2691.2.5

Fort Weyr - Training Complex
The remnants of a historic collapse are apparent here, as the slope face of the bowl has a predominant downward curvature. It's likely long ago, that a cavern larger than any Fort currently has was where the training complex currently is. A probable cave in triggered a fissure on the bowl wall which lead to a great chunk of it dislodging, thus creating the rounded slope.

Yet, many centuries later, all that remains to give evidence is the pocket made into the bowl wall. It seems that the inhabitants of Fort Weyr have made best of the created space. Rock on the ground proper has long since cleared, but pebbles and loose shale are constantly underfoot. Still, the sprig of some green leafed vegetation isn't too out of the ordinary in these parts, as long as it doesn't get trampled by the comings and goings.

It's clear that this area has been designated for the training of young minds, whether human or dragon. Surrounded by rock on all side, it's like a personal weyr bowl for the youngsters to minimize distraction and danger. The candidate barracks have been built across from the Weyrling barracks, so that one group can educate the next. Finally, placed in the center of the two entrances of the opposing barracks, near the rock face, is a statue with a memorial plaque.

Lunch is far enough behind that those with bottomless pits for stomachs are already thinking longingly of supper, though there's still a few hours yet before that meal arrives. The multitude of sounds of weyrfolk at work ring off the bowl walls, sharp and clear as they carry through the crisp winter air. So often only a catch for sounds from further away, the training complex is host to its own chorus today, a cacophony of pants, grunts, cajoling and whining as some candidates are being tortur— that is, run through vigorous exercise routines. One in particular is not having a great time of it, trudging in a half-hearted jog. "Are we done yeeeeet?" Xanshalla groans, sounding more like she's six instead of sixteen, arms flopping as she slumps over, still moving forward but oh-so-reluctantly, feet dragging.

Adalinus loves his exercise! So much in fact it's not unusual to see him on the training course even when it's not his turn for the torture. He's actually on his way back from dragon washing, so he's already in his own rough and tumble clothes. He's wearing an extra shirt instead of a coat so he has full movement. Spotting the candidates up on the course he joins up with the group of runners. "Hello there!" The greeting is general, but mostly to Shalla, as that's the only candidate in the group that he really knows at all. He takes a deep breath. "Ah… terrific day for a run!" He peers and slows down to fall behind with Shalla. "Don't like to run?"

"I knew you were crazy!" Shalla's voice rises a bit breathlessly along with the others who have more generic variations of 'hey' for Adalinus. She looks around, trying to spot their supervisors, catches one giving her the stink eye and tries to push forth a little more effort. "Ugh," she grunts as she swipes the sleeve of her sweater across her face. "Not this kind of running. And not after push-ups, and other running where we had to carry sacks of sand back and forth!" She waves over towards the spot where a roped-off corridor of approximately 100 yards has two piles of sand bags at either end. "/And/ scrunches! My everything hurts. How can you enjoy this, Ada?" She pushes at strands of hair too short to remain confined into her high, bouncy runnertail, peeling them away from her sweaty forehead.

Adalinus gives a big belly laugh to Shalla. "If exercising his crazy, then I must be very crazy!" Ada will match her pace, maybe try to push her a little if she starts to slow down too much. "What kind of running do you like?" He turns around and starts trotting backwards. "This kind of running?" He chuckles a bit and turns back around. "The burn lets you know that it's working! If you didn't feel anything how else would you know? Plus working out gets easier over time. To where it doesn't hurt much anymore after a little while." He regards Shalla for a moment. "Perhaps if we turn it into a game, it won't feel like such a pain?"

Xanshalla crinkles her nose up, trying to bite back a laugh as Ada turns 'round to jog backward, but a little squeaky giggle escapes despite her effort. "I'd probably fall over, or run someone else over," she observes, her words spaced out raggedly as she also hasn't much of a clue how to breathe properly whilst running. "The burn makes me think I'm dying!" she counters, and for just a few paces she playfully staggers — looking rather more drunk than half-dead — before straightening up again and giving a little burst to catch up the ground she lost being silly. "I like short running, with something fun at the end of it. Like… a deep spot of river on a warm summer day. Or a meadow full of flowers. Or one of the clan bonfires with music and dancing!" She tips her head to peer up at him, and almost trips over her own two feet in the process. Eyes front, girly! "What sort of game?" Very much interested in anything that'll help her ignore the aches of muscles not used to such a focused workout.

Adalinus gives Shalla a big mustachioed grin. He might run someone over if he continued to run backwards. And that could be pretty bad, considering how big he is. He chuckles. "You're not dying! Just try to take big deep even breaths." He looks around. "Still too cold for most of that. Even a bonfire would be a little cold." He seems to consider the notion of a game for a while. "Well, we could play a game that involves running. Like tag or something. Or we can play a thinking game, and that way you can focus on something else instead of the burn. Like twenty questions or something. Or… I can threaten to tickle you so you have to run away from me!" He lifts him arms up over his hand and wiggles his fingers around in a threatening fashion. "Rawr!"

Whatever Xanshalla might think of the idea of tag or twenty questions, the threat of tickling is what she's reacting to, a giggly "Eeeeeek!" squeaked out as she finds a burst of speed to out-distance Ada's long legs… for a little while. But even were she fresh it's unlikely she could ever manage to outpace him unless he let her do so. "Oh ow!" She clutches at her side as a stitch forms, her steps faltering, but her eyes are still sparkling merrily. "I think," she gasps, "twenty questions might be better. Tag would be fun, too, if we got the others in, but we were told to run laps so…." A wave of her hand takes in the dragonrider who's casually pacing the little band of joggers, making it look disgustingly easy. "He'd prolly assign us more running for failing at running!"

Adalinus laughs a bit as she moves away from him. Of course if he did tickle her she might run out of breath and pass out or something. Ada's forte really isn't running either. He's much too big and bulky to be very fast. He does have some endurance, though. Ada pats Shalla's back a bit gently as her steps falter. "Careful there. I don't want to have to carry you off to the infirmary!" He considers for a moment. "Alright, then. Twenty questions! I will think of the thing… you can ask the questions." He thinks for a moment. "I have something! Ask away."

"They might let me lie down in the infirmary," Xanshalla sulks, though the effect is ruined by her quirky grin. She falls silent, or mostly silent anyway, while she thinks, the thud of her feet punctuated by her puffs of breath. "Is it an animal?"

"Now is no time to be lying down!" Though Ada would be curious how much the dragonrider is asking them to run. It wouldn't do much good if none of the candidates could even move tomorrow. Ada peers at Shalla's question. "It is. How did you know!? Are you reading my mind? No cheating!" He laughs a bit.

They've only got two laps of the training complex to do, and Adalinus joined them around halfway through the first, so really not all that much running after everything else they've been asked to do. Xanshalla is just a wimp. She might have the energy to keep going all day long and well into the night, but for all her perky bubbliness, love of skating and snowball fights, she just doesn't ever really push herself past, or even anywhere near, her limits. "Who knows, maybe I am! Better be careful, or I'll tell Deitra you think she's cute!" she wheezes in cheerful teasing. Having no idea of course just what Ada thinks of the huntress-candidate, but it was the first name she could think of off the top of her head. She drops into pondering some more, before her next question is, "Is it fuzzy?"

Adalinus will be sad to find out that they probably won't even get through the first round of twenty questions before laps are over and Shalla is sulking off back to the barracks. Maybe with some work, Shalla will learn to like burning off some of her energy by running? Adalinus laughs at her threat. "Deitra! She already knows what I think of you. I'm more worried you'll read my mind and find out I think you're cute!" There, now she doesn't have to read his mind! He hums a bit. "A little bit, sure. It's not very fuzzy, though." He says about the thing in question.

Xanshalla gapes at Adalinus, and if it weren't for the fact that her cheeks were already flushed pink from the cold and exertion, he'd be able to see that he's made her blush. Her feet feet suddenly hit a slippery patch, and she goes careening off-course in a spinning stagger as she tries to catch her balance. "Ohwowoweeph!" is about as articulate as her exclamation gets before she finally steadies, arms akimbo as she blinks, round-eyed. Too embarrassed or too pleased — or both! — to want to dwell on Ada thinking she's cute, she derails the situation entirely, stooping to catch up a double-handful of snow, too dusty to form a proper ball, and lob it at him in a shower of white. "I'm gonna get you for that!" Twenty questions? What twenty questions? But just her luck the supervising dragonrider was looking, and he cuts back to direct a fierce scowl at her. "Xanshalla! If all you're going to do is goof around, you can pick up an extra roster of mucking out the stables before dinner. Now march." "Yessir," she mumbles, an apologetic glance thrown towards Adalinus before she trudges off to go report to the stablemaster.

'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.