Early Morning Observations
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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.


At this hour most of the Weyr may still be in that groggy, post-sleep haze. Few could blame them, really, as the sun has just barely risen. Nevertheless, either due to nerves or a hungry bronze firelizard, Avani has been up for a few hours now and she finds herself seating in the midrange of the Observation Level, a sleeping, Thor in her lap. The bronze's hide shimmers from the attention, but his mistress seems distracted, her gaze moving from the Clutch below to the spot on the Sands where a Candidate was mauled during Kilaueth's Hatching and back once more.

Sleep is a luxury for some, especially with a hatchling on hand. Thus it is that Jessamin slips like the morning mist into the lower tiers of the observation level, with a small blue clinging to her right shoulder, and a gold to her left. As is her wont, she carries the tools of her trade with her-an overstuffed sewing basket and a bulging bag of fabric scraps, along with a small container of scraps for her 'lizards and a thermos of klah for herself. It's a quiet time, the hour just after dawn, just before the rush of chores.

After serving his time on 'sands duty' with the just recently hatched clutch, it might seem a bit strange to find R'owan making his way back up to the observation level. Even so, there he is. The youngling Weyrleader has a roll of parchment shoved under one arm, a handful of individual pages clutched in one hand, and a mug of klah in the other. Precariously balanced on his shoulder is a single golden firelizard, who seems content to half-doze, head bobbing as her owner walks the steps. It's the lizard who seems to notice the others before R'owan does, the bronzerider's face screwed up in concentration as he tries to make sense of numbers and figures that really aren't his strong point. "Ow." He mutters, and spills a bit of klah in the process, reaching up to move the lizard's head away from his ear. "Stop that, Kas." And then he spots… candidates. "Mmm. Morning." He offers sociably, remembering his manners as he lifts the mug towards them and then flops himself unceremoniously into one of the seats. Graceful Weyrleader? Hardly.

Avani looks up at the human voice and blinks, glancing down at Thor's sleeping form which occupies her lap with something close to panic in her mud-green eyes. "Good morning, WeyrLeader," is offered finally, though she is in no position to rise at the moment, as she rightfully should.

The knot on R'owan's shoulder earns the token nod of respect from Jessamin, but her grin spreads from ear to ear. Only the fact that they are very close to dragon eggs hardening on the Sands-not to mention their very protective mother-has her keeping her voice down. "R'owan, as I live and breathe, is that really you behind the knot?" Empress, her gold, clings ever more tightly to her human's shoulder, squawking once. MINE! "How have you been all this time?"

"Bah." R'owan replies with a smirk, taking a long drink of his klah before setting it down on the seat next to him. For Avani's sake, he offers a small wink, "At ease, will you?" He chuckles, and shakes his head before looking to Jessamin. "I'm still not really used to the whole thing. Figured I'd serve time as a wingsecond or wingleader or something before Nyunath got the idea to chase a senior." He sighs, but in that 'dragons - what can you do?' sort of way. "Is it firelizards or dragon eggs that has you two up this early?" He asks, and then shrugs his shoulders a little, flattening out some of the pages onto his lap. "Been well, though. You? Heard you left Xanadu for a while." His eyes glance at Jess before flicking back down to the pages.

Avani relaxes, slightly, when the WeyrLeader tells her to, but still seems somewhat concerned and keeps flitting glances his way between her watching of the Clutch and that particular spot on the Sands. When the question is asked, she gives a slighty shrug as she answers. "Both. Thor woke me, but I thought this might be a good way to pass the time until Chores begin."

Jessamin says "New 'lizard in the faire, you know how it is." The little blue in question peers at R'owan through the veil of her hair, warbling curiously at him. By the looks of it, he is freshly bathed and oiled, as is her queen-who is also looking between R'owan and his gold. "Thought I'd take another look at the eggs and work on a quilt from them." Avani's glances at a particular spot on the Sands isn't lost on her. Though nothing is said in as many words, it is not hard to piece together that all was not well there. She does try to smile to her fellow Candidate, in an attempt to both distract and reassure her. "Maybe the knot commands respect, but the last person I've ever known to stand on ceremony is R'owan." The bronze rider in question gets a chuckle and a sympathetic smile. "Been doing well, for the most part. I moved on to Western after my second try on the Sands here." Even in the dimmer light of dawn that filters through to the observation level, the crimson hue of her cheeks is unmistakable-though her smile leaves one wondering just why it's there. "Came back to visit with M'nol, look for some familiar faces-and got roped into Standing again."

Concentration on paperwork has never been R'owan's strong point, so any excuse to lift his eyes again is taken, even if it brings the path of his gaze to an all-too-familiar spot on the sands. "Hmm." He reaches a hand up and scratches a little at some unshaven scruff that has grown from a few days of not really focusing on his appearance. "Is that bothering you?" He asks, looking away from the sands and taking in the two candidates. As for the comment on his views on ceremony, he just snorts once and shrugs. "Well, it's good to have you back. And you know as well as I do that being left standing doesn't mean you won't find a lifemate eventually. How many times did Keziah stand before she bonded her Alosynth?"

Avani goes spot the smile sent her way, but does a double take at the 'roping' comment. "You don't find it's your Duty and an honour to Stand then?" she asks Jessamin, though her usual conviction isn't present behind her gaze this time. It's a good thing her bronze is still sleeping, because he has a habit of giving away her emotions when she's in this mood.

Jessamin replies to R'owan, "Knowing it doesn't always help, but I do understand what you mean." Her gold seemingly decides that this lot is okay, settling down to quiet warbling and relaxing her grip on Jessamin's shoulder. Avani gets something of a 'what the heck' look from Jessamin, eyebrows lofting. "An honor? Yes. It's hurt, being left Standing, but it's an honor each and every time." Here, though, she bursts out laughing, shaking her head. "What I referred to was more -how- it happened this time. I wasn't the one to take the knot. It became a 'lizard toy before I had a chance to say yea or nay, and I wound up making a new one and wearing it." Her gold gets an affectionate nudge and scritch. "I'm still glad for it, though."

R'owan lifts one eyebrow, glancing towards Avani with consideration. "Search comes to everyone differently. I'd lived at the weyr for turns without being searched, so I'd figured it was an impossibility. For those who get searched and left standing, it's heartbreaking. Some are strong enough to face it again." He nods once towards Jessamin. "Others move on." His own firelizard slowly crawls down from the rider's shoulder, curling around his mug of klah to steal it's warmth. Reaching a hand down, the Weyrleader scratches her eyeridges. "As for that, you know you could have still refused if you really wanted to, Jess. No one can force a knot on you." He smirks a little bit, knowing full well that she isn't going to change her mind now. However, for Avani, he casts another curious glance. "Is this your first time being searched?"

Avani's thin lips form a 'O' before she returns to watching the Clutch and that particular patch of the Sands. Her lips press together when conversation turns to being left Standing, though perhaps for a different reason than others would suspect. Certainly not for a reason she'd admit to herself willingly either. When a question is addressed her way? "Wha-?" she blinks and bobs her head, focusing on the WeyrLeader. "Yes, Sir. It is." The look in her mud-green eyes may give away the silent 'First and only,' then again, she turn take the excuse to look down at the dozing Thor to break eye-contact rather quickly.

Jessamin says "You really think I'd say no to the white knot? Fardles, especially knowing how long it took Keziah? How could I do any less?" Though her azure eyes glisten with many things left unsaid, her lips do curl upwards into a smile. "Being left Standing doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. When you have both a dragon and rider telling you the same thing, you know it for fact." The silence has her looking away as well, down at the Sands. "That egg there is going to be interesting to render as part of a quilt. May wind up having to dye the fabric myself for that one." She gestures out towards where the eggs rest, hardening in preparation for Hatching. "The one that looks like Rukbat rising over the sea, with the two blue spots on it."

With R'owan's attention divided between two candidates, the sands, and the work he really should be doing, it's easy enough for him to miss the undertone in Avani's words. "No one really knows how the dragons choose their riders. But if a search dragon thinks there's something in you worth searching, it's worth a chance to keep trying if being a rider is something you'd want." There is a whistful sort of tone to R'owan's voice, as if he were momentarily back to being the weyr messenger surprised and dazed to find himself asked to be on the sands. A shake of his curly-haired head brings him back around, though. "Have you been down on the sands yet to touch them? I'd guess they should be hard enough by now." He wagers, flicking the top of one page with a fingertip. "The more comfortable you are with the eggs, the less likely it is for mistakes to happen."

Avani nods her head, "Yes, Sir. Once so far." She manages to stop looking towards the one _spot_ on the Sands, instead letting her gaze settle upon the egg with the brozen face upon its shell.

Jessamin opens her mouth as if to say something about egg touchings, but is cut off by Empress' squawking as an unfamiliar face joins Avani, R'owan and Jessamin on the observation level. A slight, raven-haired young lad with jade colored eyes that looks as if he was in his early teens at most bows once to the Weyrleader. "Sorry, Sir. But I was told to bring any Candidates I could find down to the Sands." He bears a white knot upon his shoulder, and by the way he gives R'owan a wide berth is likely hold-bred. Jessamin nods, rising to her feet. With a little warble to her two 'lizards, she sends them soaring out the entrance of the Hatching grounds so they will not be a disturbance. "Maybe another time, R'owan. I'll have to catch up with you over a mug of klah."

Avani looks up at the apparently new Candidate rushes in and nods her head. "I'll go bring Thor to me cot, but should be out shortly," she offers. The young woman carefully picks up the sleeping bronze, moving him from her lap into the crook of her arm before moving over towards the stair. Before she steps down, she turns and offers R'owan a deep curtsey, "Clear skies, WeyrLeader." Then she is gone.

R'owan opens his mouth as if to say something else towards the two candidates, but the other candidate has him holding his tongue. "Ahh. See, the eggs call." He runs a hand through the tangled mess of his hair and then shifts around the papers on his lap as if moving them around would make it look as if he'd actually done some work. "Just send one of your faire to find me. I could use an excuse to get away every now and again." The Weyrleader's face is still a smile as he shoos the three candidates off. "Go, oogle eggs. I'll see you later."

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