'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.

2691.2.1

Fort Weyr - Library Archives
Surviving the ages is something that books are known to do, especially if they are left untouched for just as long. In this room, that's exactly what has happened. Put aside as trivial information or simply determined old enough to not impact present day life, these numerous articles stored in ceiling high shelves are the forgotten histories belonging to Fort.

Miraculously, the design of the room itself has prevented any of the books from damage. The rock base of which the room's foundation is actually one of the toughest rock known to man and cannot be surpassed by any creature living, while a layer of tiles of the smoothest stone gives this room a vibrant and mysterious appeal. The door itself on the room was sealed tight and allowed for a minimum amount of circulation, thereby preventing natural decay, although most articles may be brittle despite this. White marble has been used to create an insulating layer wall against the natural rock, giving the room an unnatural brightness and a enchanted atmosphere - while also giving it four distinct walls. The ceiling as well has been made smooth with an arching apex.

As for the books and mounds of information stored in this vault of information, the organization is clear. Books bound with hard covers are kept alphabetical in the towering skybroom wood shelves, where step ladders and scrolling ladders actually attached to the shelves move to assist a person in selecting a volume. The shelves are ornately carved, many crafted with a mastery none have ever seen. Meanwhile, scrolls have a sectional shelf where each scroll based on how they were itemized has a cubical square into which they are kept in. This shelf alone has over a hundred squares in which the scrolls stick out of. As well, any loose bits of information have been assembled in files that are stored in boxes along the back wall. Apparently, recording history takes up vast amounts of space and every where one looks in this room one would find a wealth of information. The ancestors of Fort live here.

It's that time of evening when even candidates are given time to themselves, the chores and lessons over the day, and dinner too, but still a while yet to go before curfew and lights out in the barracks. It took a little while of wandering around before Xanshalla realised she could just ask another rider to help her find out where Miki was located, so there's plenty of warning ahead of time that someone, if not Shalla specifically, is looking for the assistant weyrlingmaster. Once she's navigated the tunnels, a length of time passing that suggests she either got stopped along the way or was dragging her feet a bit, the former trader-seamstress is poking her head through the doorway to the library, chewing on her lower lip as she looks around. "Miki?" she calls, but softly, as she walks hesitantly into the room.

Miki glances upwards from some books in front of her as she hears her name being called. "What took you so long?" A hand moves upwards, waving the candidate towards the table she is at. The conversation doesn't seem to bother the few people in there. It probably helps that Miki is situated in one of the farthest corners, no one in the near vicinity. The AWLM pulls out a chair, waiting for the girl to make her way over and idly chewing on the back of a pencil in the meantime.

"Oh, I, um…." Xanshalla trails off and looks down at her feet sheepishly, unable to come up with a bluff and probably not able to pull it off convincingly even if she could. "Dawdled," she confesses with a guilty blush. "I'm sorry if I kept you waiting. I can find you some other time, if you've got more important stuff to get to." She peeks up, nervous and a little hopeful, like she's now having second thoughts about having tracked down the greenrider. But she does move toward that pulled out chair, hands coming to rest on the back of it, fingers fidgeting along the edge. "I'm sorry," she repeats, lamely.

Miki giggles and shakes her head. "Why? I scare you that much? Swear I won't be throwing anything at you. Though if you happened to bring mud or snow…." The green rider teases easily while patting the chair. "Don't worry, I'm not doing anything, just reading some stories. Everyone needs to relax right? Since Aniki and Sohnyu have banned me from venturing outside for a bit, this is about the only way I can." Despite the easy nature of her words, Miki certainly hasn't missed the the girl's nervousness and soon her expression becomes softer, one of the ones she used to use on the littles when the AWLM was a nanny. "Seriously, sit down. You can talk to me if something's bothering you."

Xanshalla shakes her head swiftly, hair flipping around her face. "No, you're not scary," she says, the tease keeping the tinge of pink in her cheeks. Suddenly she lets out a big ol' gusty sigh and plops herself down in the chair, looking at Miki with a woeful expression. "I think I made a really big mistake. I mean, we were having so much fun by the lake and I just never thought. I never think, my family's always telling me, and they're right, but I can't help it things just /happen/ and—" And she stops herself mid-babble, taking a deep breath in. "I don't wanna be a candidate," she finishes in a whisper.

Miki grins as the girl flops down though as she listens, it begins to fade. "Is there some particular reason you don't want to be a candidate? I know you chose to accept the offer, but it wasn't like you tried to weedle your way into becoming one. Sohnyuoth chose /you/. And frankly, a dragon choosing to Search someone is about as certain as you can get." She leans back in her chair then, twisitng her hair up and tucking it into a bun with a pencil. "Did something happen? You seemed to be enjoying your time with the others from what I've seen so far."

Xanshalla worries at her lower lip with her teeth, gaze fixing firmly on her hands, fingers twisting around each other in her lap. A slow nod is all she gives by way of answer at first, and it's confusingly followed by a headshake. "Oh, it's not anything anybody's done. They're all so wonderful, I love hanging out with everybody." Almost everybody, says the shadow that crosses her face, but she's not dwelling on that. "It's just that, well, Adalinus says that they get into our /heads/. The babies. While they're still in the eggs." Which might go a long way towards explaining why she's managed to be conspicuously absent whenever word of a touching has gone 'round the Weyr. She fidgets, clearly uncomfortable, and her next question has a definite squeak about it. "Did… did Sohnyuoth… I mean… did she /snoop/? Is that why she Searched me?" She's too anxious to truly pull off an accusing look, but she is earnest when she finally lifts her head to seek eye contact again.

Miki nods at the reassurance that no one is bothering the girl. "He's right in a way. It's a bit complicated but….sorry /what/?" The green rider turns around in her chair to face Xanshalla full on as the last question is directed towards her. "No. Sohnyuoth did not /snoop/ into your mind. Or anybody else's for that matter. Shards, people are lucky if dragon's even mindspeak to anyone besides their lifemates. There has been only /one/ time that Sohnyuoth has ever in any way entered people's minds, and that was when I couldn't talk. She had to speak for me. Now the only people she speaks to are me and Aniki. Really…." The green rider lets out a tiny sigh, shrugging her shoulders and relaxing a bit. "Sohnyuoth saw potential in the way you acted, the way you behaved, the way you thought. She didn't poke into your mind but she sees more than most people can. She feels more than most dragons too. It's your….aura…I guess you can say."

Shamefaced, Xanshalla's gaze snaps back to her lap and she squirms like a little being scolded. "I'm sorry," she mumbles, the contrition in her voice thick enough that there's no denying the apology is genuine. "I don't really know anything about dragons," Miss Obvious continues. "I just…." Just what she can't quite elucidate, flailing her hands in the air helplessly. "My head is /mine/," she finally manages, indignant and no little embarrassed. "My thoughts are private. I don't want some—" her jaws snap together with a click as she shoots a glance at Miki, realising that she might be close to insulting the woman again. "I just don't want nobody pokin' around in my noggin," she finishes a tad petulantly. Because sulking is so much more mature than just admitting when you're scared witless.

"It's alright. I kinda figured you haven't had too much experience with dragons. Just watch out, yeah? Some riders won't take it as well as I did." There's a bit of a reassuring grin before Miki quiets to listen to Xanshalla's worries once more. "You afraid? Afraid that one of those baby dragons inside those eggs is going to touch something painful or sad? Or maybe it's just the concept itself. But you have to know, the touchings are the only way the dragons can begin to understand you, see if you're the one they NEED. The one they can't live without."

Xanshalla nods, very slightly, for the advice. "You're th'only one I've even talked to. About this," she says softly. Her fingers have stopped attacking one another and are now twisting into the fabric of her skirt, plucking at the seems of the patchwork. "No," she denies being afraid even as her head bobs up and down in affirmation. Another big heavy sigh, then, "Maybe. A little." A lot. "I just don't— I'm not— auch!" Her lower lip pokes out, gets chewed on some more. "I don't always think about… you know… stuff that should be shared." Ooh, the blush is back. It can't just be she's afraid of a baby dragon catching her ogling a fellow candidate's butt, can it? "Do they remember?" comes out in a breathless rush.

Miki grins, "Well. I'll tell you what they're /not/ looking into. Your sex life. They're just trying to explore your personality. Figure out who you /really/ are. And at the same time, they're showing you themselves. It's…..lonely. Very lonely inside that shell. They want interaction." For a moment, an almost desolate expression crosses Miki's face, lingering before she shakes her head and clears it away. "I'm not sure if they remember, I really don't think they do. If they need something, their lifemate will supply it after Impression. But in my opinion, the feelings stay with them. That's how they know who they want to choose. Honestly, I don't think they hold anything against you. If that's what you're worried about. And they can't exactly spread rumors….

Xanshalla turns pink from her neck all the way to the tips of her ears. "It's not just that," she says hurriedly, and there's a ring of truth to it, even if it's probably mostly that. Big eyes turn towards Miki, her brow puckering at the emotion the greenrider reveals. "I… didn't think about it like that." The new perspective has her turning thoughtful, much to her lower lip's distress as it gets gnawed on even more. "They don't like… get in you and stay there, do they? Like, I'm not gonna have weird dragon dreams after touching an egg or something, am I?"

Miki grins, "If it makes you feel any better, I had boys on the mind at /least/ as much as you do, if not more, back then. But really, if, and really, this is /if/ the hatchlings dig deeper into your memories and emotions, it's healthy for you. Everything you've been bottling in gets let out, but there are no string attached in a way. No one to judge you, or hate you. You get things off your chest." There's a slightly worried glance at the girl's bottom lip, no doubt worried that it might start bleeding soon. "Yeah…you won't understand until you touch the eggs though really. And as for staying….no certainly not. The babes are only testing the waters, seeing what you're like. They're not trying to set up permanant residence. And the only dreams and such you might have of dragons would be of your own creation, not theirs. I didn't have dreams. But some of the memories the eggs dragged out did affect me."

A small wince and Xanshalla promptly stops chewing at her lip, thankfully before she's drawn blood, and she replaces it with a twisted lock of hair instead. Omnomnom. "I don't think I have anything bottled up," she muses, but she's leaning far more heavily to the side of contemplative now, instead of paranoid. Somehow she manages to talk while still munching on her hair, the twist wobbling at the corner of her mouth in time with her words. "And it could be… kind of like an adventure? Maybe? But instead of exploring a place, it's exploring a person." She looks over to see if this line of thinking meets with approval. At least she seems to be pulled away from the desire to turn her knot in, even if the worried line between her brows remains firmly in place. All the same, "Thanks, Miki. It seems kind of silly to be worried, now that I've talked about it." A pause before she adds, hesitantly, "This'll be just between us, right? I mean, there's no reason anyone else needs to know that I—" almost quit.

"Really? Well that's good then. It'll be easier on you then." Her head tilts in consideration as the girl continues to speak, a slow smile spreading across her face. "Exactly! You've got it. Exploring is exactly how it is. Except there's nothing potentially dangerous just around the corner. It's a way to get to know you, justlike people get to know each other." A finger raises then, pointing where her furrowed eyebrows meet. "You'll get wrinkles if you do that. And Sohnyuoth says you'll look better without wrinkles…..but really. It is isn't silly at all. You haven't been around dragons much, so this kind of reaction is natural. And I won't tell a soul."

Xanshalla squeaks a little, and actually goes cross-eyed from her attempt to look at her forehead where Miki points. "I am not getting wrinkles!" she protests with the offended vigor of teenaged vanity. It does serve as a distraction and a mood lifter both, a small giggle bubbling up as her eyes uncross and she smiles at the greenrider. With a sudden burst of enthusiasm, she hops out of her chair and hugs the elder woman. "You're the bestest, Miki. I'm so glad it was you and Sohnyuoth who searched me," she gushes, gratitude at having her anxiety handled overflowing.

Miki giggles, "Watch out, you might starting looking older than me at this rate!" There's a flash in the green rider's eyes as she teases the candidate. When the girl hops up to give her a hug, Miki squeezes back and one hand moves up as if to ruffle Xanshalla's hair unless she's quick enough to dodge. "Thanks…I know." One bright blue eye closes in a quick wink. "Glad that you accepted the offer! And I hear the littles are pretty thrilled that Miss Rainbow Hat gets to take care of them sometimes."

Xanshalla laughs, ducking playfully but not enough to avoid the hair-ruffle. "Oh, the littles!" she exclaims, brown eyes going wide as she brings one hand up to her cheek in a theatrical, and amusingly completely genuine, oh-shoot-I-forgot-something gesture. "Since the weather's been so icky, I promised some of them that I'd help them with some sewing tonight. We're trying to make a picture quilt." Key word: trying. "I better run, or they'll think I don't love 'em anymore. Thanks again!" And so it's a completely different Shalla who exits the library in a flurry of bright skirts and a wave over her shoulder before disappearing through the doors. A far more normal Shalla.

"Oh? Picture quilt! Let me know when ya'll finish it up, yeah?" Hair ruffling done, Miki steps back, half shooing the girl on her way out. "They'll eat you alive if you're too late…..I know this from personal experience." Despite the mini-warning in her words, Miki is all good natured giggles at this point. Once the candidate's disappeared, she stretches a bit, looking down at the book on the table. "Now, where was I?"