'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.

Wilderness Inside Her?
Cast: Elara, Ryu, Sianne, Svandis/Diz, X'an

Fort Weyr - Hatching Sands
The sands. The most prominant and possibly most important area for a weyr, this section of Fort is no exception to the rule. Completely enclosed from the outside elements by a high rounded ceiling, the golden white sand glitters under the streams of sunlight that manage to make their way in from the upper openings. Ledges abound in the upper areas of the dome, perfect for riders and their dragons to watch the action happening on the ground. At the back of the sands there appears to be a raised section of sand, built over generations by the golds who have laid clutches here, a couch of sorts for basking on while protecting their eggs. Slightly to one side of that, a small nook has been carved for the weyrwoman to take respite from the heat of the cavern.

===============================< Room Contents >==============================
People: Diz Sianne Elara X'an
Dragons: Wiyaneth Raeyth
Eggs: Cavernous Darkness Egg Murky Bayou Waters Egg Desert Saguaro Egg Tall Dark Conifer Egg Caught In Repose Egg Beneath Thunder's Eye Egg Painted Desert Sands Egg Watchful Prairie Egg Silent Winter's Night Egg

Obvious exits:
Entrance -E-

Elara is fidgeting on the sands, standing beside Wiyaneth. The queen glows with health, especially after her recent trip to the lake for a good scrubbing. She rumbles softly to her clutch. Elara fidgets a moment more and looks around, "Hi!" she says, her voice echoing. "Come on in! Don't forget to bow to Wiyaneth and Raeyth. Always bow. Come on in." Wiyaneth rumbles serenely, rests her head on her forelegs.

Diz, showing a previously unknown spark of self-preservation, has for once stripped herself of her knives before venturing out onto the sands with the others. This alien heat, so much more intense out here than it is in the galleries, seems more intimidating to the woman than the watchful bulk of the eggs' parents. But she covers her unease (as she can't cover the dew of sweat already rising on her brow) by minding the weyrwoman, sketching a bow to the dragons before ending with a nod for Elara herself. "Ma'am."

X'an lingers on the sands, walking between the eggs, he appears to be in the process of dusting the top layers of sand off them, so that they're better visible. Doubtless after the candidates have left, they'll get reburied. "Welcome, welcome. Yes, bowing is essential.." grinning over at Wiyaneth and Elara. "This is like a big nursery though, so please.. no shouting or running around either." — then stepping clear of the last egg, he goes to ..er.. well.. make use of Wiyaneth's elevated height off the sands to prevent getting scorched feet. "Mind if I borrow your foot, Wiyaneth?" to the gold herself.

Not amoung the first to walk nor amoung the last, Si moves out in the center of the group. A few strides and she stops to bow deeply to Wiyaneth first then Raeyth before moving out further. Her eyes move silently from egg to egg "Yes ma'am, sir." An encouraging smile towards a few more shy candidates and Si moves for Beneath Thunders Eye Egg.

Wiyaneth croons softly to X'an and, after helping Elara climb up, she offers the Weyrleader her leg and her muzzle to steady him as he climbs up. Then her eyes are for her clutch and the candidates. She watches them very closely, her tail gently caressing one of the eggs.

Diz is not so confident as Sianne. She lingers near the riders and their partners while the other candidates move off towards the eggs. "How…" A pause ensues, while she appears to debate with herself on whether or not she should display her ignorance. A decision is made. "We just touch them? How many? Are they still soft?" Because it's painful to keep her feet still, she does slip off towards the nearest egg— the red of the Painted Desert Sands egg catching her eye— but she'll hold her hand away until certain of procedure.

X'an looks fondly up at the gold's head, bowing his head to a polite incline as he gets settled, offering the serene gold a scritch to the head she offered as steadiness. "Thankyou, Wiyaneth." - Looking over toward Diz, he nods at the egg. "You place your hand upon them. You can't really do anything -to- them.. it's rather like smooth leather.. but they're hard." he explains. "Be careful though.. first impressions can be a little flooring."

Sianne sighs sofly her eyes falling closed as her fingertips slide softly across the shell "Interesting you are, though not at all overwhelming." a small smile "I like that."
Wiyaneth rumbles gently. Elara softly scritches beneath her queen's jaw and keeps mostly silent.

Diz arches both brows at X'an for his last remark. First impressions? Her expressive mouth twists in a smile that is almost but not quite a smirk. "I think I can handle the way a simple little egg feels under hand," she says, though quietly. No need to risk offending that rumbling mass of gold there. And of course, that leaves her with an excuse to hesitate any longer. Looking down at the rich dark shell, she presses her palm to it in experiment. "Interesting shades these have…"

« Echos of Laughter play softly against your mind, a tantalizing flicker of a wanderer in a dusty landscape or perhaps a wise soul that knows a great deal more than you! Fleetingly, it tickles your frontal lobe, then flits along away, until it seems you're before a campfire under a serene night sky. Wry smiles, a whisper of invite, pull up a pew for a while, and say hello, why don'tcha? Don't be afraid… it doesn't bite much. Well, there was that dream it had where it was biting off heads, but they were all rather odd cactuses, and anyway, that's an entirely different story. AHEM! »

Ryu moves into the hatching sands, from the main entrance.
Ryu has arrived.

Ryu enters, waving a hello, then pausing before the clutchparents to bow. She walks up to Elara. "Sorry I'm late." Her hands are still tucking her shirt into her pants.

Interesting shades indeed. Diz's expression develops into something unique to the guard's face. That is to say, she looks unabashedly startled, without any of the masks typically thrown up to disguise her innermost thoughts. Her hand is pulled sharply away a moment before she dares a second touch of the desert-painted shell, this time grazing her fingertips along the curve of its tip. But first, a sidelong glance at the other candidates and then the weyrleaders, as if she might find some reassurance there in the splitsecond her gaze lingers.

X'an's pale eyes flick to Ryu, registering her bow from his perch on Wiyaneth's foreleg, a hand lifting to welcome the woman to the eggs.

Wiyaneth rumbles a soft welcome to Ryu, and Elara smiles. "Go right ahead."

« Echos of Laughter becomes a full blown guffaw. Hey you out there! Do you usually wear that colour on your face? There's a lot more to life than looking like you're ready to suck a lemon you know! The laughter fades to a wry kind of chuckle, with the implication of half-lidded regard.. strange though that notion might be. PSssssssst would it be better if it whispers its secrets, all sotto voce? Laugh a little girl. Laugh a little.. it makes a rather odd image of your own aspect thrown back at you with a comical expression of surprise at the contact with it. See? Smirk. GO on. You know you wanna. »

Sianne looks up and over at RYu before circling The THunder egg, her fingers trailing over it's surface "You are going to surprise someone that's for sure." a soft laugh "You've got hidden intensity."

A very odd sound dies in Diz's throat, something very much like a yelp or a bark of amusement that's strangled before it can escape. Her hand is withdrawn a second time, scrubbing along the side of her pants as if she were rubbing something off of it. "…bad influence." It's just a murmur. Hardly more than a whisper, really, spoken as she retreats from that egg's side towards another. She makes a show of mopping her brow on her sleeve as she goes. That's why she's moving again. The heat. Really.

Ryu nods. "Lets see if I can do this candidate thing a little better the second time round, shall I?" She grins crookedly, remembering how often she goofed up the first time she stood as a candidate. "Poor Wiyaneth, she probably had nightmares about me," she giggles. She turns and studies the eggs, then marches up to the nearest one. "Here goes," she winks at X'an, and touches Silent Winter's Night Egg.

Diz steps around Ryu, sparing her a mildly curious glance— watching for the young woman's initial reaction once she's made contact— before focusing on the uncertain boundaries of the Watchful Prairie egg. The curiosity in her eyes fades, replaced with something stern. Wary? She'd never admit it. Her fingers creep out and press against the warm slope of its shell.

« Cycles of Life pauses in its never ending quest to peer at you. Shifting mental hues of browns, earthy greens and the rich scent of a summer breeze touch your mind, while two great shining orbs study you with an unblinking and calm gaze. Studying you, the mind then turns and begins to move off slowly, hoping you will follow. »

Ryu's eye twitches. "Hmmm… Well, at least you're not…" She stops that train of thought in mid-sentence. "Let's not think of that, don't want to give you any ideas." The second hand joins the first, and now both hands caress the sides of the egg. "What are you dreaming about, little one?" She closes her eyes to shut out the surroundings.

Sianne just stares rather blankly at the egg "I'll tell you more next time, there are others that should feel your intensity." a fond smile and touch as she drifts off towards another orb.

A small breath is drawn but Diz's reaction to this egg is not as marked as the first. The smooth plain of her brow furrows, her eyes shuttering, while she turns her hand palm-flat against the rippling expanse of grain and sky. This time, she remains silent but it's apparent that her mind is focused elsewhere, chasing whatever it was that tickled her thoughts.

X'an folds his arms loosely over his chest, watching the girls around the eggs with a faint trace of amusement at the corners of his mouth.

« Cycles of Life studies you closely. What is it you want, young one? You have obviously traveled far to reach this place. And are you about to run off again? Run away from your troubles? Again? The presence in the egg continues to shift away from you, warm breezes promising a cold winter. Cycles, never ending cycles, and will you be the one to break the chain? Are you strong enough? »

"Music, hey?" Ryu's head tilts as she smiles. "I like music, too. What do you think of this?" She grins, and hums a few lines of a classic harper's song, then quiets and listens for a response from the egg.

"…wouldn't know… leave that sort of thinking to the boys." That amusement Diz had shown earlier now emerges again, though in a gentler form. She's chuckling under her breath. Now somewhat more comfortable with the experience, though by no means could she be considered at ease, she shifts her touch to the apex and then goes still again. Murmuring, "…lecture me too?"

Sianne stretches then heads determinedly off towards Painted Desert Egg, where she pauses and looks at it for several long moments before reaching out to lay a hand softly upon it's surface.

A look of surprise flicks across Ryu's face, and her head comes up. Her eyes catch X'an's. "We have a music critic here," she grins at him. Her attention returns to her egg. "You'd like something original? Let's see what I can do. How about something for when you hatch?" She kneels down in front of the egg and clears her throat.
I'll be the flame inside your heart,
My love for you will always burn.
You are alone and drifting,
But the clouds are lifting,
Don't give up, you have somewhere to turn.

I'll be the flame inside your heart,
'Til everywhere is warm and bright.
My soul is there inside you,
Let my heart-flame guide you,
Soon you'll see the flaming golden light.

« Cycles of Life draws back slightly, gently. It would never dream of lecturing. It is a guide. But if you are unable or unwilling to listen to its wisdom, then it suggests you go to your own path for a while. There are no hard feelings in this egg, rather it has eternal patience. It will be here waiting when you want to return. »

Diz's eyes snap open and she lets her hand fall away, lungs filling with a noisy breath. Whatever she's reacting to was unexpected, as much so as her initial contact with the first egg. Frowning again, that amusement short-lived, she slides backwards and spends a moment lifting first one foot and then the other to cool them. "We should be allowed training visits to Igen in preparation for this heat," the rambling rover remarks to the riders, crossing back past them towards the egg Sianne had originally approached.

Sianne blinks, puzzled almost at what she feels beneath her fingers and in her mind "Well..huh…your certainly different." chuckle "I like different." fingertips move burnt sienna then moves to the other hues.

« Storm-tossed Perceptions flood your mind like the scourge of a great deluge, lightning crackling through a sheet of clouds, thunder rolling in the distance. The sheer presence in this one is way in excess of the confines of its shell, roiling gales threatening to steal the breath away. Then as suddenly as the impact of its presence arrived in that outsweeping deluge, it seems to calm to an eerie quiet, once it's 'eye' is settled upon you. Greetings… — if a storm could speak with Thunder's voice, this is it. Refreshing cool rain seems to patter lightly on your skin, the presence of the entity expectant and calm in the violent vortex surrounding it. »

Ryu grins again. "Thanks for the sing-a-long." She climbs to her feet and bends over, planting a kiss on the top of the egg. "Bye for now, little one." The egg gets one last pat on the top, then she dusts sand off her knees and moves on to the next egg.

Sianne cant help but laugh now, the egg having lighten the mood or perhaps something else "Things are always changing but the familiar never seems to do so." can that be understood by the occupant of the egg. Feet shift restlessly on the heated sand as she moves around and around the egg, as if wanting to view it from all sides and commit it to memory.

Diz is so very still for a moment before sinking into a crouch beside the stormy egg. Seeming unmindful of the heat for the first time since she arrived on the sands, she lets her hands wander freely over the leathery shell. There's something like respect in her motions now. Respect and caution. "Hello there…" she says quietly, eyeing the object as if it were returning the scrutiny.

Ryu caresses the side of the egg, hands moving in soft rhythmic circles. Eyes once again close as she concentrates. "Follow you? Sure…"

« Storm-tossed Perceptions flicker with a crackle of lightning, turning everything into a flash of sudden, stark understanding. You can see everything so clearly for an instant, but no more than that. In the clouds above you, the resemblance of a face looks down, thoughtful for but a moment before it seems to blend away into the turbulent purple and heavy slashing winds. But here.. here there's calm, powerfully still. Do you seek something quaestor? It knows much perhaps… certainly it knows how overwhelming first contact can be. A slight, gentling breeze across your face seems to suggest the hint of an apology for charging up like a thing possessed. »

"Mmmm, they're big… so many…" Ryu settles down on the sand, getting comfortable. "Such a strange place…" Her head rests against the side of the egg. "Show me more?" she invites the egg.

Like a child caught at naughtiness, Diz glances up and around, gauging the level of attention being directed to her section of the sands. Crouched down as she is, she's partially hidden beside her egg and no one's near enough to eavesdrop, if she's quiet… Her fingers stroke in an unusually gentle caress against the air as she leans to put her lips near the egg's shell. "Freedom," she whispers.

Sianne goggles, mouth agap and it takes her awhile to regain an apperance of normalcy as she looks around the egg at the other candidates "Which one was that?" is whispered to the shell as she leans in close to it "No you don't look odd I just wanted to see as much of you as I can."

"Well." Ryu shakes her head as if shaking off cobwebs and gets to her feet. "That was an interesting trip," she smiles, looking down at the egg. "A traveller, like me." The egg is given a final caress and a kiss on the top. "Bye, sweetie." She steps away, and pauses, watching the other candidates for a few minutes.

« Storm-tossed Perceptions plucks that notion from your lips, whispered against it as it is, and the word seems to be formed out of the rain, the lightning jagging down in the distance, the roiling turbulence that /right here/ doesn't touch you at all. FREEDOM. Over and over, the mind within the egg picks that appart, like a flock of black avians picking at a battlefield… then with a calmness that beggars any suggestion of mockery… 'Always at a price. Those that are most free are those that have committed themselves to a bind that traps and threatenes to overwhelm. Understanding that…. means none can chain, none can bind, save that with which you give them leaway to do. You. You are your own worst enemy' - the power behind that mind watches on, uncontained, for all it's in a shell. »

Diz breaks her contact with the thunder-touched egg and stands abruptly, popping up as if she'd been pinched in the behind. Her face is flushed, and damp with sweat. "Right." She speaks in a mutter now, expression as stormy as the little sphere before her. The guard steps around it, directing a stubbornly pleasant nod at Ryu. She'll complete the circuit and move towards the egg the woman had been singing to. Perhaps it's less likely to offer up wisdom and observations she doesn't care to hear.

Sianne rubs one hand across her eyes then over the back of her neck "I'm afraid your getting me all dizzy with all the questions and all. Let me ponder and I'll come back and answer them another day." a last touch then she moves off to an egg she hasn't gotten cozy with yet.

Ryu nods at Diz as she passes. "It can be frustrating. If you want, talk to me later," she whispers, just loud enough for Diz to hear before mvoing to Before Thunder's Eye Egg. She reaches out a hand and carefully places it on the top of the egg. "Hey there, little one."

Sianne looks over at Diz and Ryu "SOmething wrong? There was one egg that got me all Dizzy it seemed." offering a grin "I like that one over there, it's got something that kinda just draws me." pointing to Beneath Thunder's Eye egg, though her other hand is still drifting around the surface of the egg before her."

Diz pauses mid-step as Sianne reaches the musical egg's side first. A smile flickers over her lips, her nod repeated for the other candidate, before she pivots to survey her available choices. "Thank you, that's very kind," she remarks to Ryu, though her tone is neutral, her face still flushed. Then she's moving again, marching towards an otherwise neglected clump of ovoids. Paler sibling to the Painted Desert Sands egg, she studies the three lavender spots on the Desert Saguaro before reaching out to touch each. One. By. One.

« Taunting Ultra-Violet Waves responds quickly to the touch. Oooo! Visitors! Bright light shines into the darkest reaches of your mind, yielding clarity and tranquility on some of your more troubled thoughts. Friendly tendrils gently poke and prod you, getting to know you better. »

Sianne steps away from the sands as she beckoned from the tunnel. A final bow and a smile and she's gone.

Diz is more inclined to keep her smile while her hand grazes the second desert-shaded egg. She won't linger there for very long but contact with it does seem to place her in a more positive frame of mind. She doesn't skulk towards the egg she'd previously approached this time, rather her old confident stride is back and her touch this time hesitates not at all.

Ryu flinches and looks momentarily startled. Taken aback, her mouth drops open and eyes widen, then she suddenly regains her composure. "That's quite an entrance," she giggles. "You'll have to learn rainbows." She rubs the side of the egg softly. "Rainbows and sunsets."

« Whispers of Wisdom flicker into your mind, dark and earthy. Mysteriousness shrouds your thoughts with a solitary cloth of dreams, and yet as you are taken back into your dreams to explore, you sense that this egg contains more than you'd expect. Sometimes one, sometimes many, ever shifting from the single to the group. »

Diz slides into a crouch again, tipping herself nearer the egg. For the first time, something not unlike fascination flickers to life in the oceans of her eyes. The guard is intrigued, to say the least, so much so that she fails to eavesdrop on the conversation being held not far away between Ryu and the stormy one. "And what are we looking for, mm?"

« Whispers of Wisdom explores your dreams, leading you on a wild chase through the wilderness. Unexplored territories of your mind you never thought you would see, you are brought to by this presence. Echoes of wilderness cries whispers in the furthest reaches of your mind and you wonder if you are being followed. A moment of fear, of being alone in the dark with something you can not see, soon gives way to solitude and calm as the mind pauses in the exploration and turns to regard you quietly. You are obviously not what you appear, are you? »

"Yes, like that. And you did it very well, too," Ryu smiles with satisfaction as her hands trace the colors on the egg. "You're really quite good, you know. And I'm Ryu." A finger rubs momentarily at a dark spot as if to rub off a stain. "I'm someone who's waiting for you."

"No." Diz's smile struggles back into existence. "Neither are you. But I'm alright here if you are." For just a moment, the woman seems to struggle with her composure— it threatens to break as she struggles, realizing she's conversing with the blank face of an object. That passes though, impossible to cling to given the undeniable presence of… this. That. Whatever it is. She traces the backs of her knuckles against the subtly patterned side. "I like it here."

« Whispers of Wisdom responds with a soft and surprisingly gentle brush against your mind. Many beings pressing up close to you. Accepting you exactly how you are. Calling you one of their own. A family. Very important, family is. Security and safety and protection. This egg warms to your touch. »

Ryu's face creases in thought. "I can't really think how to answer that. I'm just… me, I guess. " Her hands forget to move as she tries to think. "Maybe you kind of have to get to know someone to know who they are." There's silence for a few moments while she consideres further. "I guess you'll have to wait til you hatch for that. But you'll like us. I'm pretty sure of that."

That's a seductive feeling. Drawn in by the first subtle rush and snared by the second, Diz indulges in a look of minor confusion. "Yes. But… how can you understand and be both? The wild places and the safe ones?" The questions are asked absently. They almost have a touch of the rhetorical about them. "No one said you lot would be this complicated. One thinks they would warn us."

« Whispers of Wisdom seems quietly amused, all of them. The feeling ripples through the egg, from presence to presence. You first have to understand the wild before you can understand where the safety is. Just like you first have to understand yourself before you can begin to understand others. As for warning…are you initiated now? Welcome to the pack, Wilderness Within Her. »

Diz cocks her head to the side, smile twisting up in a bemused quirk on one side. "I think I am… you've a better tone about you than the others. Thank you. I'll have to think on that." That admission wrung easily from her, she chuckles again and gives the egg another caress before straightening up. "Diz. It doesn't have quite the ring as the other, but…"

Wiyaneth doses quietly, trusting her rider to alert her if anyone hurts her eggs. This is one queen who isn't too protective, that's for sure.

« Whispers of Wisdom repeats, Wilderness Within Her. »

"Wow!" And that's all that comes out. Who'd believe someone could actually silence the chatterbox - especially an egg! The mouth opens a closes a few times before the circuit-breakers in the brain reset. "Wow. You're… I'm impressed," comes out in a squeak. "I most definitely want to get to know you. I like you lots already. You're really neat." The last sentences come out in a ruch, words stumbling over each other.

Diz's smile strengthens. "As you wish," she murmurs. She draws a humid breath, releasing it slowly, and then steps with apparant reluctance from that one. Her course, meandering as it is, leads her on an aimless path back towards the leadership. As she goes, she lets her fingers trail over the eggs on either side— not quite touching but near enough to pick up their greater heat. "How many are we supposed to meet and greet, sir? Ma'am? Is it always like this?"

Elara smiles, "Always like what?" she questions. "It's different for everyone, I'm told. And you can meet as many as you'd like, but don't overheat yourself."

X'an casts his pale eyes down from his perch on the lightly dozing Wiyaneth, tipping his head to the side, arms still folded over his chest. "As many as you see fit to meet and greet with, Diz. And… pretty much yes. It's … they're…" he looks across the clutch, chews on his inner cheek and offers a faint shrug. "Unique. Every single one is different, just like people. And I /told/ you first impressions are a little shocking to the uninitiated.. I /did/ warn you." winking to the former guard.

"Question? I guess…" Ryu's head tilts and her eyes close as she thinks. Hands continue caressing the egg, and a soft humming sounds deep in her throat. "Not really a question, I s'pose. Just, I'd like to be friends. Special friends, you and me."

"Like… strangeness." Diz's bemusement lingers, expressed in the form of a backwards glance over one shoulder at the quietest of her new aquaintances. "I think I'm alright for a little while. I'll dunk myself in the lake again afterwards if I have to," she continues on, unable to hide how intrigued she is by the experience. Before she moves off though, she pauses to smile up at them— a clear and thoughtful smile, untouched by false facades or hidden motivation. "But you didn't -say-. No worries, Oaf, I won't hold it against you." Then it's off towards the other eggs, near that patch that haven't seen much attention yet.

Elara's brows furrow a bit and she looks over at her Weyrleader. "Oaf?"

« Crimson Cavalry of Adventure charges forward, a dust cloud of bright orange in its blistering wake. Swirling and whirling in an ecstasy of greeting and welcome, the jubilant touch fills you with a boundless energy that mimics its own and a sense of urgency. This one needs to find something new! To seek out what is past the horizon line. A neon blue ribbon of curiosity twines about rippled, hazy visions of barely discernible land and seascapes, images likely taken from its parents or other visitors like you. While it has no words to ask, the question is easy enough to interpret. Where have you been? »

X'an coughs faintly. "Oaf?" brow arching, he shakes his head. "I can't help it if you don't actually -listen- to me, Diz." he replies calmly enough. "And my /name/ is X'an. When all is said and done, Diz… I'm your /weyrleader/…" just a little emphasis. Notice that? Gooooood.

"Getting lectured," Diz might be heard remarking to her latest find, looking over her shoulder to direct a crooked grin back at the leadership. "Yes sir, my apologies sir." She's in far too good a mood now to be grumpy over having trod on toes she meant only to tweak. "Calm, calm," she continues, returning her attention to the egg and giving its top a soothing pat. "No sense in missing opportunity, rampaging around that way…"

« Crimson Cavalry of Adventure may listen to your responses but this one is not the kind to patiently wait. Oh no, there's no way it's standing still with all this room to roam. Too slow to tell your tale, it sets in motion numerous multicolored tendrils from its fiery core. This herd of colorful light flies dizzily about your mind like the painted steeds on a merry-go-round, touching, tasting, feeling, poking questing muzzles in every nook and cranny until your memories are absorbed. Ah, there are /many/ things of interest to it here. Things it has never seen or known. But it will one day, oh yes, it /will/! »

"Bye, little one. I'll see you again." And a kiss on the top of the egg is followed by several coughs as she looks up, hiding her mouth behind one hand. No, that wasn't a snigger, no it wasn't, not at all. She bites her lower lip, trying to control rapid twitches, keeping her face turned away from X'an. A wink at Diz, then she turns to the next egg.

"You are a very deceptive little egg," Diz says, hypocritical enough that she can turn the lectures around on an unsuspecting victim. "Lovely colors though. Like a child's dream of a Gather." The lingering amusement in her tone removes whatever sting might've existed in her first remark, and coupled with the lightness of her touch against the egg's side, it's obvious she meant nothing serious by it. "I've no love of children though, I'm afraid… I'm sure there are others here who do."

« Crimson Cavalry of Adventure tires quickly, much too quickly. Blind to its own youthful frailty, it used more of its energy rushing about than was wise and now exuberance is replaced by dim, burgundy exhaustion combined with a certain tinge of satisfaction. You have given it more than it had before and that must be rewarded. Expanding one last time, it fills you with warmth, a deep sense of devotion that cradles your mind with surprising gentleness after its rip-roaring run. With a final touch of velvety softness and a soothing breath against your senses, it picks up an easy canter and slips away down a sunset trail back into darkness. »

A low sound from deep in Ryu's throat grows into an amused chuckle. "Ten seconds and I'm in trouble already," she giggles. Her head turns towards X'an with an evil glint, then back to the egg. "What do you call a dragon that eats X'an?" she asks the egg. "You call a dragon-healer," she answers her own riddle. "Before it gets a stomach-ache," she finishes with a giggle. "Oh, dear. I can see where you and I would get a long just fine. But a certain Weyrleader might not appreciate us," she giggles again.

Diz settles her hands behind her, folding them at the small of her back, and sand-slides towards the next. "Naptime," she says to anyone who might be listening, to explain her quick selection of another to visit. She's been fickle today, Svandis has. One more though, she thinks, and that one will be the dark grey ovoid that's tipped at the edge of the clutch. She takes a knee beside the Cavernous Darkness egg and her hand finds its surface.

Wiyaneth rumbles softly, and with a bright grin Elara whispers something to X'an and bustles off the sands.

Elara Elara leaves the hot sands for the tunnel.
Elara has left.

X'an smirks faintly at Ryu's tease, shaking his head at her and rolling her eyes. At Elara's whisper, he arches an eyebrow and nods to her. "O'coures…"

« Flickering at Details responds quickly to the touch. Oooo! Visitors! Bright light shines into the darkest reaches of your mind, yielding clarity and tranquility on some of your more troubled thoughts. Friendly tendrils gently poke and prod you, getting to know you better. »

"Doll" Ryu seems to be having a fit of the giggles as she slides down onto the sand beside the egg. "Oh, my. I'm going to put a fence around you with a sign, 'Keep out! This is Ryu's egg!'" More giggles with a looks at X'an. "Sorry…" is then followed by a ducked head as she whispers to the egg, "not /that/sorry. Poor house indeed." She leans up against the egg, looking as if she could stay there all day.

Diz's smile for the latest egg is borderline friendly, seemingly relaxed, but her attention is not fixed. She pays it the negative compliment of looking up and away, tracking Elara's progress out of the cavern. Dark brows sweep up in a show of confusion before she forces herself back to gladhanding the egg in front of her. "A pleasure, I'm sure."

« Flickering at Details seems interested by your touch. The edges of your mind blur with a psychadelic medly of colors as your most faint memories begin to glow with ultraviolet light. Supressed fears and recollections are pulled to the surface for curious inspection. »

"Absolutely. Only tease people you like, otherwise it isn't fun, it's just plain mean." Ryu puts the side of her face to the egg. "So what do you want to do first when you hatch?" she asks. "Other than eat, I mean. You'll be meeting Stinker, you'll like him. And X'an, he's fun, really, but he pretends not to be."

X'an chuckles to himself, peering up sidelong at Wiyaneth's massive eye, then back to the remaining candidates. "Now I don't just have to worry about people, I have to worry about /eggs/ too? For shame, for shame." he murmurs.

"Ah ah. You're lovely, but we've only just met. I'm afraid those are off-limits." Diz gives her head a shake, as if clearing clouds from inside of it. Immediately after, she gives the pebbled surface of the egg a gentle pat to show she means no insult. A glance is sent up at the man on Wiyaneth's leg, his voice triggering that look, but she's distant enough to not hear what was said so it's back to shmoozing.

« Flickering at Details is pleased that you've come to visit today! Happy flashes of purple and pink sparkle and glitter through your thoughts like little gemstones to accessorize your mind. Warm tendrils of affection wrap around your mind, as though it were trying to share good feelings and good times with you. »

Wiyaneth cracks an eye and rumbles softly to Izelth's rider, her eye casting a light across the clutch, rich green.

"Hmmmn, yeah, I agree Wiyaneth…" X'an smirks a little to the golden queen's head, nodding at the sands. "I'm being -observed-…"

Wiyaneth sighs happily, her tail curling around her haunches.

"Oh, you /are/ something else, aren't you." Ryu giggles. "You and me, we'll give X'an nightmares." It seems as far as she's concerned, this pair have already impressed. "Upside down?" A crooked grin greets that thought. "That'll be a treat to see." Her arms go around the egg in a hug. "I can't /wait/ til you hatch."

Diz gives a delicate shudder and detaches from the shadowed swell of that egg. "Too much like my older sister, I'm sorry. I've no great love for that sort of… accessorizing, thank you. You're very sweet though. Perhaps one of the girls…" Then she's safely away from pink glitter and purple sparkles, zeroing in on the weyrleader once more. While reaching the gold's side, she spends several seconds looking off towards the silent winter's night egg. "So strange," she remarks, musing. "I think I've touched almost all of them. They are a fine bunch, Wiyaneth. Your pride is understandable."

Wiyaneth rumbles softly to Diz, with a touch of dry humor. Thanks, but you'll have to suck up better than that to win this queen's adoration. She rumbles softly again, tail curling protectively around one of her eggs.

X'an tilts his head down toward Diz, smiling faintly. "Well, she's proud of every clutch she has, Diz. It's in her nature, I think." detaching one arm from his folding, he reaches up to scritch the gold over her eyeridge, only to hop down a second later. "Ok, folks… wrap up with the egg you're with for now… there'll be other touchings, but I'd be a poor weyrleader of you all if I let you stick around all day, getting dehydrated and getting ideas." smirk. "Alright?"

« Flickering at Details comes across with a clear, if odd picture. Like a little sign hanging off a doorknob, one can easily make out "Do Not Disturb" »

"I've never seen another clutch," Diz says reasonably enough. "This is my first and I'm impressed. The compliment," she adds, spearing the gold with a look that is both severe and amused— somehow she manages it— "Was entirely sincere. The pun… was not intended." She moves off before she can be swatted or subjected to thrown sand, punishment for bad jokes, directing herself back towards the entrance and the promise of something cool and wet to drink.

Wiyaneth warbles after Diz, obviously quite amused now.

"Okay, sweetie, I have to go now, but I'll be back." Ryu climbs to her feet and nearly tumbles onto the egg.. "Youch, legs went to sleep." She shakes one foot, then another. "Bye for now." The traditional kiss on the top of the egg, the good-bye pat, and off to bow at the queen. "My lady, your eggs are indeed the lovliest I've had the pleasure of meeting. And that's not sucking up." The latter comment is accompanied with a curtsey, then she turns and waits for the weyrleader.

You leave the hot sands for the tunnel.

Shortly thereafter…

Fort Weyr - Candidate Barracks(#10124RA$)
Carved from a natural bubble in the volcanic stone, this cavern has room enough to hold around two dozen occupants comfortably. Along the walls are stationed sets of cots and clothes presses, each made up to the standards of the weyrwoman. Above, the soft white light from electric lamps cast down during waking hours.

+view available. To get local help, type '+help'.

People: Diz Ryu Phoebe Elara X'an
Firelizards: Stinker
Objects: Fort Preference Machine Many Rows of Cots Gitar

Obvious exits:
Center Bowl -CB-

legs can be seen sticking out from under a cot. A thump is followed by under-the-breath rude words as the tops of a head meets the bottom of the cot before being withdrawn. Ryu emerges, rubbing her head. "I can't find my sock." She plunks down on the bed, wiggling her foot, which has one toe protuding from a hole in the current sock.

Elara bustles over to take a few of those jugs off of X'an's tray. "I think your firelizard gave it to Phoebe?" she says to Ryu. "Thanks for bringing water, X'an. Drink up, everyone who was on the Sands!"

Diz arrives not from her cot but from outside, fresh and damp from a head-dunk in the nearest trough. Water is dribbling down her face from her hair, braided as it is, and she's dabbing at the rivulets with a rather ineffective piece of linen. "Worse than a Gather here," is her not-entirely-unhappy remark at finding a loose crowd to wade through, upon entering. "Ah, water to drink, lovely!"

"Oh you're very welcome.." X'an, once relieved of the heavier jugs, slides the lightened tray of glasses onto a spare cot, stepping clear of it. He has a damp hankie strewn over the back of his neck, it appears… "Sock?" for a VERY brief moment, until Elara speaks up and clarifies, there was a flash of panic on X'an's face there. Whuh? Yeah, apparantly sock-theft strikes certain worry-cords in his head.

Divided by the slender, snubbed line of her small nose, Phoebe's face is an imperfect heart of sallow skin covered in a second layer of freckles so thick they form patches of brown across her high cheekbones. Mellow, chocolate-shaded eyes are set wide and tilted deeply at the corners, hooded with thick folds and surrounded by heavy lashes beneath the high arch of slender brows. Soft pink, her thin lips are nearly non-existant and set low over the understated curve of her chin that leads into the short sweep of an otherwise elegant neck. Thick crow's wing black tangles at her nape and sprawls across her shoulders, hair a mass of untamed ringlets that frames her face and falls messily down her back. At only 5'6", her figure is all curves, for she is slightly stocky and well-built with wide hips, a generous bust, and just enough muscle to indicate she works for a living.
On her right shoulder she wears the simplistic knot of a candidate.
A lengthy chemise of natural fibers hides beneath the heavier fabric of a burgundy overskirt decorated with subtle stitching and neat pleats about the narrow waistline. A bodice draws tight across Feeb's chest, pushing up what endowment she currently has, the square neckline of the matching burgundy top covering up the low-slung chemise that lay under it. Utilitarian, a narrow belt laces about her midsection, a few handy pouches and tools dangling from the length that has been dyed a natural brown to match the comfortable custom-made boots upon her feet.

"Sock? OH no, I left it in the baths!" With that, Phoebe bobs a quick curtsy at Elara and X'an, then spins clumsily about and dashes off, towel still wrapped around her head and dress flapping. Presumably, she's fetching the gifted sock…

Ryu willingly takes a glass. "You!" she shakes a finger at the little brown brat. "It would be easier to lock you up." She drains the glass, then flops back onto her pillow. Diz, it could be worse, trust me." A hand waves in the air. "Last time I was a candidate, we had a guy who used to, umm, pass gas in the middle of the night." She holds her nose for the dramatic touch. "Lots of it, and very very stinky. Some of us took to sneaking out and sleeping elsewhere."

Elara's brows arch up at Ryu's tale, and she blushes a bit. She gets herself a glass of water and sips at it quietly.

Diz's lips twitch. Such an inelegant subject. She doesn't appear to know whether to laugh with Ryu or wrinkle her nose in distaste. "That's why I've claimed a cot in the far corner. There's room enough still I've no neighbors, yet," she compromises with a neutral answer. "Thank you, weyrwoman." Her hand sweeps out and takes up one of the water glasses as she passes the tray, striding onwards towards… X'an. Big surprise there. "If you've a minute, sir? I have something I've been meaning to hand over to you, in my press."

"The touching… Wiyaneth's eggs are sure different from all the others I've touched," Ryu comments. "Well, the ones I've touched so far, at least." She sits up. "You have any more of that water?" She leans towards X'an. "Um, sir," she hastily adds. Lack of including the politically correct terms in her speech doesn't indicate lack of respect. "I'm used to eggs that always seem to be scaredy-cats. That last egg, that was sure something else."

Elara nods as she pours a glass for Ryu and hands it over. "Did you like the eggs? Did any of them really stand out to you?" She glances sidelong at Diz and then at X'an, and then turns to allow them as much privacy as the barracks can provide.

X'an lifts his chin up, back straightening as the worried look is chased from his features, one brow spocking slowly toward his hairline as Diz approaches him. "Hmm? Of course, candidate Diz.." tucking his left hand in the small of his back, he strides toward her cot and the promised press and object within it. Nodding over toward the cot where he rested the glasses, X'an indicates the water jugs. "Plenty to go around, candidate." is said toward Ryu, the man being all officialish. He smiles faintly though. "I'll have to take your word on that though.. I've not actually communed with the occupants of the eggs myself. It seems rather pointless considering I already bonded."

Some of Diz's perfectly cultured mask of disinterested amusement crumbles when Ryu mentions the experience they all just shared out onto the sands. Her step falters a moment as she spares a glance and a nod for the candidate. Then it's forward, carry on, carry on! She precedes X'an to her (relatively) quiet corner and sets the water glass down for a moment to rummage in her press. A too-fat purse of what may well be marks is produced, but obscured as she keeps her back turned partially to the rest of the room. "This," she murmurs, "Is the price of a good runner. And these… are letters, as I promised."

"Actually, they all stood out," Ryu nods her head in emphasis. "Definite personalities, you know what I mean?" She begins to rummage in her footlocker. "I should warn you, though…" Her head pops back up from her rummaging to look Elara in the eye with a grin. "That last egg is so much like me it's scary. You might want to have a few hiding places ready when it hatches," she giggles.

Elara grins, "I'm sure they'll all find their perfect partners, then it's up to their riders to keep them in line. While it's our job to keep you in line." Her eyes twinkle a bit as she finishes her water and pours herself some more. "So what chore did you have today?"

X'an cocks his head. That's the sum total of reaction toward Diz's held out offering. Pale eyes flick over them, registering the full mark sack, then flicking up to the former guard's face assessingly. He doesn't say a word, just takes the letters in hand, and the money purse with it with a small, but noticeable nod. The only betrayal of any emotion on his part happens to be a glint in those frosty eyes. "Where would I be sending these letters, hmm?" he inquires, as well.. that's a sensible thing to ask.

"Well, being as I'm a trained book-keeper and walking disaster in a kitchen, naturally they assigned me to helping the cook." Ryu holds up a hand, displaying a bandaged finger. "And Thera, who wants kitchen duty, is working in the stables." She grins crookedly. "Whoever draws up the chores duty makes sure they are really chores instead of something we like doing." Turning towards X'an and Diz, she calls to the guard. "Diz, what do they have you doing, embroidery or something like that to go along with your skills?"

"I've tagged them with the name and location of one of the rendezvous points we'd arranged previous to our last voyage," Diz responds, turning back towards the bronzerider to settle those items in his hands. "A tavern. I don't imagine you'd have been there before. The owner's a friend." She allows herself one of her blade-thin smiles, looking up at him. "Do try to behave yourself with that information, sir? If it's used… unwisely, it would be known one of us had given it out." She looks past X'an's arm then, her own darker eyes gone bright with a sudden glittering smile. "Earlier today, it was cleanup and raking at the lake. Terrific fun. Really."

Elara glances over her shoulder to X'an and Diz and lifts a brow to the Weyrleader before she smiles at Ryu. "It's supposed to keep you working at all different chores, so you get experience with everything, rather than just doing what you're comfortable with."

The mark purse is pocketted, the letters neatly tapped to regularity against one palm, then slipped inside his jacket pocket, X'an then displays a smile that doesn't /quite/ reach his eyes for Diz' words. "When am I ever /stupid/ about information I've gleaned, Diz?" he asks rhetorically, as the answer is probably not one he actually wants given, "But I wouldn't say I've never been to a place. Taverns.. I've seen far too many of." That last bit is muttered really, mostly under his breath. Back to Elara his gaze turns, nodding faintly at what she said. "Everything teaches you something in candidacy.. it's all to a purpose. If all you were doing was the same thing you'd always done.. well, you'd not get that broad scope of skills required."

"Yeah. Learning to take orders, build some character, teamwork, all that razamataz." Ruy grins crookedly, crossing her arms. "I've only got one problem. How come I can't complain if I have to cook something, but you guys are allowed to complain how it tastes." Her smile gets wider. "Seems to me, you guys should have to eat it and build some character of your own. If you want to be a team, you have to put up with your team-mates weaknessesnow don't you?"

Diz steps around the bronzerider and settles on the edge of her cot, leaning down to haul her boots off. "It's a possibility, Ryu, that you may be able to trade for chores that compliment your own skill sets but also provide opportunity for learning and improvement," she remarks. The first boot thunks to the floor and she tugs at the second. "I've discovered an unexplored talent for butchery, for instance, assisting in the kitchens. A practical application of my skill with edged weapons. Y'ric suggested it. Clever man. I quite look up to him," she finishes, with a lopsided smile.

Elara nods, "You are aloud to trade chores, but if we find you doing the same chore all the time you'll be forced to do other chores." She looks at X'an again and nods, "Yes, Y'ric is quite clever."

"So do I." X'an's comment about Y'ric might be unexpected really. "I always did. He got out first." — aaaaah. Hmmm. Clue? Possibly. Finding a spot to lean his shoulders back against the wall, he looks over at Ryu with a slight smirk. "Who's to say I /don't/ eat what you cook, regardless? You'd never know… I had to slog through Alorye's rather interesting attempt at making bricks out of bread. That was … an experience. Still, soaking it in stew made it palatable." he shrugs. "I'm useless at cooking myself.. the trick is, to do the kitchen chores, but skive out of the actual recipe following. Otherwise you end up with burned pots, a really peeved off cookie, and blisters on your blisters."

"Actually, it's the self-maiming and poisoned consumers that are the most likely results," Ryu notes. "The trick is to find someting that's new to you that you can do reasonably well." The fingers come out to be counted, bandage and all. "So far, I've re-glued a living cavern full of chairs, build step-stools for toddlers so they can reach sinks without help, built a garden and a treehouse, done stable duty without killing any runners, and done inventory."

"And he to you." This is Diz's comment for X'an, made while she stands and begins to fiddle with the buckle of her sheath-belt. Metal clinks against metal, leather whispers and voila, she's been disarmed. This is placed with a little more care on top of her press before she too retreats to her cot to stretch out, back pressed against the wall. "I'll try to remember to trade with an eye on variety." And that was for Elara, spoken as she bends a knee up and drapes her arm over it— a casual pose for her, oddly relaxed. Pointedly so, perhaps. "Inventory? Oh?" Something dreamy shades over her eyes. "Perhaps I'll request that next."

Elara smiles, "I actually enjoyed inventory work, as long as there were no tunnelsnake surprises."

X'an blinks once at Diz' comment, tips his head to contemplate it, but doesn't deign to comment really. Too busy scanning the barracks, and listening to what he hears, looking at what he sees.

"Inventory was quite… interesting," Ryu grins. She copies Diz's pose. "One of the guys was doing the wine-skins. He had quite a bunch that were only half full, so he emptied them into each other to fill them up." Her hands mimic her words. The results were rather… unusual," she giggles.

See, that's the sort of information that really does not need to be heard by Diz. That dreamy-thoughtful look just grows deeper and she eases out of the conversation, mind caught up in turning over a number of possibilities. Some likely, some not so likely, but entertaining nonetheless. And there's nothing quite like plotting lawlessness in the presence of authority figures.

Elara blinks, "He mixed the wine?" she asks with a frown. She doesn't think wine is supposed to be mixed. "Was that here? At Fort?" Does she need to order all new wine? She glances again at X'an, curious as to what he got from Diz.