Fort Weyr - Herb Gardens
A sturdy wooden door leads out to a peculiar section of the Weyr that's clearly taken some time to construct. Rather similar to the Weyr's bowl — though much, much smaller in scope — the space has been filled with all manner of garden goodness. Here, the air is redolent with the hum of trundlebugs and the spicy-sweet aromas of the herbs and spices that are flourishing. Sage, spiceroot, rosemary, thyme, and more make their home here; so, too, does comfrey, chamomile, mint, and a smattering of tea plants.

It is, for the most part, a purely utilitarian garden — the herbs grown are for the cooks and Healers alike to put to use. Each row is clearly labeled with plastic signs that are changed out seasonally as old plants are removed and new ones put in. Some plants are potted in half-barrels, while others make their home in the soil itself; all of them are well-tended not only by the gardeners, but also those cooks and Healers with a hand for them. Stone pavers have been used to sculpt walking paths between the rows, giving a further sense of organization to the place.

Yet, no garden would be complete without flowers and a small section has been set aside purely for those with a green thumb to experiment with floral creations that have no useful purpose than to look pretty. A gate leads to that portion of the garden, with a woven trellis laced with delicate pink blossoms arching over it. Across from the flower garden is the vegetable garden, where a large shed and a storage structure can also be spotted.

On a pleasant Fortian afternoon, those candidates who aren't out of the Weyr on scheduled excursions have found themselves put to work in the herb gardens. Fynnigan is amongst them, currently kneeling on a soft pad as he tends some young plants in the soil around him. With a trowel in one gloved hand and a little rake in the other, he looks absolutely comfortable with what he's doing.

It has been quite a while since Eirwyn has been on kitchen duties. Not after that first time. It was quite a disaster and somehow her name never came up on that roster again…until today. Whether they just could not keep her out of there any longer or chance has been favouring the cooks for awhile, either way neither were happy about her ending up in the kitchens today. With the summer heat and the kitchens going full blast for lunch, Eirwyn stumbles out of the kitchen door looking rather flushed and holding a mug of water. "Now you get you some fresh air deary, that will set you right." Is said by the cook who ushers her out of the kitchen with a look of relief upon her face.

Fynnigan looks up to see Eirwyn being led out, and cants his head in surprise. Once the cook's gone he sets down his gardening tools and sheds his gloves, picking his way through the planters and beds to get to the girl's side - to lend a hand perhaps, if she really is as woozy as she looks? "H-hi, Wyn," he greets her, looking concerned. "Are you ok? Y-you look a bit, um, a bit peaky?"

As Eirwyn sees Fynnigan here in the garden she turns back towards the kitchen to find the door already closed to her. As his words catch her ears she turns back to him, looking perhaps even more red then before, "Yeah, just got a little hot is all." Eirwyn finally responds while leaning against the doorframe. Perhaps that doorframe is what is keeping her standing. "So, you got gardening, eh?" She says looking out over the rows of plants he was tending instead of looking at him.

"I did," Fynn replies, nodding his head with a happy little smile. He's relaxed in the setting, with the current company, and he sighs happily as he looks over the herb garden. "I quite like g-gardening. It's therapeutic, d-don't you think?" His hands are slipped into his pockets, and he rocks back a little on his heels. "Y-you got kitchens?"

"Never really done it before here. I mean I guess we have gardens but never really been there." Eirwyn says with a glance around at the place before finally looking at Fynnigan. "I had the chores once and was supposed to weed, and I guess what I pulled up wasn't weeds. It looked just like what they told me to pull." She makes a fluttering hand gesture at all the plants before giving a sigh before glancing back at the kitchens and nods, "I think they were hoping the eggs would crack before I ended up in there again. I am just a useless holder to them and I guess they are right." Not quite her bright self today.

Fynnigan extends a hand to awkwardly pat Eirwyn's shoulder. "S-sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between what's a weed, and what's not. You've got to /r-really/ know… I don't know. I'm just doing what they t-tell me to do." He shrugs, a smile curling up the corner of his mouth. "Maybe this'll be your last kitchen duty? I-I overheard someone saying the eggs will hatch, um, soon - like any day now."

Eirwyn shakes her head at his attempt at reassurance, "No, thats not it. I wish there were more. Many more. I wish I could stay here and be free forever. I know as soon as those eggs hatch, Ma is going to drag me back home. Then it will be…back to lessons and etiquette and having nothing to look forward to but getting married." She slumps a bit against the door frame and sighs again. "I want to do more than that.."

"Um…" Fynn pauses for a moment to think, running a hand over his ponytail-bound curls. "Well, um, you could stay here maybe, even if you don't Impress? Or, um, you could maybe… I'lm going to go to, um, Western, after, if… you know, and… well, maybe they - if you wanted, of course? - maybe they'd like you there?" It's a very fractured suggestion, and very uncertain too.

At his suggestion Eirwyn looks up at him and finally a touch of a smile comes to her lips."I would love to explore Pern with yo..I mean at all." Yes she goes redder still. She suddenly looks to the gardens, aren't they the most interesting thing. "I am sure my mother has different plans for me. I dare say I won't see the light of day until I am thirty. I am a holder's daughter Fynn. Lady Holder. I wasn't supposed to do this…I never got their permission. If it weren't for my father and the staff here, I would already be back at Rubicon, serving out the rest of my sentence. I reckon my only hope is too impress on those sands." A life people might be envious of and she presents it as like being in jail.

Confused at first, then taken aback, Fynn clearly hadn't been expecting Eirwyn's lineage to be as she's just described. "I-I… oh! O-oh, I didn't… I didn't… um…" Flustered, blushing and rubbing at the back of his neck furiously, the teen looks awkwardly down at his toes and bites at his lip. "Y-you're a /L-Lady/? L-Lady Eirwyn? I'm… I-I'm s-sorry, I didn't… didn't know, um… I-I thought by H-Holder you meant - meant like m-me…"

At his reaction to her admission, Eirwyn looks up to him with a bit of distress on her features. "No, no, don't do that. I am just Wyn, ok, just Wyn. I …thought you knew what I meant, and I was glad you didn't treat me special. Oh Faranth am I tired of special." She says with exasperation in her voice and she steps away from the wall, her legs go a bit wobbly and she ends up grabbing at him to steady her. "I think I need more water…" She says a bit breathlessly. "What a mess I am making of things today…" She mutters.

Fynnigan steadies Eirwyn, looping his arm under hers to add more stability. "C-come on," he says softly, leading her over to a bench and setting her down. "Y-you sit there, I'll g-get you something to drink." Awkwardly he pats her shoulder, then trots over to where his gardening things are, bringing back a flask. "It's still, um, a little bit cold. I-is that ok?"

Eirwyn lets Fynnigan lead over to the bench and she settles onto it with a rather unladylike thump. She has her head in her hands when he returns with the water. She lifts it up to take the water and takes a big gulp before she looks back to Fynnigan, "Please don't treat me different. I swear if you call me /Lady/ Eirwyn I might just punch you." Despite the words, there is a hint of a smile on the last words. "The water was fine. I am feeling better already."

Fynn sits down on the bench beside Eirwyn, half torn between watching her to check she's ok, and not wanting to be see watching her, in case it's inappropriate. His hands are clasped in between his knees and he offers her a coy smile. "I-I wouldn't want you to punch me. D-don't you like it? Being a L-lady?"

"I wouldn't want to punch you." Eirwyn responds casting a glance his way before looking down at the cup in her hands and shakes her head. "Its all about being…proper and appropriate." The words said with the most proper elocution. "About what doing what is expected and having your life planned for you. My elder sister…she was betrothed when she was like ten. Half the things I enjoy doing I have to sneak about to do them." She sighs and looks back to Fynnigan, "These past few sevendays I got to be free. Noone treated me special. I had no more expectations than any other candidate and it was wonderful…" She starts before giving a self deprecating smile and glancing to the kitchen, "Well except in there."

"I wouldn't want to punch you." Eirwyn responds casting a glance his way before looking down at the cup in her hands and shakes her head. "Its all about being…proper and appropriate." The words said with the most proper elocution. "About what doing what is expected and having your life planned for you. My elder sister…she was betrothed when she was like ten. Half the things I enjoy doing I have to sneak about to do them." She sighs and looks back to Fynnigan, "These past few sevendays I got to be free. Noone treated me special. I had no more expectations than any other candidate and it was wonderful…" She starts before giving a self deprecating smile and glancing to the kitchen, "Well except in there."

"I d-don't think you've got a future as a c-cook ahead of you," Fynnigan teases, giving Eirwyn a tentative, shy nudge with his elbow. "But if you've got a sister - an /older/ sister, w-wouldn't it be ok if just she got married? A-and then you can do what you want to do?" Because that makes perfect sense to Fynn! He knots his fingers together, canting his head to look at Wyn. "I-I hope you Impress, s-so that you're happy."

Eirwyn does at least laugh at the teasing, "No, I think not. If I could choose…I reckon I would join beastcraft. I have always liked the runners and it was one of the chores we /did/ have. Ma expected us to know how to take care of our own runners. Probably cause she has too, hers is a mean tempered beast with anyone but her." At the option offered she gives a sigh, "Well I suppose it depends. Holders have children so they can cement alliances with other holds. I have not been needed yet. Maybe this stunt might get out and it might make me less desirable." She says with a bit of a plotting smile. "One can only hope." She cants her head toward him, "I hope you do too. I would miss you otherwise."

Fynnigan smiles, tucking a stray curl back behind his ear. "Beastcrafting seems nice. I like animals… especially bovines. They have s-such big, sweet eyes, and calves are cute, too. R-runners are ok. I used to sometimes help with the Tariqo's runners." He shrugs one shoulder, then grins. "M-my parents just had me because… b-because they did. And I didn't do so well on the s-s-sea, so they left me with my g-grandparents, for them to raise me. I th-think I was a disappointment to them."

Eirwyn listens to his own tale of parents and can't help but smile, "I suppose we are both misfits then, eh? I just can't help feeling I am meant for something else. " She takes another sip from the cup before setting it between them. "On the sands, when I did the touching, I got such conflicting feelings. One just reminded me of all the responsibilities I am leaving behind and it made me feel so guilty. I was going to walk up to the Weyrwoman just then and resign, but then I touched this other one. It's thoughts…feelings…well I felt like…it made me feel like I had to see this through and take this opportunity by the reigns. I just don't think I will just be happy living at home after this. Sometimes we just aren't meant to be what are parents want us to be." Oh yes the weyr is going to be in trouble!

"I-I think you'll find what you're meant to do, even if it isn't riding a dragon. Maybe, um, you could just… maybe make a deal? With your parents? Maybe until you're, say, um, 20, you can do wh-what you want, and i-if you don't find your c-calling, then… then maybe give what they want a go?" Fynnigan shrugs his shoulders, pursing his lips thoughtfully. "S-sometimes you don't look for something and it finds /you/. I-I got surprised that way."

Eirwyn cants her head to Fynnigan and nods slowly, "I might try that. I mean after Ma settles and all. If it were a craft and all, she would at least know I was still getting lessons and not running around 'like a hooligan'." She rolls her eyes at that, "I got this letter and was told that I better not do this that and another, like a weyr is just an uncivilized place. Basically it all was basically lined up with all our candidate restrictions. That mollified her at least." She smiles at the last words, "Yeah, sorta how I ended up here. Maybe there will be other experiences that will find me." She glances at him, her cheeks colouring again before she looks back down to the cup. Yes, cold water now. She takes a large drink of the water before setting the cup down again.

"My g-grandma always told me Weyrs were like that, t-too. But other than, um… y'know, /greens/ and things, I-I really don't think it's th-that bad. And… um… I'd rather stay here, than go home." Fynnigan brushes his hands over his knees, then stands up and dusts off his trouers - not that they're especially dirty. "W-would you like to come help me tend the herbs? I w-would like to finish them, if I can, before we have to go for dinner. It's real easy."

At his offer, Eirwyn looks over to the herbs with some trepidation before she takes a deep breath and nods. "As long as you make sure I do it right." She says as she rises from the bench. "I don't think they are gonna miss me in the kitchen." There is a smile at that as she follows him to the garden beds.

"Maybe you'll learn that you l-like herbs, and planting," Fynn grins, handing over the trowel and rake to Wyn. "I-I like it. It's quiet, and peaceful. I could be a g-gardener… m-maybe I'll do that, when I g-go home to Western." He slips his gloves back on, and picks up a small, pot-bound plant. "If you dig a little hole there, I'll put the plant in, and then we need to water it."

Eirwyn kneels down next to the row with the trowel and rake. There is a look down at the instruments in her hand before a moment. Trying to fathom what to do with them until he gives the instructions. Digging holes. This should be easy. So she starts to dig a hole and quickly makes it too big for the plant, "Maybe I will have to come see the gardens at Western then…if you do. I hear its lovely there." She scoots down the line to the next bit to dig up.

Fynnigan spots the digging error, and quietly clears his throat. He's not good as pointing out mistakes! "Um… Wyn?" He holds up the plant he needs to put into the earth, comparing the sidze of the hole to the size of the roots. "Um…" Can she figure it out? Because he's too shy to tell her! The curly-haired teen waits patiently, possibly trying to gather the guts to tell her where she's gone wrong.

As she hears the throat clearing, Eirwyn looks back to Fynnigan,"Hmm?" She queries before she notices the size of the root ball compared to the hole she dog and smiles sheepishly, "Small hole, eh?" She asks and laughs a little and proceeds to make up for her mistake on the next hole. At least she doesn't seem to mind getting dirty. "Didn't realize there was so much to all this. I just eat the vegetables, never thought about the growing of them."

"J-just a little smaller," Fynnigan says encouragingly, while he settles the young plant into the hole and starts filling in the soil around it. He pats it around with an almost loving attention, then shuffles along to plant the next one in the hole prepared by Eirwyn. "I helped a little bit in the gardens in Ista Hold," the candidate admits as he gently pats down the second plant. "And my grandparents had plants in their room. I liked to help look after them."

Well it looks like she is good at digging holes at least. Not much to mess up permantly. She gets a few ahead before she takes a break and watches Fynnigan work with the plants. "No wonder they got so upset when I pulled up the wrong ones." She says in a soft voice as she looks up to his face and smiles a bit, "You might have been born on the water, but reckon you were born for the earth." She can't help but say. "You do look like you really care about what you are doing…you look like how I feel with runners."

Fynnigan tilts his head to smile at Eirwyn as he catches up to her. "I think I was made for the earth, too. The sea…" He pauses, then shakes his head. "I /hate/ the sea. But the earth is nice - plants are nice, and soil is nice, too. It has a really nice /smell/ to it, all… loamy. Kinda fresh. Do you like how it smells after a storm?" The last seedling is planted in the last hole dug, and he too takes a break then, sitting cross-legged to look at Eirwyn. "The only thing I like in the sea are dolphins. They're nice."

"Yeah, Fresh…like everything bad has been cleared away." Eirwyn says as she settles into a crosslegged position in front of him. She looks down at her dirty hand and sorta smiles. "Well it smells better than what we dig up in the stables." As he mentions dolphins she nods, "Yes, they are nice. My hold is next to the main dolphin hall. I learned to swim with them. They really are amazing creatures. They make the world feel safe when you are with them."

"There were some that I met in Western, but I didn't swim with them." From his pocket, Fynnigan pulls out a handkerchief, then pours a little water from the flask onto it to offer to clean off Eirwyn's hands. "I-I don't swim very well. It's not something I like." Which, given the fact that he hates the sea, is probably understandable. "Which Hold did you say you're from?"

"Oh we all had to know how to swim. When the pick pulls come in, even us littles and ladies were often down at the docks to help sort the fish. It gets mighty slippery and people end up in the water all the time." Eirwyn says and takes the handkerchief with a nod of thanks, "Rubicon River hold, its down on the Southern continent and I think you might like swimming if its with a dolphin. They would never let anything happen to you."

Fynnigan shakes his head quite adamantly; enough so to knock out his curls. "I don't like the sea. I don't want to go swimming in it, even with a dolphin. Only in the shallows. I don't mind little shallowy bits, or coves, or whatever they're called, but I don't like the sea." He reaches out for the watering can, then stretches so he's able to properly tend to the plants they've just settled into the ground. "Is Rubicon River Hold on a proper river? Or at an estuary?"

At his reaction Eirwyn looks to Fynnigan for a moment before nodding, not wanting to press things and just watches as he waters the plants. At the question she tilts her head, "I suppose its mostly estuary. The river connects the southern Sea to the Sea of Asov. It used to be called Kahrain hold way back when. You oughta visit sometime. It is rather beautiful around there with the sea and the cliffs and the beaches." So maybe home isn't all bad. She gives her hands a final wipe before handing the handkerchief back, "Looks like they are all settled in now." She says as she looks back down to the plants. "I suppose I should go get cleaned up for dinner."

"I'd like to visit some time, if I may. Perhaps I can persuade a dragonrider to give me a lift? And… maybe I could bring Tahli, if he'd like to come." Fynnigan finishes watering, then takes the handkerchief to wipe his own hands with - not that they're exactly dirty. He gets to his feet lithely, and offers Eirwyn a hand to help her to hers, too. "I think I'm about hungry enough for dinner," he grins, reaching down to pick up the tools. "Can you wait, while I put these away?"

'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.