'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.

Fort Weyr - Floating Dance Platform

An enormous raft-like structure of wood and plasticraft has been set up at the edge of the weyr lake. It floats just offshore, supporting a raised stage with a dome-shaped back. A wide, flat area, presumably for dancing, sits before the stage. Food tables, sporting banners in Fort's colors, have been set up along the edges, and a large number of curved benches ensure ample seating. Thick ropes secure the structure to stakes driven into the shore, while a number of floating wooden bridges provide easy access.

They call it chores, Edani would beg to differ. The only part of this particular activity that is a chore is fact that the fish aren't biting. Yep, there he sits on the platform with three baited poles, 2 of which are propped in knotholes, the other he's holding and staring at the dark lake water as if he's willing the fish to bite the dang hook already. This is an unusually impatient mindset for the calm beastcrafter, who is here despite the cool, damp sort of afternoon, giving the unrippled surface of the water an almost-frown.

Ezra has escaped his afternoon harper lessons for the day, and some desire or another has brought him (and Zoi) down towards the platform. The canine balks at the rocking thing at first, eying it with suspicion, but after some encouraging noises and an offering of a treat, she leaps onto it with all four feet at once - do or die! Splaying those huge paws to keep her balance, Zoi walks awkwardly along the wood, still a bit disconcerted by the slight rocking motion of the raft. "Hey," Ezra says casually, walking forward to flop down beside Edani and reach for a pole. "This is a good chore."

See now, if Edani WILLS hard enough, the fish will hear him. "You are getting hungry! You rise from the depths, see that bait and CANNOT RESIST. You MUST have it NOW." He might even have spoken it aloud but such is he concentration he wouldn't know it. So focused is he, that the noisy group on the lake shore around Dalasith is forgotten and he's unaware of Ezra and Zoi's approach until the platform rocks as they hop onto it, snapping him out of it. "Oh hey, Ezra," he greets, casual in return. "You think so? They call it Fish and Game, but I don't think there are any fish in here." He peers at the water suspiciously. "Back home in the sea it was hard not to catch them." Of course salt water fishing is a whole different ball game, not that he'd really know. "What are you up to today?"

Ezra shrugs, bobbing the pole so the line shakes in the water. "I don't think there's any fish in here. The dragons get'em all, or they die from all the swimming or something." If Edani did say that stuff out loud, Ezra doesn't comment on it. Maybe it's perfectly normal to the boy to talk to the fish. "Lessons," he says, nose wrinkling. "And more carving. Can we go on that trip yet?" Not even five sentences into the conversation, too.

Swimming! Edani chuckles at that then squints thoughtfully at the water again. "Maybe I should have asked if they'd mind where I got the fish!" Because they could easily get them on the trip. Speaking of which, "I'm still waiting to hear back on that. It's weird being a candidate." Not that he's complaining, mind. He's relaxed now, having given up on ever catching anything and so lets go of the pole with one hand to reach and offer Zoi a headscritch. Then curiously, "Who's permission do you have to have to go with me, Ezra? Anyone besides your harpers?"

Zoi slowly folds herself down onto the platform, leaning her head into Edani's hand, her talons digging into the wood. The poor girl is so awkward on this bobbing raft, even though it's not moving much! "How's it weird?" Ezra asks, curiosity flaring in his pale green eyes. Briefly, he pushes all of his hair away from his face so Edani can get perhaps the first good look at him that he's ever gotten. Not that there's much to see. The boy is still lean, pimples beginning to dot his skin. Ahh, puberty. Then he shrugs, hair falling again. "Elara's I guess. And Th'ero's maybe. They're the ones who sorta look after me."

The answer to that is, "Well partly because I'm not able to be as independent as I'm used to being, partly because we're living in a barracks with both guys and girls and there's not much privacy." Not that Edani sounds squeamish about that, he just seems to find it strange but he's adjusting. Ezra's movement draws his gaze up, flickering over his face as he ponders this news. Taking a protégé of the Weyrleader and a Weyrwoman clear across the planet might be stickier than he'd first thought. "Maybe we'd better go talk to them then," he suggests thoughtfully as he follows those scritches up with gentle strokes to Zoi's head as she settles. "How they ever dance on this thing, I have no clue," he tells the half-grown pup.

Ezra nods a little bit, and his nose wrinkles. "I like my own room," he murmurs, but there's a slight wince to that, too. "But it's quiet." Which is both good and bad for the young boy. He shrugs. "I'll ask'em, but I think they'll say yes. Th'ero's only told me no once, when I asked for a knife…" Probably a wise decision on the weyrleader's part.

Edani hmms at that wince, perceptive enough to surmise the reason for it. "Nothing feels right, even after all this time," he murmurs about living situations. It's more matter-of-fact the way he says it, which covers for the emptiness he really feels if he allows himself to dwell on it. "The barracks aren't very quiet and I don't think they allow pets in there." He isn't sure though, come to think of it. "Did you think what you'd do with Zoi if they do Search you?" He can only smile about the knife and say with a wink, "Maybe for your thirteenth turnday you'll get one." He totally heard that whisper at Inyri's party - he hasn't forgotten.

Ezra tilts his head to peer at the older boy. "It's not just me, then?" he asks quietly. "How long?" Has it been, he means. Then he nods. "I'd let the guards keep her, and train her." It'd be like Zoi would get to go to summer camp! And come back an already trained dog. It's a win-win, really. Then he brightens, grinning. "Can we share'a turnday?"

"Four turns," Edani says with a shake of his head, a slightly sad, lopsided smile tugging at his lips. No it's not just him. "I'd imagine a lot of people feel the same way when their living situation changes so abruptly," he says. "Though some of them get married, have kids and build a new family." Though he feigns a terrible 'ew-yuck' face as he says that, he finishes, "They build new happy memories, which helps." Zoi gets a considering look then, "Is that where you're going to leave her when we take that trip?" They come home a lot bigger from summer camp too! He chuckles at the bright look turned upon him, "We can, sure. But mine's not for another ten months. We could just… pick something randomly?" Like they drew letters for puppy names? He leans then, to bump his shoulder against Ezra's lightly, "Though I'll bet we could get permission to check the hold records and see when yours really is if you want to."

Ezra jiggles the pole so the line dances a bit, and his pale green eyes watch the ripples it creates. "You think you will? Build a new family?" he asks quietly. Then he nods. "Yeah, I was guessing so. Someone'll take care of her." He doesn't seem too worried about it. His head shakes next, strands swaying across his face. "I…I'd rather get a new one, and share yours," he says, shifting a bit awkwardly on the platform. "It'd be special…and my old turnday is…my old turnday, and it's special in my mind…" With his family.

Edani's all but forgotten his fishing pole. But hey! He's Fish and Gaming nonetheless. "Someday," he says firmly, adding, "If the right girl comes along and when I'm ready, yeah. It won't ever take the place of my own, but." But it will help the healing process. The old one being special, he gets that. "A new turnday, coming right up!" He says brightly, "Shall we have Inyri do the honors and draw the numbers for us?" Oh then! Then Ezra's line goes taut and the pole bends nearly double. "Hey, you've got one!" He reaches a steadying hand to the pole to keep the fish from jerking it out of the boy's hands.

Ezra blinks at Edani, looking a bit confused. "But I thought we were gonna-" but his words are cut off when the pole jerks, and he grips it reflexively, and gives a big yank. "I've never fished before!" he shouts, a bit of childish panic in his voice. OMG WHAT DO I DO?!

"Or share mine-" Edani has started to say when the boy's pole goes wild. He's hanging onto his own pole while gripping Ezra's pole with the other, steadying it. "Jerk it up like this-" he does a quick, deft yank that sends the tip of the pole dancing upward. "That sets the hook." At least his finger has clamped the line so the fish isn't spooling out the reel in a desperate attempt to get away. And it's hard not to get excited about the catch. He's caught up in it too, loosing the usual laid-back manner he usually wears, voice raising in pitch with his own excitement, "Now quick, start reeling it in! Don't let it get away! It's a monster fish!" Probably it's not, but with the pole dancing and bending nearly double, it sure seems like it could be.

It's probably an old shoe or something. But Ezra's eyes are alight with excitement as he jerks it hard and then starts to fumble at the wheel, rolling it in bit by bit, awkward and laughing. Yes, the boy is laughing, the adrenaline coursing through his system making him almost giddy.

Or it could be a baby lake monster, even. Pern totally has those, right? Edani is laughing right along with Ezra, the two quite likely making enough of a ruckus to rouse half the Weyr, the voices echoing off the bowl walls and probably working poor Zoi there into a frenzy of excitement herself with the wildly rocking dock. The dark water's surface is whipped by thrashing – a smooth and shiny giant eyed something briefly glimpsed before it goes down again. He's chattering excitedly, "We'll have a fish fry on the beach and-" SNAP! The line breaks and the candidate reaches an arm out to steady the lad so he doesn’t fall over backwards. "Careful!"

Ezra squeals when the fish is actually seen, beyond excited to be catching his first fish - and it's HUGE - and they'll have a big meal and he'll stuff himself silly and everyone will know it was him who caught the fish - and he pulls on the pole…and then it's gone. "W-" he says, and then the boy's temper flares, and he says a bad word and throws down the pole. Whoops?

Edani chuckles, but it's hard to keep the disappointment out of his voice, "Sometimes they get away," He crouches down on the decking to peer at the watery depths, not that he can see into them with Rukbat behind the clouds. "What do you think it was?" Was it even a fish? "Maybe it was something no one knows about." Is he serious? Or is it simply boyish imagination kicking in? "We should build a trap, bait it and we'll be famous for our discovery!" It's hard to tell, really but he does go on to add, "We'll go fishing in my home waters. We have gigantic fish. And I know a way to keep them from getting away, too," he assures confidently.

Ezra's hands are clenched at his sides as he stares at the water, and the boy is slow to come back from his temper. He does, though, rather than let it get the best of him. Probably because he doesn't want to embarrass himself in front of Edani. Slowly, his fists ease back into hands, and he nods, sitting down on the platform and hauling Zoi's head into his lap so he can lavish her with some attention. "I dunno, water tunnelsnake?" Those exist, right? "Makes me not wanna go swimming though," he admits. "That'd eat your leg right off!" A scary, yet thrilling thought to the boy. Then, as always, talk of the trip perks him up. "When will you know if we can go or not? And how do you keep 'em from getting away?"

Edani offers the boy a gentle clout of encouragement on the shoulder. "You almost had it!" As for the trip, "I don't know, really." He hazards a guess, "The Weyrwomen might have to approve it? And they have their own priorities. I put the request in and the headwoman will let me know. Be patient. It's hard, but I know you can do it." He gathers the poles with a smile for the excited questions, "Tougher lines, for one. And very big hooks." And a wild ride as the fish pulls the boat they'll be in to tire them out, but he'll leave that part out for a surprise. "Come on, let's go to the library and design a trap…" So saying, he'll lead the pair off to put their heads together over plotting and planning of things like bait and night watches for monster fish that feed by the light of the full moons at midnight.