Base Camp (Round Up - Day 2)

Xanadu Weyr Region - Open Plains
Open plains stretch in every direction, the tall grass interrupted now and then by a group of rocks suddenly thrust upwards from the ground or a copse of trees gathered around a spring-fed pond. The high grass looks like an ocean as the wind causes it to ripple back and forth, creating the illusion of puddles here and there, even as the ground slopes gently upwards towards the mountains that can just be seen on the southern horizon.
Despite the remoteness of the southern stretches of the plains that stretch south all the way to the Southern Barrier Range, the northern edge of the plains begin but a half-days trek from Xanadu Weyr by foot, three hours by fast-trotting runnerback or ten minute's straight flight a-dragonback. There are signs that travelers pass this way - lines cut here and there amongst the grasses of the prairie, most in pairs as they track from one direction to another. The campsites of former travelers can be seen occasionally where a tent was once pitched, or a campfire once burned - and the remnants of some shelters remain.
Behind a knoll, within a small stand of trees, a hidden campsite has been assembled while quite a distance away, out on the plains there is a large rail corral built, one entire side left open, wing-fences on either side to funnel whatever is driven towards it into the corral and swung shut afterwards by three or four people. Off to the side there are several pens and all are brush-covered to disguise them. A trap well-laid and ready to spring.

It's now later morning of the next day when things become more active. A few more herdbeast have been added to the corral, in particular some of the Forest Bucks are now there, which were brought in by more experienced beastcrafters and hunters. Similar directions as the previous roundup are given: experienced riders on runners are sent in small groups and safety precautions are gone over. Others are preparing food, gathering wood for campfires, or discussing plans for the herdbeasts at Xanadu Weyr. Garait is among those not on a runner today and running errands for Journeymen and answering questions people may have.

Zahleizjah may not be very suave in most of the things she does, but runner riding is one of the things the Starcrafter is less horrible at. After speaking with the Stablehand, she was paired up with a beautiful mahogany colored mare and is now galloping from the rocky outcropping towards the open plains for the roundup. She's perched tightly atop the mare, reigns in hand, knees tight, feet firmly in stirrups as they've found their cohesive stride. Through the tall grass, jumping over a grouping of rocks, the two reach the group as Zahl slows the runner to a slow trot as they approach. This may be a bit of a surprise as clumsiness is cast aside and the Candidate dismounts with a graceful swing of the leg and hop down. She'll lead the mare towards Garait with a smile "Hi there.. reporting for Roundup duty. How can I help?"

Jethaniel has not been here this whole time, for there are many things that require a Steward's attention, most of them back at the Weyr. He has, however, made another appearance today, this time arriving on a blue - that's who was going the right way at the right time. After dismounting, he strides across to look for one of the beastcraft Journeymen and get himself a status report.

Garait pauses midstream as he sees Zah on a runner. "You're riding today? If you're not a part of a group yet, go to Journeyman Pharse and he'll place you with a couple of Beastcrafters. Just drive them to the corral, and focus on females with a calf or two since the females are less aggressive." He points to Journeyman Pharse who's directing things and then looks at the Starcrafter, "Just be careful, okay?" He then sees the Steward Jethaniel, "Can I help you with anything?"

Zahleizjah definitely presumed Garait would probably be riding today, hence why she had the forethought to hop on for a much overdue ride herself. The mare, named Bubbly, whinnies and chuffs slightly with a shake of the head and flick of the mane and tale. Zahl leads and pets at the same time before tying the runner up for a moment. She'll offer the young gent a hug in greeting and reply "I'm here to be helpful however you need.. if there's anything else that needs assisting I can always stay on the ground too…" She will listen in on the precautions shared, a shy smile towards Jethaniel as if she's promising to be less clumsy with runners than she was with experiments.

"Ah… perhaps," Jethaniel says to Garait. "Has there been an inventory of the gathered beasts yet?" He smiles slightly. "I am, of course, aware that it must of necessity be incomplete, but partial data is better than no data. Additionally, if you are aware of who is running the camp, I wish to determine if they require any additional supplies." He glances to Zahleizjah, then, and gives her a slight nod before glancing back to the runner. Hmm. His gaze leaves the creature, going back to Garait.

"I know we need some people around here and the corral who can ride in case some of the stragglers head this way and need to be herded back. I'd be riding, but I got assigned to errand duty today," Garait says to Zah s some of the more experienced groups start to head out. He turns his focus to Jethaniel, "Journeyman Pharse is in charge of things, but he gave me a list of a few more supplies they may need now that some of the animals have been looked at. Herbs and oils and the like for flea prevention and other things, plus a few things for the camp." The Apprentice pulls out a slip of paper with the needed supplies on them and hands it to the Steward. "There has been an inventory of the animals, and I helped separate the numbers to different types of herdbeasts with a preliminary guess as to the numbers that may need to be culled. I can get you a copy if you want?"

Zahleizjah nods and smiles "Sounds perfect.. I don't mind helping with straggler herding at all! I'll also keep busy helping with food setup and brush gathering.." Bubbly is given a pat on the side and Zahl grabs a few carrots and apples for her to munch on from the saddlebag she brought. "Busy as usual today Sir?" She says to the Steward "This may not be ideally timed, but I wanted to thank you again for taking the time to work with me in the lab. Maybe we can run through another experiment some time in the near future?" She won't bother him much with further inquiries of the sorts, knowing that this is a time for Roundup business as she wanders to help a few fellow Candidates set out food and refreshments. "See you both in a few.." She'll make herself busy and scarce as things get rolling, heading towards the tree line to drag some brush over towards the corral-trap.

Jethaniel looks over the offered list, and nods slightly. "I will arrange for delivery," he says, then hmms. "Tell the Journeyman he may have to wait until tomorrow morning for that much featherleaf. I believe there was a delay in the arrival of our supply, and it's still being sorted. The rest can, I believe, be provided by the end of today." He folds the list and tucks it into his pocket, then nods. "Yes, that would suffice. I understand there is still a great deal of uncertainty, but a preliminary look will be useful." He smiles slightly, then looks back to Zahleizjah. There's a faint trace of a smile there as he says, "Busy, yes. The type of the busy does vary sufficiently to make it difficult to assess the usualness." His head tilts slightly, then nods. "You are welcome. Is there some specific domain which interests you?"

Garait nods at Zah and Jethaniel, "I'll let him know, and I'll be right back with a copy of the report." Garait quickly moves to Journeyman Pharse to inform him of the supplies, and then to another Journeyman for a copy of the report. Several more groups starts to head out on the plains and a few dragons sweep around the plains to push some of the herds forward. Garait returns with the copy of the report and hands it to Jethaniel, "Most of the ones that will be culled are older, especially older males. Is there anything else I can do for you sir?"

Zahleizjah hadn't really given the next step of inquiry much thought, and doesn't really know a whole lot about science besides tidbits about melting points, bonds, fusions, reductions and such, things mostly related to conceptual ideas around building distance viewers. "Welp.." it boils back down to Stargazing with a bit of a shrug "..I suppose I'm not really sure how vast this interest could become. I'm interested in metallurgy, glasswork and basic reactions mostly. I've been fuming copper, silver and gold to make designs on my viewers and tints for the kaleidoscopes I started working on, which has been mostly successful, but maybe there's things I haven't even thought of that could be useful to enhance their effectiveness and appeal?" She's really an open book when it comes to shared wisdom, grateful for any tidbits as she smiles towards Garait and works away at stacking branches to make the corral seem less like the herdbeast trap that it is.

A brilliant cook she may not be, but Marel can at least lend a hand with setting things out and putting together those items of food that don't need proper /cooking/ over a fire. She's currently in the midst of cutting up a substantial pile of fruit, presumably meant as refreshment for those who return both hungry and thirsty, her focus flitting up only every so often from the knife in her right hand, for she's holding the blade in quite the risky fashion, fingers close to its edge as she slices through something that looks like a member of the citrus family. No louder than a murmur, she hums an unidentifiable melody, pause taken only for breath as she works.

"Metallurgy and glassworking are the domains of their particular crafts," Jethaniel notes to Zahl as he waits for Garait to run those errands. "However, if kaleidoscopes are your aim… perhaps you would be interested in a study on diffraction?" Conveniently enough, that lab can be conducted with nothing more dangerous than paperweights. This may have been a factor in Jethaniel's offer. As Garait returns with the list, he accepts it with a nod. "No, I believe that will be all for now. Full reports can wait."

Garait nods at Jethaniel, and stays there to listen as the final groups head out onto the plains. He goes to check in with the Journeymen to see if there is anything else needs to be done, and then checks on the food preparations, nodding to Marel while he's there. He returns to the Steward then, "Oj, I'm going to be among the first of the Apprentices to be among the safety training and stuff for the equipment in the Dairy Barn." Hopefully the Steward has seen the papers on that.

Zahleizjah raises a brow and looks back towards the Steward as a particularly squirrely branch whips around and smacks her in the face "Diffac-oof.." Maybe she should've stayed on the runner, the lashing leaving a lovely red whip mark across one cheek. "Oh, shells.." The 'welcome bush' is wedged in the place with a *hurrumph* and the Starcrafter steps back from the corral entrance to take a gander and decide how much more brush to drag over. Those large honeyed eyes will flit towards the Steward, this being less embarrassing than burning a hole in the lab table at least. "So, diffraction you say? The physics of bending light waves, yes? That is definitely of interest." She's about to offer to grab some refreshments and head for the table asking "Can I bring either of you two a drink or a snack?" which will end up aimed at Jethaniel as Garait heads towards Marel. The Starcrafter will head the same direction, though approaching slowly due to the precarious use of blade by the brown haired Candidate.

Notably, the melody falters and dies down for good as it seems Marel might be overheard as more than background noise. When she reaches the end of cutting up a particular fruit, she looks up at Garait, who receives a nod in answer to his own, but she remains silent for that moment, being that he requests nothing of her. Blade no longer in motion, her grip on the knife alters, fingers retreating to a safer position on its handle as she drops the last of the slices into the bowl sat next to her. Maybe that's enough for now. She rises to her feet as Zahleizjah approaches, reconsidering the knife in her hand, dropping it into the bowl for the time being. "Do they need anything?" she asks on the heel of her fellow Candidate's offer to the others.

"Ah?" says Jethaniel to Garait, then nods. "The equipment has been ordered, and is under production and preparing to be shipped. Those classes will likely have to wait until the construction is further along; however, I may come to observe current procedures sometime soon. It will likely prove edifying." A faint smile, and he turns back to Zahleizjah. "Indeed. It seems potentially applicable, as well as a domain you may have some existing knowledge in. The starcraft does deal with lenses." He nods to her, then pauses. "A drink would be nice. Thank you." He begins to look around for the next person he's meaning to talk to.

Zahleizjah will nod to Jethaniel and says "Well it sounds like a good place to start, then maybe we can try another reaction when I get my lab-wits about me. A drink it is.. excuse me." She'll turn and close the gap of those last few steps between the fruit cutting area and herself. It's not that the blade put fear in her heart, Zahl would just be so lucky as to approach with a 'hi' or a bump of the table, and then to her clumsy demise someone would probably lose a finger or get stabbed or something. "Hi there.." She says to the Candidate whom she's seen in passing, but not had much a chance to get to know. "M'names Zahleizjah, but y'can call me Zahl or Lei if that's easier.." yay for suppressed introversion! There's a smile as she nods "and thank you.. how 'bout two of whatever the tastiest juices y'have please.." She'll send a glance or two towards Garait and bring the drink to the Stewards as the first group on runnerback approaches, with about two handfuls of herdbeast, well contained as they near the corral.

Garait nods to Jethaniel, "Yes, the construction will need to be further along, I know." he looks around to see what else needs to be done before the herdbeasts get herded along. "Jethaniel, you know Journeyman Pharse?" The Journeyman is still keeping an eye on things, but it seems has a free moment.

"Zahleizjah," Marel responds, dipping her head in polite acknowledgement of the alternatives offered. We'll see how long addressing her by her full name lasts! "I'm Marel," she offers in turn, half over her shoulder as she takes long, careful steps through the food prep going on around them, then leans down to swipe up two mugs of fresh juice, luckily without spilling any all over anyone. "Careful: that one's a bit more full than this one," she warns as she makes to hand them over, lifting the left mug a little more to indicate which one is more of a spillage threat. Though the approach of the runners draws her attention, she follows Zahleizjah and heads over in the direction of Jethaniel and Garait, maybe just to check that the person who poured that juice didn't inadvertently taint it at the same time.

"I believe we have met, yes," Jethaniel says. "I have read your reports on the roundup and construction." In that regard, he most assuredly knows the Journeyman. In terms of actual physical interaction, the two may have been lacking, but that's hardly essential, and the lack can be made up swiftly. Jethaniel extends his hand to shake Pharse's, then accepts the glass from Zahleizjah. "Thank you."

That first round of wrangling may have seemed an easy undertaking at first, the slower of the wild ones out there rallied up in to a group and directed straight for the corrals. Just as they start to roll in, one by one, they're filed in to the holding pen. Those on runnerback have done a great job at containing this group of wild'beasts, save for a rowdy pair who were resistant all the while. "Marel, well met." is shared with a smile, such a lovely and simple name rolling off her tongue. The glasses are grabbed carefully, a big swig out of the full one because she definitely will spill otherwise, and the other that she didn't just drink from is passed on with a "You're welcome.." Just then, those two wild stragglers actually break away from the line towards the brush covered corral entrance and slip past those herding. Who would've thunk Zahl would be the one with a keen eye in this moment. "They're getting away!" She points, immediately going in to action, setting her glass down and taking off after the two who are making distance quickly. She'll untie and mount the mare with swiftness, bolting after them with a lasso grabbed from saddle attachment.

Journeyman Pharse takes Jethaniel's hand, "Well met, sir. I hope to talk with you when we have more." With the arrival of the herdbeasts, he walks towards the corral as other join Zah in going after the stragglers. Garait rushes ahead of the Journeyman to help with the gates as well, hoping that everything works out okay.

It's a great day for a roundup, as far as at least Zan is concerned — Alzanbri looks perfectly comfortable from his perch atop a greyish mare, one part of one of the three-person teams on the front end. Well…comfortable, that is, until he dismounts and makes a wide-eyed look of utter dismay. Less than easily, he ties the grey runner to a convenient post and ignores her put-upon look back towards the other two they've been riding with. To his credit, the lad does manage to arrange his face into one less obviously pained as he — er, ambles, we'll say ambles — over towards where it looks like there is something to drink. The escaping stragglers and Zah's exit are definitely noticed, but by the time they've got it under control he'll have, you know, managed a slow-turn and shuffle. So back to the prospect of juice it is. "Hullo." He offers vaguely, waving a hand and smiling just a bit too brightly at those gathered. "Things good here?"

Form the tents of the camp, n-talya makes her way slowly from the Galley tent, a large tray of cut fruits carried before her somewhat off balanced as she attempts to make her way over toward the coral and those working with the round up. The tiny dolphineer determined to help any way she can while she is out her.

Candidate stares after Candidate, frame tensing as Marel readies herself to be of some assistance, but, given that Zahleizjah seems to have everything mostly under control there, she doesn't turn to follow. Having not been looking much beyond her immediate surroundings whilst helping with the food, she only really realises that Jethaniel is indeed Jethaniel when she closes that distance, slowing her steps to a halt as she regards him with a sudden stoicism. She's not so impolite as to interrupt his conversation, yet nor does she stop staring, perhaps making her desire to speak more obvious than she means for it to be. When Pharse moves off towards the corral, she takes her chance, and puts to Jethaniel a steady, "You… and my sister?" out of the blue.

"Indeed so," Jethaniel says to Pharse, and he's just turning around to see who's next on his list of people to talk to when Marel inserts herself as the next item. He blinks at her, staring for a moment as he attempts to, firstly, recognize her, and, secondly, to put his mind into the appropriate context to approach her question. The second actually assists with the first, interestingly enough. "Ah… perhaps. She is an admirable woman." He admires her. Ergo, she is admirable.

Garait is helping near the corrals as herdbeasts are brought in and stragglers herded back. He helps with the runners as well as the gate, making sure gates are open when the need to be and runners are brushed, led away, fed and watered.

Marel draws herself up that bit taller (that is to say, not very much), trying to look the Steward straight in the eye as she declares, in a low voice that holds no shred of humour: "That plant you bought had better have been for her," in the same tone as one might say 'If you hurt her, it'll be the last thing you ever do.' From a fourteen turn old girl, it might just be comical, and the fact that it's from the not-so-threatening /Marel/ might tip it over into just plain ridiculous, but she takes herself very seriously in that moment, a polite nod given before she moves off again, back to her food-prep duties.

Natalya very slowly makes her way over to the assembled group, just managing to keep the tray upright, looking between them all and says softly, shyly, "Anyone need anything." She blinks though at Marel's comment, not knowing the context.

Crreeaak. Well; if Zan could creak, he would, ambling ever-so-carefully over to the sustenance. He grabs a glass of juice and downs half of it in one go, only eventually looking around once he's finished. Yes. Just him and the juice, now. Or well — it would be, if he wasn't craning his neck around curiously. "Thank you." Is earnest for those on food-and-drink duty, as he absentmindedly streeetches and makes funny faces. "Shells. Nice today, eh?" The lad grins wryly, then waves a hand off towards Garait if he approaches the grey mare, smiling. "Only stopped a minute, she's just getting warmed up." He calls, keeping an eye on the bored-looking runner who looks at most mildly irritated with her confinement. "None for me, thank you." Zan offers to Natalya, shooting another glance to the mare. "Think my ride may eat my boots if I hang around long."

While Marel is incapable of drawing herself tall enough to reach the same height as him, Jethaniel does her the courtesy of nevertheless meeting her eyes. Furthermore, his expression continues to be serious as she speaks to him with her dire warning. "It was," he replies gravely, though he offers no further self-justifications on that count. His expression remains serious until she's moved away, only afterward gaining a trace of bemusement and, just perhaps, a faint smile. He gives his head a small shake, and lifts his juice to take a sip.

Garait finishes up on some of the runners and heads back to the gathered group, avoiding the food and drink right now. He takes a deep breathe, "It looks like this is going to be another good day of rounding up the herdbeasts."

Alzanbri is well-versed in behaving himself when it comes to teenaged girls — he's studiously ignored Marel's chest-thumping, not a lip-twitch to his name as he drinks his juice. "What'd you do?" When the girl is out of range, he shoots Jethaniel-wards. Maybe it's none of his business, but Zan's never been known for his extreme tact. Which is probably why he continues making not-sane faces as he stretches, looking thoroughly discomforted. "Shells. Be easier to /walk/ after the shardin' beasts." He grumps, but does grin Garait-wards, glancing up at the sky and back to the streaming-in beasts. The other two members of his team are functioning without him, though, at the moment, so Zan takes a moment to breathe. "It does. Looking forward to steaks." Typical.

The bemused expression lingers on Jethaniel's face as he looks towards Alzanbri. "Ah…" He pauses a moment, to consider his answer. "I find her sister attractive." Another pause, this one slightly longer, and when he speaks again, his voice conveys traces of perplexity. "Her sister seems to also find appeal in me." Strange as that proposition seems to him, it nevertheless has brought a fond smile to his face, even in mere thought. He glances back to Garait, and nods, somewhat distractedly. "Doubtless this interim report will quickly become out of date."

Garait peers at Alzanbri, "Herdbeast are less likely to run with people chasing them on foot. Plus, being on runners reduces the chance of being gored." he blinks at the word steaks, "Well, I hope you like steaks. I'm sure some will be made out of the ones that are culled. I won't be eating them since I don't eat herdbeasts. Fish and wherry are fine though." Why would he eat herdbeasts since is focus is to raise them and see the creatures he helped raise, slaughtered. He looks at Jethaniel then, "I can probably send you another report tonight? by firelizard delivery?"

Alzanbri, Lord of Confusion. Really, the title should follow, bless him. "Ah." The hunter nods in a sagely kind of way as he fills his glass again. "Yep." Wisely, he nods, grinning as he eyes that mare sidelong. He's watching you, missy. Not that she notices. "Gotta watch the sisters. What's so wrong with that, though? Kind of nice." The lad shrugs, taking a long drink of the new glass of juice. Hydration! A faint smirk is quickly replaced by a perfectly innocent expression as the hunter eyes his superior, nodding slowly. "Oh, I'm sure it will. Always does." He remarks, then grins brightly at Garait. "Yeah, well, less chance of…" Okay, maybe he does have a little tact, since he abruptly closes his mouth and doesn't open it until the comment has sorted itself in his head. Smart boy. "Eat whatever's there, me." He shrugs ruefully, eyeing the herdbeasts warily.

Jethaniel shakes his head to Garait. "That will not be necessary. I believe Journeyman Pharse has matters here well under control." That smile there is his polite one. It lacks a certain something that the other one had. Here it comes again, for purposes of comparison. "I am inclined to think so," he says to Alzanbri with a slight nod. "Nor do I find anything wrong with the situation, speaking personally. She is, however," he tilts his head vaguely in the direction Marel went, "-entitled to her opinions." A pause, and perplexity returns as he adds, "Whatever they may, in fact, be."

Garait excuses himself to make preparations as he sees some of the dragonriders in the sky, scaring more of the herdbeasts towards the corral-trap. Other beastcrafters are starting to look at the behaviors of some of the new arrivals, seeing which one calm down quicker or if there's any with a tendency to be aggressive. Much of the big part of the roundup is complete as both bison and river bovines have been herded in. Forest Bovines are caught in small excursions to more forested areas and are brought here to be looked at before they are brought to the Weyr.

Alzanbri finishes the second glass of juice with a happy sort of noise, though it quickly goes up a few octaves when he makes a particularly quick movement. "Shardin' — last time I make a bet with her." Mutter mutter mutter. At least Jethaniel and Garait provide distraction; the hunter grins over at them, nodding ruefully. "Great!" He translates the commentary easily enough, and chuckles cheerily, setting down the glass and absently ruffling dirt out of his hair. Ew. "See, that's great. Don't worry much about, er," The lad squints, then evidently fails to recall the Weyr-goer's name. "The girl. She'll probably come 'round. Still…" And here, Zan glances at the sky, at the plains, up in a nearby tree and behind him; just in case. You never know who might be sneaking up on you. He catches Garait's departure with a curious tilt of his head and a wave, but then, there is a job to do and maybe he's been lingering a bit too long. Can you blame him? "Don't think we'll ever really know what their opinions are. Insane, all of 'em." That's in an undertone, as he edges back towards the mare. "I probably should get back before they have my hide." Cue a big sigh.

Jethaniel raises a brow at the high pitched noise from Alzanbri, though he does not, in fact, inquire. He nods slightly about the greatness of things. "I do not require her permission," he says, and gives a nod as Garait departs - but then, as Alzanbri continues, the smile that was lingering on Jethaniel's face turns into a frown. "That, sir, is a misapprehension with which I do not agree." The words are spoken clearly and with a lack of affect; if it weren't for the frown, he might well be reciting the contents of one of those reports he's always reading. His gaze studies Alzanbri's features as the other man edges away, as if hoping his memory will provide a name.

Alzanbri is still shuffle-scuffing in spite of having been stretching steadily, and he eyes his mount with trepidation as he approaches. Neither looks particularly impressed by the other, but she holds her peace as he unties her from her post and kind of oozes back up into the saddle. Never mind the teakettle-noise mimic he's got going on. "Good man!" Eventually, Zan manages, and his voice is forcibly a shade or two deeper than usual. Manly, see. Honest. Still: he and the mare work well enough together once he walks her out a few paces, turning to pace in a broad circle around Jethaniel. "Good luck to you, then." The lad grins cheekily, sketching something of a salute as he stills the mare briefly. Either the searching look or manners — we'll have a guess as to which, with this one — cue up a sheepish grin from the young man, as he arranges his expression into something a bit more proper. "Dunno if I said, but, Alzanbri. I'm a hunter. Don't get in much, but next time I'm in I'll come by with my reports." He nods, then heaves a sigh. "See you around." That's mournful, but the mare is shimmying impatiently, and as soon as he gives her her freedom she bolts for the 'beasts: one of them, anyways, has a job to do!

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