the world at large, turning to frown lightly at a little toddler who's making entirely too much noise. The mother of said child is quick to pick her up and tote her out at a brief gesture from the guard, but Khy turns a quick glance behind him to make sure a gold dragon isn't coming roaring towards the galleries in protest of noise. To Inyri: "Have the bets started on the clutch composition?" He reckons she'd know, what with her job and all.

Ezra nods his head, peering out to try and find that *one* lump of sand. "That's good. Don't want any of them hurt." And there's that flicker of stubborn childish pride again. When Velokraeth moves, the boy's eyes are focused on him, captivated by the misshapen dragon. "Is he angry?" he hisses to Th'ero, eyes widening a bit behind his curtain of hair, grip tightening on Zoi's leash. The baby crying has him cupping his hands over his ears, holding them there until the child is gone. "I wanna bet!" he says as soon as he can hear Khyonai's question.

From the sands, Dtirae looks up to the galleries from her little perch, a chair right outside of her living quarters. There's a pointed glare towards Th'ero and the woman shakes her fist at the man, whether or not he's paying attention. There's only a brief moment that passes before the woman laughs. Bored much?

Good call on Khyonai's part — Inyri knows at least a little, but at Ezra's insistence on betting she simply holds up both hands. "I don't /take/ the bets," she points out, "I just hear about it." She's talking to them, but she's watching first the fussing toddler's exit, then Velokraeth, curious. Spotting Dtirae moving just makes the entire situation even /more/ curious. "I know they exist, but I'm not really sure very much what they are. 'Cept that somebody thinks there's two bronzes and another person bet they're near all green. Those were the only ones that made enough of a fuss to get attention 'round the tavern as an actual conversation topic. One person made a mint on how many eggs there were gonna be, though. Don't know who it was, afraid to say." Hey, maybe it was Dtirae. After all, she knew.

Th'ero turns his attentions again to Khyonai, gaze lingering on the guard before his mouth quirks upwards into a vague smirk, amused again perhaps for the comment. "I'm afraid I will have to join you in admitting my ignorance on those species of fowl as well," he remarks dryly, only to have his focus drawn away by the crying toddler. Before the Weyrleader can even think to act, it is already done and there is a stiff nod given to Khyonai in acknowledgement. "They will come to no harm," he assures Ezra then, giving the boy a pointed look before glancing out at the sands. It's then that he spots Dtirae glaring at him and shaking her fist and immediately Th'ero tenses, looking ready to usher everyone out or start grabbing folk and tossing them out if they don't move fast enough for his liking. Then the laughter comes, faint but obvious and he relaxes again with a returned glare fired back at the Weyrwoman. Really? "We can only hope for a well balanced color spread," he comments in regards to Inyri's recap of some of the talk of bets or guessing, shaking his head. Velokraeth simply shifts his position a little on his ledge, arranging himself comfortably and then yawning in a classic look of complete relaxation. Or boredom. The pale bronze's oversized and misshapen head turns to glance down at the Weyrwoman when she laughs, his own strange chuffing echoing off the caverns. Then he really is pointedly staring across the sands, fixated now on the galleries with an air of detached curiosity.

"I'm sure we know the most pertinent part - they're tasty," Khyonai dryly remarks to Th'ero. What? He's totally a red-blooded male, and while chicken and geese aren't as tasty as herdbeast steak… Khyonai's expression shows an underlying note of amusement as Ezra so quickly jumps on the betting bandwagon - but the guard seems entirely content to leave Inyri to clear up the topic. "I'll take your bet, Ezra," he gravely states, with all due seriousness; "So long as you don't mind if we wager over… oh, I don't know, chores. I'm unfortunately broke." As he has his back to the Sands, he's ill-aware of Velokraeth or Dtirae, his attention taken up by that which lies ahead of him: the galleries and those within.

Ezra glances with curiosity between the Weyrleader and the Weyrwoman, and then to Velokraeth again. "What big teeth you have…" he whispers as if reciting something, and then shakes his head firmly. "I think there will be a gold, and three bronzes, and three browns, and, um…how many is that?" Quick finger count. "Two blues and one green." Nod. That's his bet, even though he has no marks to put on it. "Cuz it was a good flight and the parents're strong." That he's almost certainly repeating from someone else. Pale green eyes flick to Khyonai and he nods, putting his hand out. "I can do chores." He's broke too, but he doesn't admit it.

Inyri looks as if she is /really/ resisting the urge to write that down — not that she can bet, or does bet, but just to see if Ezra's right! She stops herself, though, too busy laughing at Khyonai's summing up. "People eat geese?" she asks, looking just a tad doubtful. "I'd imagine they would be kind of stringy. But then again, I've got no experience with it." So, in conclusion: a smile, a light little shrug. As Velokraeth stares at them, Inyri just stares back, eventually getting to the point of piping up to query, "Er, is he /actually/ looking at us or is that perspective?"

At the dry remark from Khyonai, Th'ero snorts and this time his amusement is obvious enough. From one red-blooded male to the other, that statement rings true and well understood. "Tasty indeed and very much so, depending on their preparation." he adds with a lopsided smirk and a quick look to include Inyri in on it as well. Ezra's guess on the colors has the Weyrleader giving the boy a long look, but his mood remains the same, perhaps a little more relaxed as the conversation continues on. "Generous spread," he tells him and yet does not elaborate on his own guess, if he even does such a thing. At the statement on the flight, Th'ero only shakes his head slightly but does not argue. One look at Velokraeth, closely anyhow, would have some taking back that comment on 'strong'. It's a wonder some aren't muttering why the stunted, ugly and misshapen bronze keeps siring clutches. Even if all his offspring have hatched without much of their sire's physical misfortunes. As if caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar, the pale bronze is suddenly turning his head down to preen "innocently" at his talons when Inyri and Ezra stare back. "It's hard to say. He is a curious bronze," Th'ero remarks cryptically even as his dark eyes shift to give his dragon a frown. "And his moods are fickle." Cause that's a reassuring thing to say, of course.

"A gold?" Khyonai assumes an expression of faint surprise at Ezra's bold declaration. "Well then. If you say so, I suppose I should too. I say there'll be… a gold, two bronzes, one brown, two blues and… four greens." He didn't just have to count how many he had left, oh no. Really. With a half-grin he leans to shake with Ezra, though, sealing the bet. "Inyri can oversee it. You have anything to write that down?" after-the-fact to the bartender. He assumes so well. (Such a man.) A flash of amusement shared with Th'ero for the tastiness of chickens, but he doesn't pursue the line of thought any further than what it was. As if promopted by the discussion, he swivels his head around to belatedly account for Velokraeth's attentions to the galleries proper; he eyes the preening bronze for a moment as if trying to categorize how much damage /that/ one could do if motivated sufficiently. "Curious and fickle," he repeats Th'ero's statement, an underlying tone of dubious nature riding his baritone's undercurrents. With a shake of his head he returns to his perpetual scanning of the crowd.

Ezra nods eagerly at Inyri. "They do! I had it once at my father's turnday party one time and it was delicious! It's rare though, cuz' they're such expensive birds. But they're delicious with citrus." Mmm. Listening to Khyonai's guesses, the boy nods and shakes on the bet. "Okay then. It's a bet."

Th'ero remains completely silent and neutral on the talk of bets. In fact, the Weyrleader's focus seems completely elsewhere, his head even subtly tipping downwards slightly as he appears thoughtful. Blinking, he realizes with a bit of a start that the conversation has gone on around his little lapse and for a moment he's lost, flushing slightly for his blunder. "Yes, he is particular in his ways," he remarks idly to Khyonai, after clearing his throat a little. Velokraeth is now looking at no one, still innocently going about his preening or so he leads everyone to assume. He's very good at it. It's Th'ero who is doing the staring now, long and pointed ones that drift between guard and barmaid, then to the young boy though his features falter to something almost of awkward sympathy. If that wasn't clue enough, when the Weyrleader straightens his shoulders and takes a slow, indrawn breath it's obvious then that the whole easy going atmosphere is about to hit a bit of a derailment of sorts. "It would seem," Th'ero begins as one hand reaches back to dig into his pockets, not subtle at all, really as he awkwardly fumbles about the formalities. "That you two," Two? "Will likely get to see the results of your bets up close and perhaps you will have to make a few new ones…" he tells them, attempting at some jest though it falls a little flat. Then the knots are pulled free, two white ones and they are then extended somewhat outwards. And if that wasn't unsettling, it will be when Velokraeth is pointedly staring again and grinning in his dropped-jaw way which does not do /anything/ to flatter his looks. At all.

And the shake seals it. Khyonai flashes an appreciative smile to Inyri. "Somehow I figured you would have the means," he drolly comments, nonetheless meaning it a compliment. Regarding the tricky issue of gold, he gives a mild shrug. "If neither of us is spot-on, we both lose. Fair?" he questions Ezra. Involved in his betting as he is, he doesn't quite notice Th'ero's momentary lapse, though he certainly straightens when the man starts speaking, and… his own face falters, expression wavering. "/Me/?" Obviously he thinks that Th'ero is holding out the knot to the wrong person, and his unthinking glance over to Ezra seals the deal; /he/ is new to the weyr, and Khyonai's gone nineteen turhs without provoking a Searchdragon's curiosity, after all. He also glances over to Velokraeth, and takes a similarly involuntary step /away/ from that dropped-jaw dragonic grin. Here's a rare sight: Khyonai entirely unsettled.

Ezra squirms when Th'ero looks at them all, but when only two knots are pulled out of his pocket and are offered to Khyonai and Inyri, the boy's expression crumbles. Just for a moment, before he's pushing on a brave smile, and then grinning. "You!" he says, pointing to Khyonai. "And you too, Inyri," he says, his smile a bashful, blushing fond one for the older girl. "Congratulations," he adds, rubbing Zoi's ears all the more, now, and glancing up once more at Th'ero. One last look. You sure there's no knot for me? He looks to Velokraeth too, still a tiny bit hopeful. At least he's not throwing a fit and ruining Khyonai and Inyri's moment!

From the sands, Surely the Weyrwoman was paying attention, though, the way she ie examining her fingernails likely throws off that theory. Especially since her smile is hidden from the distance. Zuvaleyuth on one hand, is stirring and carefully turning her attention to the eggs. Fussing, as it were, moving the position of almost every egg, the exception being the only egg that was completely buried during the clutching.

Inyri's glance had already strayed back to Th'ero as soon as he began talking, with a brief glance toward Khyonai when he spoke to her again — and then back to Th'ero. The slow turning of cogs in Inyri's brain is demonstrated mostly by the way her eyes almost glaze over for a moment, distracted or confused or just mulling the entire situation over — and then, once she's processed the Weyrleader's words, her look turns right back to Velokraeth again. "I /knew/ you were looking at me," she calls over, accusatory and laughing at the same time, before extending her own hand out and gently removing the proffered knot from the Weyrleader's grasp. "I, okay," she says, looking from Th'ero to Khyonai to Ezra and back, "Right, it's a congratulations thing. Um. Thank you." That's the right thing to say, right? Does she look a little deer-in-headlights? Probably more than a little, though most of it is lined with a lot of 'how did we get here' confusion.

"Yes," Th'ero drawls as he fixes Khyonai with a look that is both puzzled and questioning. He knows little of the guard, however something set off the bronze's keen interest and so the Weyrleader acknowledges it. That doesn't mean he won't be a little surprised by the faltering and wavering from him. As he steps back, looking a little unsettled, Th'ero only smirks but holds the guard in not fault. Velokraeth can do that to even the most hardened or surefooted, steady folk, including his rider. "Ignore him," he says, "As I said, his moods are fickle. And in this case, he's in an amused state and is purposely barbing for entertainment," Cue a pointed glare sent to the bronze, who merely snorts loudly in mock affrontement. Such accusations! With his work done, Velokraeth turns his attentions now to watching Zuvaleyuth, crooning soft and sweetly to the gold as she fusses over the clutch. At Ezra's look, Th'ero masks his guilt carefully or attempts to, but it shows regardless in his eyes and the lack of reply of any sorts given to him. Poor kid! When Inyri calls over to the pale bronze, he simply looks up again and croons innocently and far too sweetly. Whatever he says may /not/ be innocent and not repeated vocally, as the Weyrleader is flushing and pointedly not looking at the barmaid for a brief span. Instead he looks between the two, knots still held expectantly and open for claiming. Then one is taken by Inyri and Th'ero nods to her, "Congratulations." he murmurs swiftly. It was the right thing to say and most likely there will be more to come, but for now he turns to give Khyonai one last expectant look. "You do not need to accept," he tells him, trying to be helpful and likely only making this a touch more awkward for both of them. Oops?

Dismay. For once, Khyonai's typically-neutral expression shows fully the impact of what he's thinking: and that is total and utter dismay, his attention fully on Ezra. The guard almost automatically takes the knot offered, forcing his gaze back to Th'ero and belatedly registering the words proffered. His skin is dark enough that his flush is mostly hampered, but for a bit of darkening about his cheekbones. "No, I—" Only thing worse than being searched in front of a kid who you know desperately wants it? Turning DOWN search in front of a kid who you know desperately wants it. "Thank you, sir," he re-composes himself, resolutely NOT looking at Velokraeth. Or Ezra. Or Inyri. Or anything but the knot in his hand.

Ezra looks down at Zoi, rubbing her ears and smiling only when she tilts her face up to start giving him licks. "I'm gonna take her on a walk," he says then, standing and giving Knyonai and Inyri smiles that briefly touch his eyes before he's hurrying away, tugging Zoi behind him.

If Inyri hadn't been thinking about how important Ezra had made Search out to be, she likely would've reacted differently too — either by asking a million questions, or just being dodgy about it for a bit. So even without the knot for himself, Ezra definitely secured two /other/ candidates. Thank you, at least, seems like it was the right thing to say; she looks a little less shellshocked and a little more put together, now … and a little /guilty/, too, as she watches Ezra go. Once that moment passes, though, she's giving Khyonai a nervous little smile.

Leave it to Th'ero to make things as awkward as possible for everyone and himself included. As Ezra takes his leave, the Weyrleader watches him go with a clearer look of regret and conflict now that the boy cannot see his expression shift and the mask drop for a moment. But there's nothing to be done now and controlling himself again, he turns his focus back to Khyonai and Inyri and an almost apologetic look given to the former. Dismay was not his intentions. As the last knot is finally taken by the guard, he allows his hand to drop back down to his side and stiffly. Relaxed? Hardly. "Congratulations." he repeats for him as well. "I apologize if this seems all so abrupt. You do not need to report to your new duties until later in the day if need be, as it's understandable if you need to… settle affairs." Which means both duty or position related and family as well, if it applies. Th'ero doesn't go into the specifics, really and shifts his weight slightly, likely preparing to move. "Do you two have any questions? I can bring you direct to the barracks now too, if you prefer."

"No, I — thank you, sir," Khyonai repeats, his time with a chagrined twinge and a straightening of his back; no apologies necessary, other than those he likely needs to make himself. "I'm familiar with where it is," he quietly comments. "I'll just — I'll wait until the end of my duty shift and report in this evening." Give him time to come to grips with the new terms, as it were. "I appreciate the opportunity," he finally ends on, with another salute to the weyrleader.

Whether Inyri knows where the candidate barracks are or not is a good question; it seems like it's even a good question to /her/, as she has to stop and consider the whole thing. She's just watching Th'ero, and his infinitely confusing body language, followed by Khyonai's more self-assured response. Hers is somewhere in the middle: "Well, I should — tell the tavern I won't be around — I'm not allowed to work my regular job anymore, yeah?" Just to clarify, since her sources on how candidacy works probably aren't always the most reliable. "And have to find somewhere else to keep this guy." A head-jerk toward Durahiko, who just sticks out his tongue at her. And leaves it out.

"I am glad to hear it," Th'ero returns in honesty to Khyonai, giving the guard one last final long look before nodding his head in agreement and then returning the salute. Just for old formality sake even if it makes him twitch a little on the inside. Turning to Inyri then, the Weyrleader begins to slowly step backwards even as he replies to her questions. "It would be best if you let them know. You… won't be able to continue on as a barmaid, I'm afraid." And for some reason he stressed her position, as if trying to secretly drive home some hint. Glancing towards the canine again, he nods. "You can still keep him, but yes… alternative housing for now." Now he begins to turn away, heading for the stairs and escape with his duty done. But he pauses midway up one step and turns again to pin both Khyonai and Inyri under his firm stare. "I almost forgot," he drawls with a vague smirk. "When you do finish with your personal affairs and settle into the barracks, you will have to seek out the Headwoman and report in with her." That… seems a little unusual, yet not. Records, perhaps? "Good day to you both and… welcome, as Candidates." Not the most elaborate or warm of farewells, but Th'ero is disappearing down the stairs before more can be said.


'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.

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