'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 - Ezra's Room

Is there anything that smells *quite* like a teenage boy's room? The room that Ezra was given after his rather abrupt arrival at Fort Weyr is one that does not suit his station, but speaks to the sympathy his story brought up in people. One of the larger residential rooms, it actually consists of both a living room and a private bedroom. The rooms are dirty, being that Ezra has not allowed a drudge in here in turns, and covered in *things*. This boy is a bit of a hoarder, there is no denying that. But beneath all the stuff, there are some pieces of furniture. The living room has a small table and two old chairs, as well as a lumpy couch that is covered in clothes and other various things. It also has a fireplace, the smoke drawn up through a tunnel in the rock.
The bedroom has a large bed with rumpled, messy sheets and lots and lots of blankets and pillows, as well as piles of more stuff that cover the dresser and wardrobe. There are tools, bits of wood, fabric, technology parts, old bits of cloth, and a hundred other random things. There is also food stashed everywhere. Much of it has gone bad, but until Ezra's firelizards can sneak it out, it remains to rot. Another thing the rooms have in abundance are glowbaskets, which are placed on every surface and kept filled and bright constantly. He might be just a little afraid of the dark.

Even Weyrlings get a rest day - of sorts. Maybe not every seven, but often enough to well, rest between seeing to the needs of their dragons and get a break from lectures and drills. Tomorrow they'll go out on a sweep and a sudden snowstorm will take them unawares to strand them in a mountain cabin, but today the air is clear and an icy Fort Weyr sparkles under a weak winter sun where all are as yet safe and sound. It's nearly dinner time when a knock sounds at Ezra's door, the sharp rap of knuckles on wood. D'ani's looked in the barn where the herder's bin keeps canine treats and chow for the dogs, the lakefront and the shallow nook out in the bowl where Ezra hunkered to do some carving. Even some of the back tunnels have been combed, Inri in tow. It's a mystery why he thinks to check here last but that's what happens. "If he's not here, maybe we can snag one of his dirty socks for Durahiko to track him down," he mutters as he lifts his hand to apply knuckles to rap on the wood frame once more.

"Ooh, that'd be fun, though I don't know if he wouldn't send us around in some circles first. He's not perfectly trained and so he might end up thinking we wanted to go to the laundry," says Inri with a smile as she steps up behind D'ani — not /so/ close as to be in his personal space, but she's clearly right there — to wait.

The first sound is a low, rumbling WOOF. Yes, Ezra is home. With Zoi, obviously. Then there's some thuds, a crash or two, some muttered words (surely that's not swearing) and in the end, "Who is it?" And some paw scratching at the door. Since clearly Zoi is excited, Ezra opens the door a crack to peer through, the chain pulling taut as he peers into the hallway. Zoi's massive muzzle is next, wiggling as she tries to open the door to get to PEOPLE, and Ezra's startled yelp when the chain begins to pull on the door frame.

"The laundry!" D'ani chuckles, shooting Inri a smirk over his shoulder. "I'm glad I'm not lugging all the stuff with me. That'd be heavy. The s-" Zoi barks and he cuts himself off, turning back towards the door, smoothing his hair needlessly, bushing a hand down his rust-colored twill shirt to remove non-existent wrinkles, tweaking at his jeans to check for tunnel dust. Scratch-scratch-clink! Somehow the sounds of claws on wood doesn't surprise him but the sound of the chain catching on its bracket does and he lifts his eyes to give it a puzzled blink. Thinking fast, because Zoi could spazz upon hearing their voices even though she ought to know their scent, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out what he brought for her. It's a beef-flavored knot of hide chew treat. He allows her to sniff it, and then pokes it though the space above her head between frame and door so that it goes bouncing into Ezra's room. Only then does he say, "D'ani and Inri."

Inri, regardless of what she was going to say or do before, is now covering her mouth with her hand to mask a laugh as D'ani pulls out the Zoi distractor. "Wow, she's excited about getting that door open, isn't she — I guess she's big enough to completely wreck the bolt." She might know a little about dogs, but Inri wouldn't have thought that her voice being /outside/ the space might've upset the canine, so it's really a good thing she hadn't come alone. "I left Dur back at the barn," she adds, a little louder, just in case.

BONE! Zoi vanishes into the room, chomp chomp thud, and flops down happily with her bone amidst the rest of the stuff. The door shuts partly and the chain is undone, and Ezra pulls it open. The teen is rumpled, as if he just woke up from a nap. And how he rubs the back of his hand against his eyes speaks to that as well. And he looks a bit surprised. "Hi…?" he says, glancing from D'ani to Inri and then back, and then he smiles a little bit. "What's up?" Stepping back, he motions for them to step inside a little sheepishly. Oh, how his mother must roll in her grave when her son invites /guests/ into this hovel of filth and clutter. Looking up from her bone, Zoi's ears perk and her tail wags eagerly. Hi, I'd greet you but I have a BONE so…nom nom nom.

Yay no over-excited frenzy of spazzing on Zoi's part to greet them - Ezra's door is safe destruction, at least this time. Ezra's laconic greeting, on the other hand, is unsurprising. D'ani chuckles. "Hi yourself," he replies as he steps aside to allow Inri to pass though the door first. “What's up? Oh," he says casually. "not much, just-" he's fighting to keep a straight face, fails as a grin works it's way out anyway. "Just…a double-turnday." He's inside by now, his gaze taking in the space curiously and he wisely keeps his first thoughts to himself. "You have…quite a collection," he says after a beat. Dirty laundry to glowbaskets, that ought to cover it right?

Honestly, Inri isn't all that surprised by their surroundings as she walks in shooting Ezra a big smile without even trying to mask it. Then again, she's pretty much always smiley when it comes to greeting people — no blown surprises or anything here! She has brothers, they have bedrooms, they look similar. "I like the lighting scheme," she says earnestly, because that, at least? Is a huge /improvement/ on her brother's room. "Zel and Dremkoth won't fit in here, though."

Ezra blinks at D'ani, and it takes the boy a moment to process what he says. And then his face positively lights up with glee. He /barely/ manages to keep himself from clasping his hands and jumping up and down. He does rise a bit, lanky body straightening like he's going to leap for joy. But teenager modesty keeps his feet on the ground. Still, he can't hide his expression of joy. "Really?!" he says, voice reaching higher pitches than normal before he's clearing his throat and ducking his head. "I mean, really?" And the second one is forcibly deeper. Have to sound like a /man/, after all. "Uh…" At their assessments of his room he glances around and all he can do is shrug, really. He can't explain, but surely they know the reasons, right? Doesn't keep him from being embarrassed.

"Yes really," D'ani assures him, grin growing as he steps over a few articles of clothing to give Zoi an ear-rub greeting while she chews on that rawhide knot. Or has she eaten it already? Ezra doesn't have to explain, though D'ani does appear to be concerned about the embarrassment and seeks to direct Ezra to the other stuff the boy has collected with a wave towards the cluttered dresser and shelves. "Sometime you'll have to show me your carvings and stuff." He nods after Inri's comment, "Right. And the ice cream would've melted if we'd brought it. We… also have something for you." Or a few somethings.

"Eventually the ice cream will melt /anyway/," Inri pipes up a further excuse to get Ezra away from any of the embarrassment. "That, and I'm sure Dur's getting impatient waiting — I was hoping Zoi might want to play with him, work on getting the dragons used to the animals, too." Kouzevelth and Dremkoth, specifically, are just going to be stuck being around animals. They have no outs. "I'm actually very excited about my present," she adds, which, to her credit, is true.

Ezra can't keep the grin off his face as he shoves his hands into his pockets and nods. Zoi leans up a bit into D'ani's ear rub, but she's focused on her bone so that's all the attention he gets. "Oh, yeah, sure," he says, glancing around his cluttered living quarters. "We have ICE CREAM?!" AND presents! The boy is going to just fall right over. He's practially vibrating with excitement, weight shifting. "And…and a present?" His voice has gone soft. Utterly awed. Awed that he has such friends, such people in his life that care about him, and he's gripped with a sudden need for a GROUP HUG. But he stays where he is, feet rooted to the floor.

At least the icy cold snow bank they stuck the container in will forestall the thaw for some time. "Kouzevelth and Dremkoth might even get impatient enough to eat it themselves" D'ani says with a flickered wink from the eye nearest Inri. "They're out there guarding the stuff," D'ani explains to Ezra with a suddenly gruff note to his voice. Deep breath, deep breath - not gonna let the mantears out. Not if he can help it. Roughly, he adds, "Grab your jacket and oh- you'll need this-" He pulls a couple of objects from behind his back and sticks one on his head. It's a floppy bright purple felted hat that has a ridiculous lime green fuzzy pom pom on the tip and it hangs over his brow comically. He's holding out a similar hat for the boy.

"No, I made that up," Inri drawls as she pulls her scarf back out of the pocket of her coat — which she hadn't removed — and settles it back around her neck. "Of course there's presents. I would never, ever hold back on the presents, have you met me?" The weyrling class will need to be afraid when it comes to graduation, too; Inri has plans. She grins as she watches the hat exchange, hanging back to offer a nose rub to Zoi.
Ezra frowns deeply. "You tell them they can have a BITE. One." Boy must love his ice cream. But then he pauses. "A /person/ sized bite," he adds, as he reaches out to take the hat. "Wow, hats too? It matches?" Matching hats? Careful, the poor kid's going to explode as he puts the hat on, carefully, and grabs his jacket to wiggle into. Snapping his fingers, Zoi stands up with the bone in her mouth, but with a look from Ezra, she meekly drops it. Fine, she'll leave it here.

D'ani actually chortles, "Whew! Because I don't think they make spoons big enough for dragon-sized bites." His mirth includes Inri as she teases Ezra, then it becomes something more…formal. "Turnday hats," D'ani says seriously offering the second hat over in a ceremonial sort of fashion. "We'll wear them together on your- our turnday and get special treatment from everyone." Just watch him try it out in the chow line and see if the cooks will comply! He whistles admiration at Zoi's swift response to both the snap and the glance. "Wow, Ezra! You've been training her. Nice job." If everyone is ready, he'll herd them out the door.

They will when Inri gets a chance to slip the suggestion to Dtirae, anyway. It's just one day, and it's easy for her to imagine the Weyrwoman's enjoyment in seeing Ezra and D'ani's reactions to it. Actually letting that on to either of them would completely ruin it, though, so she keeps completely mum on the topic. "All right, troops, onward," is what she says again, and then remembers to add at the last minute, "Zel doesn't like cold things much. I think you're safe. She tried to eat snow once."

Ezra beams as he slips the hat on and pushes hair away from his face. Rubbing Zoi's ears, he basks in D'ani's praise though he looks down at his shoes. "Thanks. She's real smart. That makes it easy."

If nothing else it would probably amuse Dtirae no end to see D'ani 'loosen up' since she thinks he's serious all the time. "Not everyone can train animals without having been shown how, Ezra. You have a natural knack." He means that. So they're ready and he follows them out of Ezra's room. In the hall he motions for him to wait, then with a conspiratorial glimmer of merriment to Inri - who knows what's coming – he pulls something else from his pocket. Oh those bottomless pockets! There on his hand are three brightly-colored wooden kazoos. "You pick first, Ezra." Then he arranges them with the boy in front, Inri next, himself last. The cheery (probably off-key and cacophonous doot-doodoodoo-doot-doot-DOOOOOOOOOOT accompanies them to the bowl where a bronze and gold sprawl by a snowbank atop which sits several wrapped packages and a five-gallon circular container of ice cream.

Fort Weyr - Center Bowl

The wide center of the bowl is often bustling with activity as riders come and go. Off westward can be seen the entrances for the candidate barracks and the guest weyr, while to the east is a large opening that leads into the dragon infirmary. The bowl stretches off both to the north and to the south, where the sheer stone walls rise steeply to the sky.

One of those gold paws is, in fact, on /top/ of the ice cream at this point — not because she's trying to claim it for herself, but because Kouzevelth is protecting it. With her life. Or, really, with her foot, but she does need that. And anyone who tries to take this ice cream is getting growled at loudly enough they might believe she'd bite them. Inri rolls her eyes as they get close enough to see that, and calls out, "I didn't mean literally protect it! I was kidding —" Kouzevelth is ignoring her, anyway.

Ezra blinks at the kazoo, and then at D'ani. Seriously? His brows furrowed in dilligent concentration, he picks one and after a few tries figures out how to play it. It's somber, though, as if the kid has forgotten (for the most part) what it means to have fun. Or at least have fun with eyes watching. Still, he walks out to the bowl and waves to the dragons, smiling adoringly at Dremkoth and half bowing to Kouzevelth.

Nope! Not seriously at all. That's the whole point. Someday D'ani's kids are going to love turndays. Or maybe it will be him, reveling in them playing a kazoo band for him on his. For now though, he nods encouragingly to Ezra, brown eyes alight, caught up in the fun. That growling they hear once they're outside, that would probably be Dremkoth Kouzevelth is warning off because the bronze is mighty curious about the ice cream. He's probably sniffed at it a mite too closely a time or two and at the moment is eyeing it in such a way that if her attention in guarding it wanes just ONCE, he might sneak a lick, nevermind all he'd get is a taste of the cardboard container. Or he might've tackled her if the trio had taken much longer. Once they've reached their destination, D’ani snags his jacket off of Dremkoth's foreleg and slips into it. "So now," he says with a little flourish of his hand, "we sit in our thrones." Yep thrones. They've made snow thrones up there on top of that snow bank behind the two dragons, who will shield them from view of most folks happening to pass by. Inri has one too, even though it isn't her turnday. She's got to sit somewhere.

Inri is, after all, just that special — that, and hers probably isn't anywhere near as ornate. Kouzevelth begs off Dremkoth-sitting duty almost immediately as the humans get up close and personal, redirecting her attention to curiosity at Ezra. She leans her massive, spindly snout all the way forward and takes a breath in first, then exhales warm air with gentle force back in his direction. He'll do. "I think she likes you," is Inri's best attempt at a translation. The spoons are probably in D'ani's pockets, so she doesn't need to worry about finding those; instead she says, "Present now or present later?"

Ezra blushes faintly at Kouzevelth's assessment. "Thanks," he mutters, and he beams at the sight of the thrones. "Wow! Those are so cool!" And he might miss Inri's question because he's bolting off to examine the thrones, walking all around and crouching, peering to see how they were made and if there's any detail. And if not, he'll start adding some with a gloved finger.

Dremkoth greets Ezra and Zoi with a croon. He remembers them! Since D'ani already knows what the thrones look like, he simply climbs up the snow bank and into his to wait until Ezra's ready. How about ice cream AND presents? The ice cream is hopefully Ezra's favorite. He's ordered it from Shenanigan's on the advice of one of the server's who has taken orders from him in the past. He's got the container opened and three spoons out of his jacket pocket which he sticks in the top. So casual, there's no bowls. But what's this? No cake? Apparently D'ani did not order his own cake. "Happy turnday to us!"

And of course Inri hadn't thought of it; she would've baked one, if she hadn't been busy with the whole weyrlinghood thing. Instead she settles in and shoots D'ani an approving look — of course there are no bowls. This isn't that kind of party. This is the friends-who-eat-ice-cream-out-of-the-container-together sort of party. Once Ezra's gotten comfortable and gotten at least a little ice cream, she's handing over a package. It's big, and soft; obviously the item inside it is fabric. "I've got something for you too, but I left it on your couch in the barracks," she tells D'ani.

Ezra hops up onto the throne and digs in with the ice cream, shooting D'ani a beaming look. "Happy turnday to us!" he says, 'cheering' with the spoon before he gobbles it down. Then he blushes a bit. "I didn't know, so I don't got anything for you…" But he has been traveling around whenever he can con - I mean - get a ride, passing out D'ani's flyers. That's a present sort of? When Inri passes over the package he puts the spoon behind his ear (ew?) and tears it open. When the jacket is revealed his eyes get HUGE and he scampers off the throne, staring at the knee length coat in stunned silence. Just…stunned. Slowly, he pulls off his old jacket and just as slowly - reverantly, even - he pulls this one on. It's a little too big, but after squeezing into the other one, this one is luxurious. And he turns to just stare at Inri, still shocked. Too shocked to speak. But there's a glimmer in his eyes that he's trying very hard to hold back. Licks his lips. Swallows thickly. He is /warm/.

One of D'ani's dark eyebrows lifts inquiringly at Inri, "Oh?" He's both intrigued and surprised! No hints? "I'd send Dremkoth for it, but he'd probably crush it. Whatever it is." But he likes surprises and quells the antsy anticipation to watch Ezra open his coat. He smiles approvingly once he’s got it on, "Nice fit, Ezra. That was thoughtful, Inri." When the boy is ready, he reaches behind him into a little dip in the snow bank - and thus heretofore out of sight - sliding a long, thin flat present over the snow to where Ezra can unwrap it. It's lumpy and odd-looking in the attempt to disguise what's inside but the boy can probably guess. When unwrapped he'll find a sleek surfboard in Stonehaven colors, solid copper with bars of black and teal bars crossing it and pinstriping of the same down the center/ It is sized just to the boy's height with a few inches for growth.

"I couldn't think of anything /better/, and I pulled in some favors back at Breakwater," Inri relates, because getting that coat together took some time and some calculations. Her family hadn't exactly been happy with her Impression, so getting things finagled out of the locals had definitely been turned into work. After taking a spoonful of ice cream, she's back to fussing. "It looks great! And — no, I don't think he'd be able to." And that is D'ani's only hint. While she certainly looks impressed at the surfboard, she doesn't actually say a word about it until Ezra's gotten a good chance to.

Ezra twists and turns, and sets to exploring the pockets - because surely there are /lots/ of pockets, right? "I…" he stammers, before he steps forward, arms lifting, and then stops. Falters. Hesitates. And then goes through with his initial impulse to give Inri a very awkward hug. "Thank you," he whispers. Stonehaven colors, even. And then D'ani's gift is being slid over, and he crouches down to open it. "Oh wow!" he says, his response to this gift much more excited (and less teary-eyed, so that's good). "This is so cool! Thank you, D'ani! I can't wait to use it. When you guys can go between we'll go use it, right? We'll go?" He looks between them, eager and beaming, the picture of a /normal/ kid on his turnday.

D'ani is enjoying watching Ezra explore that coat, not bothering to hide the smile that tugs on his lips. "Go for it, I would," he encourages the boy regarding hugging Inri. Smirksmirk. He's silent for the duration of the hug, simply letting the awkward play out, ain't he a pal? "We will," he assures the boy when the question is asked. "And I'll teach you how to wavewalk too. When you're confident, you can hitch rides down to Fort Sea Hold whenever you like. The waves are smaller, the water isn't as warm, but you'll still be able to have some fun." He takes a spoonful of the ice cream, savors it. What kind is it, anyway, Ezra? "I have two more for you," he announces. Why's that? Because Ezra needs some spoiling, that's why. He's been busy spending marks he won't need for Maiona. These two are handed over, two smaller packages: One is a necklace made from the black fishing cord and teeth from that monster fish Ezra caught and the other is a wooden box that, when opened reveals a carving kit with twenty or so bits, the plush-lined indent-holders keeping each in place.

Inri is outclassed — she only had the one gift for each of them. She doesn't seem to mind, though; she's grinning nonetheless, just glad to see her friends /happy/. (Her smile got plenty adoring when she got hugged, of course; physical affection is touch and go with her, but Ezra hugs are always welcome, no matter how awkward.) "I think I'd be afraid to do something called 'wave walking,'" she confesses, "but Zel over there wants to try it." Agreeably, Kouzevelth trills in their general direction.

Uhh, it's apple! Apples and cream, and cinnamon. Yum. His eyes widen even more at the other gifts. MORE presents?! He glances at D'ani, stunned once more, mouth working before he comes up with…nothing. And just opens them. "Oh wow!" He lifts the necklace, fingering the tooth. "This is so cool." D'ani is turning the Stonehaven, winter loving boy into a surfer dude! The carving kit gets a happy gasp, lifting out the tools. "I'm gonna /practice/." Finally? "Thank you, D'ani," he says, heartfelt and happy, reaching over to attempt a man-smack of the other's arm. But it comes off as a bit flailing and he fumbles, awkward as he tries to express his true gratitude for the gifts - but more than that, for D'ani's friendship and big-brother-ness. Pat, pat, pat and squeeze of D'ani's arm. Yeah. Man thanks.

To Be Continued…