8.5 From The Russian Judge

'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 - Lake Shore

This lake shares many features common to mountain lakes — a brilliant blue jewel nestled amongst the rocks. The waters are crystal clear, and the north shore slopes gently before abruptly falling away into the depths. This lake does have one significant differentiating feature, however. The south shore of the lake is a tumbled mass of rubble, rock and earth of an ancient rockslide smoothed only by the elements in the intervening years. This rubble, as well as the rather sheer east and west faces, makes for the north shore to be the only one easily accessible.
The chilly lake waters are an invigorating draw to weyrfolk and dragons alike as summer's heat bears down upon the Weyr. The calm jewel blue waters offer a pleasant respite upon which to bath, relax, or play. The shoreline buzzes with activity and at the peak of the day it can be hard to find a spot to stretch out. At night, like a great mirror the lake reflects the multitude of stars overhead with the occasionally shadow of a passing dragon breaking the serene visage.


People who pay attention have probably noticed that a certain bluerider broke her wrist and a few fingers, and is now sporting a rather blank looking cast. Which means she can't get it wet. Which means she can't bath Varmiroth. Which means Candidates have to help, much to her irritation. So here she is, standing on the lake shore waiting for whoever picked this lucky chore to show up, while Varmiroth turns in circles in the water, chasing the ripples like he is prone to do.

Congratulations, Kimmila and Varmiroth; you drew Inyri today as your candidate! She is thankfully highly experienced at this point in the task of bathing firelizards, which is /kind of/ like bathing dragons on a small scale; she is also good at washing dishes, good at following instructions, on top of things, and — well, she's one of the two who were there for that embarrassing interlude hunting and running into the Weyrleaders, so maybe it isn't all good. Then again, it's possible the dragon, at least, has forgotten. Inyri's intelligent enough to be dressed for 'going to get soaked,' and isn't wearing any of her usual knits /or/ a white shirt. "Hi," she says, radiating cool enthusiasm from her relaxed smile as she approaches, offering up a, "Sorry about the hand." She saw; she heard something about it; she did not hear the /story/, and knowing Inyri is probably aching to get it. "And hello —" Blue dragon. She swallows and guesses, and today's definitely Inyri's lucky day: "Varmiroth."

Zaala is yet another of those who drew the short end of the… or the long end of the stick… Or perhaps she planned it. Either way the teen whose pride is to know things, has ended up here, via switching duties or simply being selected. Only the ones in charge would truly know. She approaches the lake shore with something tucked in her hand, looking to be a jar of some sort. Maybe wash soap? Ahh, but prepared she is when she's come in rough attire that if dirtied, wouldn't ruin the clothes completely. Hair is braided back today, even though as she strides with purpose towards the beach, her hand is moving to set aside the stray strands that fail to be pinned back. "Hey!" she cheerfully says, waving her free hand up in the air as she closes, happily taking this chore over some of the others. Her eyes move to Kimmila first and then Inyri, offering a little head bob to both, before she's sizing up the blue, "How's he take to strangers scrubbing him?" Obviously well enough because the candidates are doing it and not another experienced rider!

Edani, on the other hand, isn't really particularly good at washing anything. He's here, nonetheless, though Varimiroth and Kimmila just might regret that later. He's been briefed, knows what's ahead and thus dressed accordingly in cotton shorts and sleeveless t-shirt. He hasn't heard what happened, so the bluerider's hand is a surprise to him. He saunters up, gives her a respectful salute, then a cocky little grin and asks her, "Did Th'ero survive without a broken nose?" He's kidding, really for lurking below the tease is concern in those brown eyes. He's got a long-handles brush in one hand. This gets waved at the others in casual greeting.

Freed from whichever duty had claimed him, Th'ero wanders down to the lake and for the most part seems alone. Velokraeth could be anywhere in the Weyr right now, though likely he's off to placate Zuvaleyuth so that anyone trying to get near the sands can do so. The Weyrleader does not hesitate in joining Kimmila, when he spots her there and already with company. "Afternoon," he greets, a touch reserved though his features aren't set in a completely unwelcoming expression. There is the smallest of smiles given as he comes to a slow stop by Kimmila's side, gaze settling first on Inyri and then moving slowly over to Zaala and lastly to Edani. "The three of you on the same chore?" he asks idly but politely enough before his attention drifts the bluerider. "And how are you fairing?" Such a simple question, but it comes so awkwardly from him, as if he's trying to carefully correct his words. Edani however is given a silent and sidelong look for his remark, the last of it overheard but enough for the bronzerider to assume.

How do you /guess/ a name like Varmiroth? Kimmila looks duly impressed. Watching the Candidates approach, the bluerider wrinkles her nose a little bit. "Um, he's not a runner," she says to Zaala, with a little frown. Though, to be fair, they can't really win. Some riders frown on people talking directly to their dragons, while others feel uncomfortable speaking about them like they're not there. "He's fine with it. He likes the touch and the attention especially. The hardest part is getting him to stay still." Glancing at her lifemate, the blue pauses his circling and looks up, wuffling softly so some droplets of cold lake water arc back onto the sand. To Edani, the bluerider snorts and then smirks. "He did this time." Turning as Th'ero approaches, her greeting of her weyrmate is a /touch/ less awkward. "Irritated." Hi, sweetie!

It wasn't /quite/ a guess; Inyri had heard his name before! A few times. It was pure luck she got the letters in the right order, though; most dragons' names get horribly mangled and twisted around if she's going to attempt it at all. "Just got here, sir," she informs Th'ero, with a quick grin — then her attention is briefly on Zaala and Edani, in acknowledgement (and trying not to laugh at Edani's comment, considering Th'ero showed up just behind him!) before it returns promptly to Kimmila and her lifemate, the man and woman of the hour. "Attention it is, then," she says, and ambles closer to the dragon. "Hey there, mister blue. How's the water? Got any particularly itchy spots you'd like us to focus on first? You'll have to hold steady where you are for that, though; if it's true you're not too good at staying still, the job might not get done as well." Tactic of the moment: talk to dragon like you talk to child.

Zaala regards Kimmila with a slight roll of her eyes not entirely hidden underneath that teenage attitude, "If he was a runner he'd be smaller," she notes with a shrug, sizing up Varmiroth, "Every dragon is different, so I thought to ask before I make a mistake and do something he doesn't like." And indeed, quite a few dragons don't tend to talk to those outside their riders, so therefore questions are directed at the rider. "Ahh," she notes to the part about getting the beastie to stay still, "You're the ones that like to collect things, aren't you?" She asks absently, a tactic to get some approval from Varmiroth perhaps, the weyrbrat stepping closer to the edge of the lake, her attention drifting back to Edani and then over to Inyri. She smirks at Inyri's tactic and just shrugs, waiting to see what Kimmila and her lifemate think about the offer of collecting things. Actual bribes work so much better and she actually waves her hand up with the jar, "If you hold still long enough for us to wash you Varmiroth," picked up because her fellow candidate used it, "you can have what's in this jar." Wiggle wiggle.

Edani should learn to glance behind himself before making cheeky comments, apparently. He hears the question and turns to see Th'ero standing RIGHT there. With a perfectly fine and unbroken nose. Oops? There's really not much he can do for damage control and thus he just smiles, giving the Weyrleader a crisp salute (someone's been practicing). "Yes Sir. They sort of re-directed us." Kimmila is given a slightly sheepish smile and then, then he hears Inyri's chatter to the blue. Oh to be a dragon! "Lucky guy," he murmurs under his breath while kicking off his shoes. Then it's into the lake with him, passing both Inyri and Zaala on the way. He's not waiting to coax the blue to stand still with bribes and sweet talking. He's wading right on out to waist-deep, probably to keep going if he has to. If Kimmila wants it done a certain way, well. He's used to called directives from the Beastcraft Masters.

Th'ero's expression hardly wavers when Kimmila greets him so bluntly, though it's noticeable how his position shifts ever-so more towards her. There's no hug though, no touch. But there is plenty unsaid just by the look he gives her. Secret code? You bet. "Understandably. The cast though is holding?" he asks and his tone remains level, calming almost in it's restrictiveness. He gives another nod to Inyri and then has to muffle a cough for the choice of tactics she goes for and perhaps his head dips too to hide that vague hint of a broader smile. Leave it to the bronzerider to find amusement in watching all three Candidates blunder about while approaching Varmiroth and not a single word of advice from his lips. Zaala's offer of the jar is overheard, gaze settling on it for a moment with obvious interest, though before he can toss a few questions her way, his attention slips back to Edani. Lesson learned then, for the day? The Weyrleader only gives him a bare smile, no hint of having taken any particular insult for the remark. "Re-directed? Hmm, suppose there would be a bit of a shuffle now and again." he murmurs and now the bronzerider does smirk. As all three Candidates move off then, Th'ero's gaze tries to follow them all, though he does turn again to Kimmila to remark wryly, "Varmiroth is one lucky blue. Three bathers?"

Kimmila blinks at Inyri when she talks to Varmiroth that way, and she turns to /stare/ at Th'ero. In a 'I hate this and can you believe this and DO something' sort of irritated frustration, as her injured arm swings a bit at her side. Flicking her gaze to Zaala next, the bluerider snorts and smiles faintly. "He does, yes. For art projects and the like. Not just anything, though. It has to be perfect for his purpose." The jar gets a curious look though, both from Kimmila and Varmiroth. The blue simply stares at Inyri, his eyes picking up a bit of playful speed before his tail sweeps through the water to attempt and splash the girl. But then Zaala has his attention *right* quick, lowering his head to /peer/ at her, and crooooon. Kimmila glances at Th'ero and nods, not moving any closer to him either, but she does grin a bit up at him. "Oh, it's fine. I keep waiting for Wyn and Abigail to pounce me with paints, but that hasn't happened yet." The 'thank Faranth' is implied, because though she did agree to decorating, she's not thrilled about it. Party pooper that she is. "And he is, if he doesn't end up dunking them all in the lake trying to chase a stray bubble or ripple." Th'ero knows how the blue is with flights. Baths are much the same. But for the moment, he's holding still, staring at Zaala. "Start at the top," is her offer to Edani. "And climb up if you need to, he's not shy."

Nobody ever told Inyri /not/ to directly address the dragon; nor has she, exactly, been schooled in how to do so. So somewhere between human and dog tends to be where her ways of doing so lies on the spectrum; dragons are people, after all, not pets. She doesn't expect an /answer/ to her question, because Varmiroth isn't Dalasith the bold — and she's probably glad of that, having certainly been shaken by that particular blue's intrusion! She does most certainly get splashed slightly, ducking out of the way as soon as she sees the tail move but not fast enough; she lets out a gasped laugh that turns into more of a giggle as Varmiroth turns his curious charms onto Zaala and her bribe. "Well, you've got the right approach," she says, as she rolls up her (already capri-length) pants a bit, loses the boots and heads into the water after Edani with a washing brush.

"I think I might have something he likes then… maybe," Zaala couldn't promise the reward would be as exciting as she's made it appear, but at least she's got Varmiroth's attention. She finds herself laughing softly for his long winded croon, stepping toward him with the intent to put a hand on his muzzle to give him a good scritch if he'll accept it - all the while that jar is kept a little out of his reach. There is an eyebrow lifted up for the mention of 'Wyn and Abigail, knowing both the girls, one rather well in fact, "I'll pass it along that you're waiting…" incase the two girls forgot. She'll continue to rub and scritch the blue's nose, maybe along the jawline, maybe even an eyeridge if the blue wills it. "Will you let me come see your weyr when you're finished?" this to either Varmiroth or Kimmila, unknown to exactly which one as her body language gives hints to both, eyes switching, a head roll back to peek at Kimmila. There's a smirk to Inyri, proud, "Scrub quick, I'm not sure how long it'll last if he gets distracted by bubbles." No one fart in the water now!

Edani has at least learned to be more alert, if nothing else. Though he's generally not the impertinent type with superiors. His ears, pink-tinged at finding the Weyrleader having overheard, are returning to their normal color slowly. "Yes'm," he says to Kimmila with a lilt to his voice and a gleam to those brown eyes of his. The boy likes a challenge! Having reached waist deep, he peers behind to see if the others are coming, beckons to Inyri with the hand that's not holding his brush, leaving it reaching for her hand if she will trust him and allow it. His unspoken offer is to tow her out while Zaala is busy distracting the blue. He keeps going and it's not long before he's swimming, taking long, practiced strokes and circling Varmiroth to get behind him. It's much like the maneuvers he does in the fields to shoo in reluctant herdbeasts.

Th'ero can do nothing (because he knows nothing!) at this point to really help Kimmila, aside from standing close and offering his silent support and help keep her reasonably sane and calm. Not that he's liable to be the BEST of choices for that, but it's better than nothing, right? "Never say never. They'll find you yet," The Weyrleader drawls with just a faint hint of amusement in his tone. See? Not helping. Though if he finds out that anyone pounced the bluerider and made her uncomfortable or upset, it's more /he/ being the party pooper that they'd have to worry about. "And we'll see. It'll be good for them," What, to be partially drowned by a distracted blue? "Best if Varmiroth moves. Few dragons are ever still and who knows how theirs may be if they're the lucky few among the bunch. Keeps them alert." he murmurs low to Kimmila, his dark eyes watching the three Candidates as they all move out towards Varmiroth. A slight grimace is given as Inyri is the first to be soaked and then a curious glance fo Zaala's success with her jar-bribe and Edani's straightforward approach. All receive an approving look from the Weyrleader and with them engaged now in the bathing of the blue, he dares resting a hand lightly on Kimmila's back, just shy of her shoulder.

Varmiroth watches Zaala for a moment, but then turns his head to see where Edani and Inyri have gone, and he swishes his tail at them both with an amused croon. It works for the moment though, as the blue paddles into the shallows until he's far enough onto the beach that folks can bathe him without having to tread water while doing so. And, again, he tries to reach that jar, all while crooning happily at Zaala's scritches. Kimm smirks a bit, shaking her head. "Please don't remind them." And then she blinks. "Why do you want to see our weyr?" Suspicious, this one. "You guys are taking too long. Get him soaped up. He's liable to take off in the middle at this rate." Indeed, the blue's attention is already wavering, head swinging around to peer at an interesting Thing in the sand a few feet away. Oooh, what's that? And he's off a few steps to investigate, pawing at it with a surprisingly delicate touch, a single talon turning over a shell in the sand. Oooh. Kimmila glances over at Th'ero and gives him a small smile. She doesn't pull away from his touch, but she doesn't return it or snuggle up close to him either. Ugh. That'd be icky, mushy stuff. Gag.

Well, darn. Inyri had been attempting to get a good scrub in on Varmiroth's shoulders; alas, but the distraction happened and now she has to chase after him. The good part is that her scrub brush is wet and soaped, so at least it's prepared: watch out, Varmiroth, incoming candidate with bathing gear. "Maybe he'll just keep playing with it for a second," she says to the others, making another go at scrubbing down his neck. "I'm not going to try climbing up to get his head just yet, /just/ in case; don't want to fall from the High Peaks of Dragon into the sand." Especially since now she's wet and would end up with injuries and sand stuck to her clothes, both.

Zaala does as best as she can holding Varmiroth's attention but there just isn't any winning when it's someone else's dragon. They have a mind of their own, even Kereth, her mother's blue would often just go off and do as he pleased at any given moment. Not surprised, she does pivot back to Kimmila, approaching both Weyrleader and bluerider. The offer of the jar is extended to Kimmila, "Here," she offers, "I need both hands to go help out and that's for you and your new Weyr. I would tell you what it was, but, I have a feeling the surprise might be worth his interest a little longer." She says of Varmiroth, then turns a friendly gaze on Kimmila, "It's direct from Xanadu." A beat, some interlude of noises and splashes behind her, a giggle, some laughs, and then another response, "Oh, just curious to see what you make is all. I saw… heard about the notice." A shrug, eyes lifting to the Weyrleader, smirking a bit at his stiff otherwise slow motions to include the woman in his embrace, "How long have you two lived at a Weyr?" Bluntness rings out of her before she can bite her tongue, mirth in her tone. Oops. And then there's a finger point to the other two candidates needing help with Varmi, "Going to go over there." If she still has the jar and Kimmila didn't take it, she'll leave it at Kimmila's feet or near by before scurrying back to the scene of the dragon wash, pushing up her sleeves with some determination.

Edani's got them positioned for a sneak-scrub, just swimming close enough when the blue spots them and swipes at them with his tail. It's a BIG tail and so with a breathless, "Hang on," he dives under it (but not super deep), still towing Inyri. They surface to what should be the dragon's side but the sneaky blue has gone! Through his dripping hair the young man grins at Inyri and starts gliding through the water BACK towards the beach and the now-accessible dragon. Reaching the shallows, he's striding up beside Varimoth and while the blue is sidetracked with the shell, he peers at the crouched stance, calculates and takes a few running steps leaping for the cocked elbow. His plan is to use it as a springboard to leap high enough and grab a neckridge and fling himself over. What? Dragons don't eat people - that's just a myth! And his rider is standing right there. He'll be alright… won't he?

That hand, the one at Kimmila's back, becomes a little firmer with it's grip when Th'ero senses the bluerider's suspicious response to Zaala. Easy there. Though he too is giving the girl a longer look and one that doesn't waver even as the Candidate approaches with the jar in hand and then offered to Kimmila. He leaves it for her to accept, though his brows lift slightly with the response given. "A notice?" he drawls, gaze now shifting back to Kimmila as well. This seems news to him? Or something the Weyrleader possibly forgot. His mind has been occupied with many a thing of late, the Trader's being the biggest upset. At Zaala's next question, Th'ero's shoulders seem to straighten and now he seems a touch awkward. "I have lived at a Weyr since I was posted to Western and Impressed Velokraeth," he replies stiffly and completely misses the point that the question /could/ imply himself and Kimmila as a pair. That or he's evading, which wouldn't be completely out of character for the Weyrleader to do. Then his head tilts up as Edani and Inyri chase after Varmiroth and there's a frown given for the stunts. "What're they doing?" he mutters, already preparing to step in should the result prove to be less then favorable for all.

Kimmila blinks at Zaala, reaching out her left hand to awkwardly take the jar. And promptly hand it to Th'ero. "Open it," she murmurs under her breath, "or he won't leave us alone about it. Remember I asked them to find stones and things for the new mosaic?" Glancing up at the girl again, she looks a bit confused. "Xanadu…oh. We, uh, haven't done anything with the weyr yet." She's been busy! Crashing in Th'ero's weyr, cough. "How long…? All my li-" But then Zaala is off, and Kimmila turns to look up at Th'ero, baffled. "That was weird." Varmiroth settles into the shallows, toying with that shell and glancing at his lifemate from time to time. He doesn't seem to mind the Candidates scrubbing him one bit, but he doesn't hold still. He's constantly moving /some/ part of his body. Wings, tail, head, feet… And then he's being JUMPED ON. Turning, the blue's head whips around and his body twists as well, so hopefully Edani's got a good grip on those ridges. Swinging his head around, Varmiroth peers at Edani for a long moment, before he wuffles, clearly amused, and flops down onto his belly, eyes closing. Edani wins? On the beach, Kimmila laughs. "Damn. That boy's got /balls/," she mutters to Th'ero, her grin crooked.

Inyri's jaw drops. Even as she is neck-scrubbing away, managing to move /with/ Varmiroth every time he moves his head around, she's definitely aware of what is going on with Edani. And that's her first reaction. Just to stare at him. "What was /that/?" she asks, eyes wide; impressed and bewildered all at once. Not that she gets long to stay in that position before Varmiroth is moving again, and at least in /this/ state, she's able to move to scrubbing his back without much of any difficulty. "Besides, I mean, amazing, I guess. It worked. You could've broken a million bones or something, though," she makes sure to point out, just in case he didn't know that.

If the Kimmila or Th'ero go to open the jar, inside will be … clay. What was mud a few days ago has apparently become a more firm form of clay. Add water and it'll go back to being a pasty mud, dry it out and it should hold it's shape. There's obviously a story behind that but Zaala doesn't stick around long enough to tell it. In fact, maybe she wasn't even -on- the list to go dragon washing today which is why she's not actually going -in- the water any further than what she might have done earlier. She regards the craziness of Edani, but not long after that, she's swiftly making her exit, an excuse something along the lines of, "Those two have it handled…" along with a list of others that are supposed to be dragon washing and somehow she's not one of them, if they were to check.

Well, Kimmila DID say 'start at the top'. Edani took her literally! Aaaaand since the 'top' was… well, UP THERE… he went for it. Thankfully, he doesn't know that the Weyrleader is frowning and considering him foolhardy. He's managed to catch those neckridges with both hands and has one long leg hooked over Varmiroth's neck when the blue twists around and the huge head is right there in his face. The hide is slippery and so he slides down a little, but manages to hang on and greet the blue with a sheepish offering, "Scrub your back?" The belly-flop to sand jars him enough that a sensitive area contacts those neckridges rather smartly, he exhales suddenly and he pales, thunking his forehead against the blue hide while he recovers. Muffled, "It was stupid, is what it was. On retrospect, Inyri." As for broken bones, he just snorts. They're on sand, so he doubts that. But, "Thanks," he tacks on with a more normal tone, his color returning. Impressing her wasn't his goal, but he'll take it! "Someone toss me some soapsand?" Preferrably in a bucket or a sack.

Oh right. Th'ero awkwardly accepts the jar from Kimmila and then opens it for her, keeping the lid before passing it back to her or at the very least holding it so she can inspect it. He does as well, only to give a slightly surprised snort. "It's clay," he remarks curiously. "There must be more to it then that…" he adds, tilting the jar a little in his observations. But Zaala is gone before he can question her and he can only slip the lid back on once Kimmila has finished studying it. "It was, but she seemed nice enough. You did post a notice, after all." As he was reminded. At Kimmila's remark, Th'ero can't hold back a dry chuckle of agreement. "Indeed. But that sort of… behavior is a touch too reckless." See? Still a stick in the mud. "Lucky for them both that Varmiroth handled it so well." he drawls, gaze fixating again on the Candidates and the blue, relaxing only when things appear to have calmed once more and no further antics are performed aside from the perfectly normal ones associated with bathing a very large dragon.

Kimmila peers into the jar and tries to ask a question, but Zaala is gone before she can. "That's…really weird," she says, handing it back. Watching Inyri and Edani work on Varmiroth, the bluerider might be exerting her mental control just a tad to keep her fidgety blue still - for the most part - until he's clean and can go chase ripples to his heart's content once more.

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