Congratulations and Hesitations

Xanadu Weyr - Observation Level
Dark blue seats form a semi-circle around the sands below, the lowest row separating from the sands themselves by merely a railing. The seats climb upwards, each row a bit higher then the previous, and they are broken up into sections by 3 sets of staircases. Lights are evenly spaced along the outer wall, lighting the seats and the sands easily, though they tend to be dimmed unless a major event is taking place. A large balcony looms overhead, darkening some of the seats, providing a place for observers of the draconic kind to watch without obstructing the view for others.
When one looks over the railing, the oddly hued sand below can be seen easily, the circle-shaped area of the sands spread out to the far walls, the sand itself a unique mixture of red and white grains.

There's nothing like a clutch on the sands to fire things up around a Weyr, and lately the hustle and bustle around Xanadu has been nothing short of full speed ahead. With the eggs on the Sands and Candidates ushered to the barracks left and right, Xanadu is hoppin'! Most people are gallivanting, celebrating or enjoying the fast pace of things as visitors and locals are teeming with excitement regarding Sahazyth's clutch, but for one young Stargazer things are not quite as exuberant. Zahleizjah sits at the far end of the balcony in the last chair of the row closest to the sands. The rush of onlookers has dispersed for the most part, with only a few pairs of chatty-Kathy's in the upper row. Zahl sits there quietly, deep in thought as she twiddles the dangling string of that ominous white knot on her shoulder between index and thumb. As one of the groups burst out in roaring laughter a glare is sent their way, pointer to lips with a soft "Please shh.. we should pay mind and avoid disturbing the Queen.." she apparently doesn't care about disturbing their raucous uproar, even as their grumpy retorts and snarls are shared when they start to shuffle out to continue on with their 'partying' at a more respectful location.

Ever have one of those moments in which you do something and you aren't quite sure the reasoning behind it? ka-el has no reason whatsoever to be here other than possibly claiming that he's seeking heat to hide from the beginning of autumn's nipping. But the fire of a forge could satisfy that need, if that's what it was. Yet, despite a lack of reason, he finds himself entering the annex as a group of familiar young faces exit, pausing long enough to exchange greetings and pleasantries and promises to catch up later before parting again. And up to the observation level he goes, pulled possibly by curiosity. It's only the second clutch he's really paid much attention to, and perhaps he feels an obligation to spare the eggs, buried as they may be, another look other than the initial one brought on by the general nosiness of clutching. He steps into the stands without fanfare, eyes turning to the sands and the dragons and wher that keep watch as he moves down identical rows of seats as the loud group is reprimanded by a familiar sounding voice. Zahleizjah is spotted, considered, then approached with his hands slid in the pockets of his trousers. Is that a knot he sees? His brows lift a bit before the edges of his mouth do. "Congratulations."

Yes, it's been an eventful and hectic week for the Weyr, Beastcraft included. Garait slowly makes his way in, avoiding those coming out and stares at the eggs on the sands. He's barely been here since the clutching, almost avoiding the area it seems. After a moment, he turns to find a seat and notices Zahl, smiles and walks over to her, "How are you? May I join you?" He nods to Kale as he approaches and finally notices the knot she has, and a light suprised look crosses his face and then he seems almost cresfallen for a moment, but he catches himself and smiles, "A Candidate? Congratulations."

Whew. Soriana could use a break! Of course, she doesn't have time for a long one, but that just means she can't go far to find it. She can have a longer one if she includes dinner, and here she is with a few meatrolls and an orange. Convenient! So, up to the observation level she climbs, expecting to find the place empty. The people heading out might be a sign otherwise, but… they're leaving, right? So that means it'll be empty now. …turns out, not so much, and she huhs as she looks over to see the little cluster coming together by Zahleizjah. She pauses, considers, then wanders over that way. She's got a white knot on her shoulder to match the other girl, though she likely wouldn't call it ominous.

Zahleizjah didn't mean to be rude, but they were being obnoxiously loud as conversations reverberated from their seats off the balcony above and shot out over the sands as if they were yelling from a megaphone. As the group leaves and a few familiar faces start to trickle in, Zahl perks up a bit, hiding the solemn pensiveness that lurks below. A smile replaces the deepest, darkest thoughts plaguing her mind, she should be ecstatic after all, right? Those luminous amber tinted peepers look up towards the Smithcraft apprentice, and though the scleras are tinted red from the sobbing she pretends hasn't been happening, the pink in her cheeks helps draw from that focus as she nods "Well thank'ya Kale.. sure makes life.. interesting.." again… enter Garait and Soriana, which help to further distract the girl from her thoughts and replace them with that lovely thing called happiness. "Please do Garait and thank you…" A wave is sent the Dragonhealer-Candie's way, a smile shared as she approaches "Hey Sori.. congrats lady!" regardless of her feelings on the subject matter, she's at least sharing joy for other's accomplishments in joining the ranks of Candidacy.

He's never boasted to be the most observant fellow in the world. Kale has mastered the art of obliviousness, not counting times that he's not. And couple that with the fact that Crying Girl is a manic creature that he does his darndest to avoid, it may not be a wonder that those gently reddened eyes go overlooked. Or at least is blamed upon dry eyes from the heat. "Interesting's one word," he agrees. "M'sure anyone that's asked would give something different." Kale's attention drifts to Garait as he moves into view, and he's offered a nod in return that's accompanied by a vague smile. Turned eyes also note the approach of Soriana who is given a smile with a bit more girth to it. Everyone is decorated today. Pristine knots abound! "You too? Congratulations an' everything."

Garait nods to Soriana, "Congratulations as well." He should muster more enthusiasm, and he knows it, but his mind keeps trying to calculte ways to make ure the number of herdbeats in the weyr increase to help with the addidtional dragons. He takes a seat by Zahl, glancing at her reddening eyes, but says nothing for now. If she wants to talk with others around, she will. Otherwise he'll just sit right here.

Soriana laughs to Zahleizjah. "I should say the same to you," she replies cheerfully. Her gaze inspects the starcrafter's face, but if she notices the signs of recent crying, she makes no comment on them. Instead, she asks, "Have you moved into the barracks yet? I didn't see any of the bunks that looked like you'd claimed them… well, not that I'd know what that looked like, but still!" The friendly smile is deliberate, but no less genuine because of it. Soriana reaches for Kale's hand to give it a squeeze, while nodding to Garait. "Thanks and everything," she says back. "And I got advice on my plan to teach the firelizards how to hunt, so expect the next class soon." Because let's focus on what's important here.

Zahleizjah banks on that obliviousness, hoping it strikes the perceptiveness of everyone around and that her emotional masking skills suffice so that red eyes pass for a basic heat response. Yes yes.. dry eyes from the heat, that's it! Her head bobbles a bit, also in agreement that it is, indeed one way to explain it as she responds to Kale "Guess it hits everyone in disparate ways ya? How are you t'day" The smile given to Garait might very well dissuade him from thinking anything of those bloodshot orbits as she asks "How are you Garait? Good to see you tonight.. think you'll be attending the Gala? Should be quite a stellar show.." pun fully intended. That cheerful pleasantry from Soriana spurs a fleeting glance her direction, with a smile and nod before she's quickly looking out to the Sands again "Thank you.. appreciated…" though her tone is not nearly as jovial, she continues "Aye, brought m'things in last night and just laid in an empty cot.. I umm.. don't always do well in the barracks so I thought I'd feel it out for the night before settling in y'know. Did you choose one yet?"

"Think Thea will take you guys up to Yokohama again this time?" is asked to Soriana. Thoughts of Candidacy swirl in Kale's head, that being the favored one. One that could've been passed off as a dream if it wasn't for the shared memory of the others who had the other-worldly experience. "Maybe I can stowaway under a blanket. They'll never notice." Dragons have big backs! One extra lump within a clump of eager Candidates surely would be overlooked. The thought has Kale grinning and the look on his face is borderline wistful. Yokohama! Her hand is given a squeeze in return and he leans to brush his lips against her cheek. "Alloy knows how to hunt," he notes as he pulls back, which may not be fact enough to keep him from her class. "Muir's may not. He just got a bronze hatchling. I told'm to keep an ear out for your next class. Add one more student to your class roster." He looks at them all in general now as talks of cots and claiming ensue. "Oh, a bit've advice. Do not choose one near a window," he says, pointing to Zah. Sori likely knows this tidbit of info. "You'll think you'll like the view, but you'll pay for it when it's cold. Y'might as well sleep outside. You'll freeze your arse off."

Garait blinks as he listebs and nods at zahl when she asks him about the gather he responds, "Yes, of course I'll be attending. The only way I'd miss it is if I'm told not to go, but I don't see thst happenig since they only do that for punishment." He nods at sori then, "I've been practicing with orest and she's catching on, but I'lll be there for the class." He just blinks at Kale, "Stowaway? Really?" The Beastcrafter just shakes his head then.

"I hope so!" says Soriana to Kale's reminder. "Between that and those meteors, we'll be starstruck for sure." She grins. Space pun time! "Well… you could tryyyyy…" she says of the stowaway plan, but her regard for Kale is pensive for a moment. The kiss to her cheek makes her smile again, and she nods. "If you make it by, Alloy can help show 'em how it's done." Not that there won't be plenty of demo-lizards. She nods to Garait, grinning somewhat. She seems more at ease with the idea of teaching… now to see if it lasts until she's in front of her class again. At the mention of Muir's new bronze, she hehs. "Yeah, I met Kenpo. Oh! Idrissa got another one, did she show you Hidalgo yet?" At Zahl's question about the barracks, she nods. "I've got one near the back. The ones next to it are still free… if you wanted." She smiles, then hehs as she nods to Kale's advice. "It's not winter yet, but if this turn is anything like last one…" Summertime may be fleeting indeed! "Anyway, it's good to be near friends. Makes it more like a big sleepover."

Zahleizjah's curious and asks the fellow Candidate and Smith "Yokohama? You've both been??" There is that glimmer of excitement there, taking over for a few shining moments as apprehensions melt away with the warmth of the Sands. Now, that does sound exciting Zahl thinks to herself.. and maybe this Candidacy thing won't be so awful this time around. She's come a long way from turns ago when nightmares haunted her sleep and really made her a ton of friends in the barracks back at Western. Fortunately, things around Xanadu seem a little more conducive to the diversity of Pernese lifestyles so the recluse can always hide at A'dmar's abode should anything out of the ordinary happen. She's trying not to think about that now, leaning in to Garait softly as their shoulders meet and fill the space that was between their seats "The Gala will be so much fun.. glad you'll be there. Save me a dance?" A deep breath is taken, a few more recalcitrant glances towards those mounds that hide eggs that frighten her so. She's definitely a fan of the space puns, a galactic nerd at heart for sure, the advice and offer are both considered and this decision could change her days as a Candidate forever. "Not near the windows.. thanks for the heads up.." she says to Kale before nodding to Soriana with a smile, that word.. friends.. strikes her deeply as those have been few and far between for this odd-duck "Near the back with you will be perfect.. 'specially since I bet we'll be the nightowls of the bunch.. thanks!" Things are looking up and she's forgotten all about the impending fates that looms below, well.. not really.

"No, not really Garait," replies Kale with a wry smirk and gradual exhale, shaking his head at the boy. "No rider would be so daft, nor would their dragon I'd imagine. But if you've ever been up there, or ever have the chance, you'd understand the joke to try to go back." News of Idrissa's addition of her flock of firelizards earns a mental facepalm. Then a literal one as well! "Another one? You're joking." His tone is humored although his head shakes from side to side slowly. "She'll end up with a menagerie of more animals than she knows people at this rate. I haven't seen her, no. Haven't seen her in a while," he says slowly as the fact of that dawns on him. Huh. "Hidalgo?" Fancy schmancy! The sands turn his attention a moment, but it's only that. A moment, and when that moment passes, his hand slips from Soriana's and an arm lifts to drape around her shoulders. "Good luck," he offers to her, voice softly genuine. "I've a feelin' in my gut, an' gut feelings are never wrong. You'll do great." A warm smile follows, then a sigh. "Good dayto the lot of you. I'm bein' held captive til the morning in the forge, and I should get back to it before long. Good luck to you too, Lei."

Feeling slightly left out since the others are excited about Yokohama, Garait just shakes his head. Why would he be excited though since he works with animals and doesn't dream about stars? Then the starcrafter is leaning into him softly and he raises an eyebrow in suprise since this was caught off guard, "I, um, well, of course I'll save you a dance." It seems he was caught off guard for a moment there, but hopefully recovered well. as Kale heads to leave, he waves to him, "You have a good evening."

Soriana nods to Zahl. "If we do go again, I'll show you around if you tell me about the starcraft stuff there!" she offers with a grin, then hehs at Kale's disbelief about Idrissa. "Nope. No joke. A brown, given her by Thea herself." She follows gazes out to the eggs, and while she does, she nibbles on her meatroll. Dinner! An important part of her day, before she heads off to continue her penance with the Harpers. Her mouth is still full as Zahl accepts the offered bunk by her, but she smiles warmly and nods, then blinks. The nightowls. Oooh, Soriana didn't think of that part. Getting back to that cot through the night-dark barracks… may not actually win friends. Ah, well! She swallows her food, then says, "I'm not actually sure what shifts I'm going to have. Fallian just glared when I told her." Probably because she'd just finished the brand-new schedule that includes egg monitoring. "So I'll see how that turns out." Her arm goes back around Kale's middle, and she leans in against him for a moment. "Of course I will. The only question is what I'll do great." She smiles back, and brushes her lips to his cheek. "See you soon." Hopefully. With the extra busy and rules of candidacy… who really knows?

Zahleizjah giggles softly at the talk of stowaways and daft riders, catching that wry smirk and then suddenly catching on that things may not be quite as they seem when returning to Yokohama is considered a joke. She wonders if there is excitement behind that statement and doesn't quite interpret it the same way. As for Idrissa and winged friends she'll be sue to congratulate her, though it sounds like it's not her first firelizard rodeo. A flick o the wrist waves to Kale as he departs as she sends a "Thanks Kale n'goodluck at the forge.." She's really not sure what being held captive till morning is like for him, but night duty is definitely the best for a Starcrafter. Another smile is shared with Garait as he agrees to a dance at the Gala "That'd be lovely.." she says before nodding to Soriana and scooting over (a little closer to the Beastcrafter) to make room for her should she choose to sit. "I'm in.. I sure hope we get a chance to go up there.. I've only ever heard stories about the depths of the cosmos that can been observed on those telescopes.. maybe we could plan something else fun for the upcoming fortnights too.." Those wheels in her head are a turning.

"My guess? You'll be great at … ah, foyer duty when it rains. Standin' guard with a mud mop was the highlight of my days," remarks Kale with a sage and solemn nod to the young dragonhealer. Too bad his grin ruins it, and he squeezes her before giving a chaste (ish) kiss to her lips. It is true that Candidacy does sort of put a damper on free time. Not that either one of them had too much of it before! Might as well get a kiss now when he can, for his lack of a knot, and more importantly the presence of hers, promises limited shared time. Thank goodness for parties! If duties allow him to attend at all. He releases her now, arm slipping from her shoulders. "I'll be sure to tromp through extra hard on those days. Muddy it up nice an' good and give you somethin' to do,," he vows teasingly, backing away now with a mock salute to them all. "See you." He turns and departs with one last fleeting look to the mounds in the sand.

Listening to the conversation, Garait just nods here and there. "If you get to go, I'm sure you'll love it Zahl," he comments, He's still unsure what to do when the Starcrafter scoots closer to him. He waves as Kale leaves, almost grateful for the distraction, but turns his attention back to the girls once the other boy is gone. "You have all the preperations done for the Gala?"
Long distance to Kale: Soriana snugs, and nods! "Social is all social and good!"

"Oh, I've been practicing that!" Soriana replies to Kale with fake wide eyes and a real grin. And she has, too, at least if you count mopping the Annex. As for the kiss, well, chaste-ish is good enough, because thing one, there's no candidate coordinators watching, and thing two, kisses are not technically a violation of the rules. Even if some of the coordinators are traditionalists who would prefer they were. So Soriana kisses Kale back warmly, then waves to him and takes herself a seat. At the talk of the Yokohama, she grins. "It was pretty awesome. Up in the main control room, there's this big screen with Pern on it, like some sort of… giant globe. It looks so… huge and tiny at the same time." Another nibble of the meatroll, and then she nods. "I was hoping we could get in a trip to the ruins, but, well, Derin's been kinda busy lately. So maybe not." She frowns a little, then shrugs. "I'm sure we can find something to keep busy. We'd better, because if we don't, the coordinators will find something for us." She grins, then tilts her head curiously to hear Zahl's answer about the party preparations.

Zahleizjah smiles at Garait and nods "I bet it will be wonderful.. who knows.. maybe we can bring guests then both Kale and you could join us? " Then again, who knows what all could happen from here on out. "As for the Gala.. I've got some finishing touches to put together, but I think it'll be a night to remember." The Starcrafter giggles as Soriana mocks Kale for his 'words of encouragement' hoping that summer holds out for at least awhile in to Candidacy assignments. After spending the whole day weeding, she got a good taste of what 'real duties' are like when you head is on Pern and not in the stars, she couldn't imagine doing that in the rain. She listens as Soriana talks of Yokohama, completely blissed out by the idea of it all. "I am sure many adventures lie ahead of us all.. and keeping busy with all those chores won't be a problem.." she does grumble slightly, but tries to keep it to herself knowing it comes with the knot and possibly, secretly liking the hard work involved with a change of pace like this.

After a little while, Garait moves to get up, "Well, I have lessons to review. I'm looking forward to the Gala, and if you need any help, just let me know." He nods to both girls and moces to head out, "I hope you both have a good evening." He looks like he wants to add something to that but doesn't ans with a wavem he leaves.

Last time, there were no guests, but Soriana keeps that to herself. There's just a bit of a crooked smile as she has more of her dinner and watches the eggs. "They usually let you go from chores so long as you're busy with craft work," she offers to Zah's complaints. "Not always, and don't expect to see any actual restdays for a while, but make sure they know you've got the Starcraft keeping you busy." Another bite of her meatroll, and then she nods to Garait. "Good luck!" she says about those lessons, and waves to him before returning her attention to Zah and asking curiously, "Where were you a candidate before? Back at…" Now where did Zahleizjah come from? "Western?"

Zahleizjah wonders if she went a little to far with Garait? Way too much or not enough from this girl.. story of her life! As the Beastcrafter skips out she sits upright and supports herself while waving to the departing gent.. nothing new she supposes. "Oh? Excused for Craftwork you say??" Very different from Western indeed, in fact there's a whole myriad of different rules around these parts, freedoms Zahl will have to get used to and hopefully not abuse in any which way shape or form. She could definitely work the craft thing in to some 'not actual restdays for awhile' "You're a great friend Soriana, thanks for every thing.. welcoming me here to your home, sharing firelizard advice, Yokohama stories, a cot in the back and even chores tips.." The next question catches her off guard and she gulps, looking back to the Sands then down at the floor "Uhh yes.. their last clutch.. obviously didn't turn out so well.." depending on how you look at it ".. I just haven't felt the same since.." granted a lot has changed, but she never really dealt with things face to face and here it is again, smacking her right in that emotionally detached maw.

That's always the trick with freedoms: going just far enough, not too far. Soriana grins a bit as she nods about the craft stuff, then shrugs. "Oh, it's fine. Everyone needs a friend sometime, you know?" She smiles, and then the expression turns questioning and perhaps a bit concerned at Zahleizjah's reaction to her question. "What happened?" she asks, and then contradicts herself. "I mean, you don't have to say if you don't want to." Her tone gets quieter, and she looks away from Zahl as she continues, looking out over the sands instead. "Last time I was a candidate here, things didn't go so well either. The sands overheated, and… most of the clutch got scorched."

Zahleizjah takes a deep breath, that intoxicating heat billowing off the sands and filling her lungs with that old familiar sting. It doesn't burn like it used to.. like it did when when she almost went face first in to those glistening granules. The air is released with a good exhalation and nod of the head "Most definitely.." she agrees "If ya ever need anything.. m'yer friend and y'can count on me.." There's a genuine smile there, this type of reciprocal life enjoyment contribution thing not something she is at all used to. Maybe that's why she's 19 turns and only dated one person once.. briefly… and some time ago by now. She's a loner, it's true, but people change, even if but at a snails pace. She'll share a bit of her story, finding the courage to explain and starting with "Well.. Candidacy was… rough.. I didn't know A'dmar was m'dad back then and.. I used to get this awful night terrors.. about an accident I was in as child. So besides all the sleepless nights, and Western's grueling chores.. I was left Standing.. I umm.. hadn't ever known loneliness until then.." She sits solemnly, her heart aching as she heads the story of the last clutch at Xanadu. "Oh no.. that's awful.. m'sorry you went through that.."

"Sure," Soriana says, and smiles back warmly. She's had more practice with this friendship thing, though she certainly has had her share of awkwardness and mistakes! Some of them worthy of capital letters, even. But surely her mistakes are over, right? Ha, if only. Regardless, Soriana listens to Zahleizjah's story, nodding a little. She looks thoughtful, trying to understand what it must have been like, but… well, she's having a bit of a hard time. There's not much in her life to compare to. Oh, she's had nightmares, but only rarely, and mostly about stuff that seems silly in retrospect. Like that one where a tree came to life and ate her. "That must have been pretty terrible…" she says at last. "With the sands… it was just sort of… there wasn't anything we could do, you know?" She gives her head a little shake. "That's what was worst for me, anyhow. Though… I did kind of wonder, if… if maybe my dragon was one of the ones that didn't make it." And maybe, watching these new eggs, she's wondering that again. She keeps her eyes on the sands, in any case, and any extra blinks? Totally due to stray sand in her eyes. "But… things are better now, right? You've got your dad, and no matter how things go on the sands, you've got friends here. So it won't be as lonely."

Zahleizjah blushes softly as her offer is accepted, sending back quite the beaming smile as a bond is built. What a crazy path this life leads us down, lessons and experiences, all parts equalling the sum of our beings and constantly built upon as we evolve and grown. There's so much depth to situations like these, where the road is uncertain yet goes so many ways. The Starcrafter is just grateful she's no longer on her path completely alone, regardless of that constant void that reminds her something is still missing. If only this didn't manifest in flashes of morbidity and struggle, chaos and darkness, floating aimlessly on driftwood, clinging to life. She'll spare vocalizing the gruesome details, but if it wasn't for the family who took her to the healers when she washed up on shore, this very moment would never have existed. She takes turns and listens with empathy, nodding as she responds "Aye.. both would wrenching stories. It's such a melting pot of feelings y'know? Excitement, fear, loss, hope, joy for those around you.. everything all at once…" She reflects for a moment on how hard it would be to see something like that, at least all of the Western dragons were healthy and sent of with their lifemates, even if she wasn't one of the happy pair. "I bet yours is still out there.. mine too.. somewhere.." she's at least half optimistic even if only for her friend's sake. There's a sagenod that follows regarding the questions asked "Things are.. definitely better.. I can't even begin to tell you how much different all of this feels.. like I've finally found my hearthome.. no matter how things go on the sands. Having family and friends is.. one of the greatest things I could ever hope for.. we are all so lucky for this life.. I try to remind myself that whenever I'm feeling blue.."

"Somewhere," Soriana repeats, and smiles. "Well, it's up to them to find us. All we can do is be there and be ready." That, a round assortment of candidate chores, a sprinkle of egg touchings, and whatever else gets set to them… but, hey, the sentiment still stands. Soriana turns her head to look at Zahleizjah again, offering her that smile. "Yeah. And Garait's definitely sweet on you, so that's something too, right?"

Zahleizjah takes a deep breath "Yep.. I guess that's the only way to think about things at this point.." the subtext remains, it's a tough job being a Candidate and with the future unknown all they can do is stay busy and optimistic… or cry themselves to sleep every night… you know.. whichever is right for you. A brow is raised as Soriana puts it so eloquently "Sweet? On me?? Really? I… oh.." she obviously didn't get it until now. "I umm.. should probably go move my stuff next to your cot and turn in. I've gotta put in my craft request tomorrow and finish up some final touches for the Gala.. thanks again Sori, m'thankful we're friends.." She stands and looks out once more before departing. "See ya in the barracks.."

Soriana votes for the busy and optimistic! At least, with her own personal vote that involves herself. She blinks a little at Zahleizjah's surprise - she'd thought the Garait thing was, well, obvious! …and it was. To her. Despite the fact that Zah's got years on her, it seems Sori's got a bit more experience in some things. "Yeah. I- oh, shards. I'm probably late for my chores with the Harpers." She only had time for a short break! Oops. She rises to her feet quickly, and reaches out to offer a quick one-armed sideways hug. "See you there!" she says, and then she's rushing off so as to not be any later than she has to be.

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