Fair and Square

Xanadu Weyr – Beach
The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.

The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.

There aren't many on the beach at the moment, but there certainly are the /signs/ of both humans and dragons alike having been present in the recent past. Deep gouges through wet sand no yet lapped at by waves are the right shape to have been the work of dragon paws, footsteps all over and around the likely work of their riders. Close to the shoreline, Marel lies sprawled in what's not a terribly ladylike pose, stretched out a bit like a starfish, rugged-cut shorts and thick-woven shirt (so as not to go see-through in the water) drying out in the sunshine. Nearby sit a brush and a bucket or other dragon-bathing equipment, just out of reach.

Muir makes his way down to the beach with long strides, the boy's clothes covered in soot and firestone dust, black from head to toe. His face as well, eyes squinted almost shut to prevent any of the tiny particles from agitating his eyes more. Shuffling forward, he steps straight into the water, boots and all, and dives in with a splash.

Marel's eyes open when she notes the sort-of crunchy sound of uneven footsteps through sand, though even if she recognises Muir, she doesn't call out to him. Instead, she rolls over onto her side to watch his advance into the ocean through bleary, sleep-tired eyes, and continues to lie there like a very small beached animal of some variety. Lacking the energy to move after her brother and follow him into the water to engage him in conversation, she merely observes his dive and waits to see if he reappears free of firestone dust.

Muir emerges a few moments later, cupped hands splashing water over himself as he pulls off his tunic and lets the water flow over his skin and clothing, shifting the fabric so it flows beneath as well. Scrubbing his face, and his hair, he finally emerges from the sea to flop down beside Marel on his back, sand replacing ash. "Hey."

Wincing when sand sticks to replace ash, still Marel manages to refrain from commenting on the state of Muir (and resists the urge to nudge him back into the ocean). "Hey," she lazily returns, flopping back onto her back, one arm lifting to shield her eyes, elbow bent to cover most of her face. "I guess I don't need to ask what you were assigned today," she says dryly. "I've helped with three dragons so far. Greens, thankfully. Maybe a couple of them could add up to one Seryth."

Muir smirks. "That obvious, huh?" he asks, turning his head to peer at his sister, grin crooked and eyes bright. "Mmm. We're lucky I guess, growing up helping with Seryth. Everything else is easy, huh."

"I don't know that's it's /easy/," Marel has to admit, words whooshing out with one big sigh. "I'm still… exhausted, but I suppose it's a good thing that we know how to do /that/ right, even if a lot of the other stuff is new. And I guess anyone who's seen us help with Seryth can trust that we won't hurt their dragon - or we'll try our best not to." Lifting one foot, she tries to kick away the sand that clings to her other heel, only to end up sharing the sand pretty much evenly between both feet. "Are you really supposed to have got that dirty?" she asks.

Muir nods his head once, tiredly but in agreement. "Yes, we have that going for us at least. And history, reading and writing. I'm…it shocks me some Candidates can't read." It's starting to dawn on him, slowly, just how privileged an upbringing he's had. "No," he laughs, "of course not. A few of the bags split as I was moving them. Might have tried to toss them instead of walking them over…"

"…I think it's… sad," Marel murmurs, head lolling to one side so that she can regard her brother through half-open green eyes. "I mean, that they never got the chance to learn or weren't ever going to need to. "It makes me feel bad." It might sound patronising, not that she means it that way, struggling to put into words what or why it makes her uncomfortable. She reaches out to aim a gentle shove at Muir's nearest shoulder, chiding, "You don't want to get a reputation as someone who cuts corners."

Muir nods, "It is sad," he agrees. "Everyone should be able to read at least. I mean, unless they're…not smart enough to, I guess. Like some of the drudges." He rocks at his sister's shove, giving her a crooked grin in return. "It's just firestone," he says dismissively. "I take my time when it counts."

"I don't think that not being smart enough to read means they're not /smart/…" Marel muses uncertainly, brows dipping a little as she tries to think her way through what she really means. "They might be good at other things. Like, if I wasn't good at numbers, it wouldn't mean that I wasn't clever." She sighs in answer to his response, shaking her head. "You want to be careful, thinking like that. A lot of people probably think we think we can be lazy because we're the Weyrwoman's kids. We've got that to overcome already."

Muir shrugs, "But if they were smart, they could read," he argues, but without heat. He hasn't really thought about it that much. Then he frowns, pushing himself up onto an elbow and seeking her gaze. "Who thinks that? We got Searched fair and square," by their brother, "we didn't get it just 'cuz who Mom is."

"/We know/ we got Searched fair and square," Marel insists, looking back up at the sky from under the cover of her forearm. "But anyone who knows that it was N'shen… Don't you see, it all looks like it was going to happen whatever the dragons feel about us?" She closes her eyes and shakes her head a little again. "I'm not saying that it /was/ fixed, but other people might think it was. And if we don't work hard, it'll make it look like that even more, like we're just coasting along."

Muir sighs, pushing a sandy hand through his sandy hair. "Well balls," he mutters under his breath. "But it's not the truth." Stubborn pride.

"Language," Marel mutters, though her voice lacks the usual crispness of an attempted reprimand, her heart clearly not in it. "I know. I just don't want people saying all sorts of things behind our backs. They probably do already," she says with a weak shrug of one shoulder. Close to the shore, both Marel and Muir are lying in the sand, Marel a good deal closer to getting dry than her brother. A bucket of dragon-washing equipment sits nearby, just out of reach, and the sand is marked with what look to be dragon footsteps and rider tracks, creating an uneven pattern of wet and dry sand.

Muir frowns, shaking his head firmly. "If they do, I'll show them what's what," he mutters, his temper simmering beneath the surface. "We have every right to be here - just as much as the rest of them."

Having gone for a swim early, Mikal is simply walking along the beach to continue to dry off. A towel hangs from his shoulders. He spies the pair before he's actually in hearing range. "Hey guys!" he waves to his fellow candidates.

Taking a breath to try and subdue that simmering temper somehow, instead Marel is distracted by Mikal's call, and plants her hands down in the sand to sit up and prop herself there, glancing around until she finds the source of the voice. "Hi," she responds, returning his wave with a waggle of one sandy foot. "What have they got you doing today?"

Muir pushes himself up to a sitting position and eyes Mikal with a look that borders on suspicion. "Hey," he says, his tone a little flat. "Do you think Marel and I were Searched just 'cuz we're Thea's kids?" Hi, how are you, nice weather we're having huh?

"Heya!" Mikal repeats cheerily. "Night watch." which means he's off the hook until nighttime! "And I finished up my healer duties early today. Journeyman on duty in the infirmary felt sorry for me doing double chores." he's determined to keep up with the healer's studies during candidacy. "Would it matter if I thought you were Searched cause of that?" he asks as he flops down on the sands. "You two get asked by Thea or did the Dragons think you guys should stand?" he counters one question with two.

Face. Palm. Marel full-on cringes when Muir blurts out that question, her head ducked down and shoulders hunched, one hand lifting with the intent to cover her face, only it's covered in sand, and so she finds that she can do little further damage by just flopping back to the sand instead and staring despairingly up at the sky. "We got asked by the dragons," she says almost in a growl, her frustration aimed not at Mikal, but at her brother. She leaves the other question well enough alone, for now. "Are you going to get some sleep later? I mean during the day," she enquires, apparently now trying to be everybody's mother.

Muir nods, "Yes, it would matter," he says, sitting up and tucking his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms around them. "And we were asked by the dragons," he agrees with his sister, glancing at her and nodding. Unaware or ignoring that frustration.

Mikal counters with. "But /why/ should it matter what others think as long as you two know the truth?" a smile appears. "However it doesn't matter to me how you were Searched. I've no reason to doubt your word that the Dragons Searched you. Congratulations by the way Muir." he adds. "I'm glad to have you both as Candidates with me." he trails his fingers along the sands. "I'll sleep sometime." an evasive answer is given to Marel.

Sliding her gaze over to Mikal, Marel listens with the intense focus of one trying to believe all that they're told. Whether she does or not is unclear, but she nods regardless and shifts her weight forward again to swing herself up and to her feet in a movement made to look faintly awkward by the lack of stability provided by the sand beneath her feet. "I should go grab something to eat before I have to be back out here," she explains, meaning to excuse herself without further remark. She swipes the bucket and abandoned brush up as she goes, looping the handle over one arm as she starts to make steady progress back in the direction of the caverns.

OOC: I don’t have the end of this log – please feel free to edit!

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