'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 - Lower Caverns
This volcanic bubble is smaller than the Living Cavern, but no less well crafted. The walls are smooth, with electric lights placed into niches that used to hold glowbaskets. Another hearth burns here, with a pot on always keeping water hot for making tea or cider. Worn but comfortable couches and chairs are arranged by the hearth around a few tables where game boards and a few packages of dragon poker cards are laying.

From this cavern you can get to many other places - the tunnels of Fort Weyr having been dug far back into the caldera where the Dragons make their home.

Adalinus is on laundry duty today! Actually he's been assigned to folding duty, really. He's set up shop in the lower caverns, the only place he could find a free folding table with plenty of space around it during the middle of the day. He's got a big sack of cleaned linens, probably from the infirmary and other places around the weyr, and he's got a cart to put all the folded sheets in. And so he's busy at that, folding things up neatly and putting them into the cart. being big has its advantages with some chores, sheet-folding being one of them.

Xanshalla comes toddling into the lower caverns burdened with a large basket, loops and twists of leather with shiny bits of buckle showing here and there filling it. There's also a cloth drawstring bag dangling from her shoulder, not terribly full but lumpy and bumpy from the items that are inside. "Ohwhoof!" the girl grunts as she wobbles to a spot near Adalinus, it being so nice and open around him, and half-sets, half-drops the basket onto the floor. Puff puff puff. "Things were so much easier when I had boys to wheedle into carrying stuff for me," she announces, reaching up to rub a hand at her shoulder.

Adalinus blinks a bit as Xanshalla plops down all her stuff. He's certain he's seen the girl around the barracks, but hasn't ever had a chance to speak with her. Or even to introduce himself. "Hello! I could perhaps help you with your things, if you have much further to go. I'm in tip-top shape for carrying things!" He flexes a bit. Also he's quite easy to wheedle. He offers her one his big paws. "I am Adalinus. I am also a candidate, but I don't believe we've met."

Xanshalla looks up, and UP, and grins brightly as she waves her hands around without any apparent purpose other than motion for the sake of it. "Thanks! But I think I'm good here. As long as it's not the stables, I'm happy! But maybe when I have to take it all back again?" Big brown eyes get lashes fluttered over them playfully. "Xanshalla," she offers her own name in turn, slipping her own slender hand into his for the introduction. "But everyone pretty much just calls me Shalla." Shrugging her shoulder, she tugs the bag down off her arm and drops it next to the basket. "You are really hard to miss, but it's nice to finally know your name. I think you're even bigger than my coz Riordan."

Adalinus grins down at Xanshalla. "Sure! On your way back I can do the carrying for you. I don't mind. It'll be a good workout!" Ada covers her hand with his other and gives it a gentle shake before releasing it. "Xanshalla. A very pretty name." He goes back to folding then, while they chat. He gives a big belly-laugh at the fact that he's hard to miss. "I suppose I am! How tall is your cousin? Big men run in my family. My father is only slightly smaller than I am, but just as muscular! Though he is getting on in years a bit, now."

"You are my new best friend," Xanshalla declares with a giggle as she plunks herself down cross-legged on the cavern floor, tucking her skirt carefully around her knees. "He's oh…" she squints up at him. "Maybe a couple inches shorter than you? But, you know, big." She puffs her chest and curls her arms in a downward flex to indicate bulk, which just looks rather silly given her slim limbs. Digging into her bag, she pulls out a small jar of saddle soap and a rag, then starts to carefully pull a harness out of the top of the pile in the basket. "Who's your Pa? He live here?"

"Oh?" Adalinus laughs a bit. "You must have a lot of best friends, if that's the case." He nods in understanding about her definition of the word big. He grins then. "I should like to meet your cousin, so we can discuss workout routines! I'm always looking for new ways." One sheet is added to the pile, then a new one plucked from the bag. "My father is Tadaglus, of Nerat! He is still back at Nerat, with the rest of my family. What about you? Where are you from, exactly?"

Xanshalla grins impishly, wrinkling her nose. "I rotate them depending on what's happening that day," she says with mock-seriousness. She tilts her head a little as she works on the leather in her lap, hair falling over her shoulder. "Just go poke your nose into the stables or the tavern, if he's awake he'll be at one or the other. He's got long hair, too, wears it in a 'tail," she provides for assistance in identification, just in case there's more than one stablehand of mountainous proportions running around the Weyr. "Oooh, Nerat? I've always wanted to go there; I hear it's really pretty. I'm from around here." She lifts the rag and waves it around in a circle, sending a pungent wave of the scent of the soap wafting outwards. "My family's the Droti clan. We run a route that circles 'round from Plateau to Ruatha River, down to Fort Sea and then up to here. They're most of them up to our winter camp, but me, Rio and Gev got stuck here."

Adalinus chuckles a bit. "And your friends don't mind?" Ada nods about her cousin. "Mm. Perhaps I shall! I can't recall seeing anyone like that in the tavern before, though I am usually preoccupied while I am in there. Though I haven't been there at all since I became a candidate, either. Not being able to drink and all takes the fun out of the tavern, I suppose." There's a nod and a wistful sigh about Nerat. "It's true. It's much warmer there than here, as well. A trader, then? I've been traveling around a bit with the hunters here. Though they've mostly packed things in for the winter."

Xanshalla's head tips back as she laughs, a bright, bubbly sound. "I don't /really/, silly. That would be rude and not at all friendly." There's an actual flicker of genuine seriousness, before she shrugs good naturedly and bends her head back over her work. "So you were here before you became a candidate? Why'd you leave Nerat?" she asks curiously. Nodding about being a trader, "It's great. Always moving and meeting new people. Even though a lot of the people at the Holds are the same turn after turn, you still get a lot of new folk coming up the rivers. Sailors and such. Did you sail? Nerat's right by the ocean, isn't it?"

Adalinus laughs a bit. "Well, that is a relief! I wouldn't want to say hello to you tomorrow and have you brush me off." He nods a bit, setting the next folded sheet down before picking up another. "Mm. I was, yes. My father encouraged me to take a few turns and go become a bit more worldly. So I've been traveling around a bit. Were you searched out with the traders? Or were you here at Fort?" The next sheet is a little crinkled, so Ada wafts it a bit to remove the creases. "I know a bit about sailing. My family has a couple of boats, but I'm not much like a sailor I'm afraid. Are a lot of your best friends sailors?" He grins a bit at her.

Xanshalla glances up, momentarily offended, though like every other emotion she's displayed, it doesn't seem to go any deeper than the surface. "I would never!" she protests. "Not on purpose, anyway." She lets out a huffy sigh that's completely ruined by the big ol' grin that follows it. "Mmph, I was here. It's all Melze's fault, too. She threw a knot at Miki, but then her dragon — Miki's, that is — wouldn't let her throw a snowball back, so she threw a knot at me instead!" Another bubbly laugh at the memory, as she gently sets the harness aside and pulls another from the basket. "How'd you get searched?" Shaking her head so quickly that her hair falls down into her eyes, "Oh no, not sailors. My brothers get all growly if I spend to much time with their sort. Other traders, mostly. Some others along our route. And all mostly girls now," she concludes with a distinct pout.

Adalinus gives Xanshalla a mustachioed grin. "That is good to know!" He seems to consider her story for a bit. "Melze… I'm not familiar with this rider." Or at least he assumes Melze is a rider. Why else would she have knots to throw around? "I see, that is an interesting way to be searched! M'lo found me in the infirmary. I was getting a check-up. I guess he'd been looking for me or something. Not that I'm hard to find, really. I suppose I was scouted from a distance." He nods a bit to her. "Sailors can be a… rowdy bunch. And they often don't have high regard for women. I wouldn't want you hanging about too many of them either if you were my sister. I'm sure the friends you have now are a bit more reliable. There seems to be a lot of women in this candidacy class. Is that normal?"

"She's the Weyrlingmaster," Xanshalla supplies. "She'd just got turned down by one of the people she'd asked to help her, when she slipped on the ice and Miki and I went over to see if she was okay." Ever the story-teller, this one. "Scouted from a distance?" she then repeats, eyes going a bit round. "Can dragons really do that?" She picks briefly at a bit of frayed stitching when she comes across it, before setting that harness on her other side and grabbing out a different one. Pulling a face, she attempts to defend sailors, "They aren't so bad. They tell really great stories and all the ones I've met love to sing and dance." And drink and wench, no doubt, but if her brothers are as protective as she claims, she's probably been rescued before things could ever get out of hand. She's well and truly derailed by his question, however, expression going completely blank. "I have no idea. I've never been searched before. Maybe we should go find someone to ask!" Brightening, and apparently not too bothered over the fact that they're both still mid-chore.

"Ah. I suppose I should make note of the name. In case I ever bump into her," Adalinus replies about Melze. Or in case he should impress, knowing the weyrlingmaster would be a good idea. "Oh? I assume she wasn't seriously injured after her fall. I was sore for days after Deitra and I went ice skating. Too many falls!" There's a shrug from the big man's shoulders then. "I'm not sure, but I'd never seen M'lo or his dragon that I can recall before being searched." He laughs a bit about the sailors. "That they do. Maybe you should visit the harper hall though, many of them tell great stories and like to sing and dance as well." Most men loved to drink and wench. Sailors more so than others. "Hm, maybe. Perhaps this Melze rider friend of yours would have a good idea?" Ada doesn't seem to mind ditching his chores, either! Or at least putting them off for a while.

Xanshalla shakes her head quickly, "Oh no, she was fine. Landed on her butt, so at most she prolly just had a bruise." She grins as she cranes her neck to look up at him again, "Ooh, you skate? I love skating. We should all go skating together sometime!" If they ever get a free five minutes to spare all at the same time, which would probably be miraculous. Her laughter is bubbling forth again, "One of my brothers is a harper. He's posted at Ruatha River. He says it was chance, but I still say it's 'cause that's where his sweeeety lives." She sing-songs a bit, playfully cheerful to the point of borderline hyperness. "Oh, good idea! Or Miki! Miki's great. She likes snowball fights." She takes a bare moment to tuck rag and soap jar back into the bag, and drape the harnesses over top of the basket so they won't get trodden on, before she's clambering happily to her feet. "Where should we look first?" she asks him as she moves over, apparently intending to link arms with him if he allows it, before starting off on their hunt for a rider willing to answer questions.