Amidst the Gathered Throngs

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow
A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves. The meadow continues with gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes, and eventually those hills grow higher and steeper, ending in a large rige that provides a fine view of that meadow and the rest of the Weyr, gazing out over the multicolored roofs of the houses and the cliff that holds the caverns.
Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, and a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing. Trees border the northern side of the meadow, and more of those low, rolling hills can be seen to the northwest. A road passes through the meadow, coming from the east and used by traders and crafters alike. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests or ore from the mountains are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

It's a bright Summer day at Xanadu, poofy clouds drift across the sky, casting drifting patches of shade. A cooling breeze keeps people from getting too warm while they roam over the meadow. In other words, it's a perfect day for a Gather and celebrating Leirith's clutch gracing Xanadian sands and the meadow has been festively tranformed for the occasion.
Traders have arrived and set up their wagons here and there between between vendor stalls. The stalls were constructed by Leirith's chosen few, so be sure to compliment the candidates on jobs well done if the stalls survive til the end of the Gather, if not, we'll know not to let them near hammer and nails ever again. All sorts of things are being hawked from the various stalls. Hide gear for every occasions, trinkets and baubles sparkle to catch the eye, and an assortment of foods and drinks to keep people happy. And over there you can see a wooden raised platform, large enough for quite a few people to dance and shimmy about to the Harpers seated nearby entertaining the masses with their musical melodies. And don't forget about the Game Booths: Dart Toss, FishBowl Ring Toss, StrongMan Challenge and a Gather favorite the Dunking Booth.

What's that smell? It might be the fresh bubbly pies! Then again, it might be the roasted nuts. Or maybe it's the mint lemonade! There are a lot of options for what's got things smelling so good in the meadow today. And there's a similar variety of sounds, from the traders as they finish setting up in their (somehow still standing!) stalls, to the harpers tuning up near the large wooden dance floor, to the murmur of conversation from those folks already here and ready to start their celebrating. That set of folks includes D'lei, escaped from the heat of the sands into the heat of… a summer's day. He seems happy enough with the trade, meandering along with the breeze ruffling at a pale orchid tunic and light grey shorts selected for summer comfort rather than aerobatics. Not only that, he's got company! A little lady to hold his arm… well, hand. Selene may only be a toddler, but when she decides she wants to walk, she walks. So that's what she's doing, wearing a kitty-cat romper - because Risa thought it was cute, okay??? - and looking around her with wide eyes and a bright smile.

It is summer, and sunny, and Sephany is a pale creature by genetics. And it's the type of pale that does not tan but burns, so in addition to her wispy summer dress, she's donned a rather large and floppy hat to protect eyes and face (and even shoulders, cause this thing is huge) from the damage that unprotected sun exposure can wrought. She has already been by those aforementioned bubblies, and is finishing one up by daintily nibbling the sticky-sweetness from her thumb as she peruses a stall of trinkets. She must have already told the vendor she wasn't interested in purchasing, because she's ignoring her completely in favor of other, more charitable patrons. A wrinkle of her nose (apparently there was nothing acceptable to be found) and she backs away, turning to head for the next stall. And low and behold, what does she spy but a D'lei and his… kitten-child. "Awww," which is definitely for Selene rather than the bronzerider, as quick steps make short work of the distance between them. "Hello Selene! Aren't you just adorable…" and then, because it would be rude otherwise, there's a grin and a quick, "Hello D'lei," for him as well.

Kera has already been at some of the gaming booths, if the collection of little stuffies shoved under her arm is any clue. The woman has a large satchel strapped to her back, with half a fuzzy little wing sticking out. Having stored away her favorites, Kera seems to be handing them out at random as she wanders among the differant stalls. She comes to one rickety looking one and purporsely leans against it, perhaps checking for wobble.

And there's Risali, who's in a dress because it's easier to wear (BABY WEIGHT DOES NOT MAGICALLY VAMOOSH OVERNIGHT, YA'LL) even if she looks very much like she hates it. It's a vibrant royal purple cut in a greek-style v-neck, two cords of equal purple binding just under her chest to give the dress some shape while the rest of it flows. She's even got a crown of flowers on her head, because WHY BE RIDICULOUS when you can be ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS? So here Risali is, ruining the look (or perhaps adding to it) with BARE FEET. There's a little girl on each hand - one with dark hair, one with blonde - and Risali is looking as amused as she is exhausted by the duo of voices that chorus, "Hiiii! Hi baby! Hiiii!" to every. single. person. that. they. pass. EVERY SINGLE ONE. That means KERA (who Risali smiles to, because both of her hands are occupied), and SEPHANY (another smile, though Risali is coming up on her because) - "DAY-YAY!" AND THEY'RE OFF. Heribly and Ibsyglei jerk hands away and make mad toddler-dashes away from their sister to their… brother in law? and a COUSIN. Heribly stops long enough to smile REAL CUTE at Sephany and offer another, "Hiii, baby," before putting up her arms for ONE OF THE ADULTS TO PICK HER UP. Ibsy? She's mooning over her cousin, pushing hair out of her face, and babbling in a language that Heribly joins in on. And the girls? Well, they are both dressed in leggings that fit into boots, and tunics that are cut with cold shoulders and ruffles over the chest.

From insufficiently shiny shinies to (more than) sufficiently adorable child! Selene beams up at Sephany, with a, "H'lo!" and a wiggle in place along with a tug of her hand to set her father's arm a-swinging, because it's more fun that way. D'lei, the brief second thought, grins as he gets his own token greeting. "Hey, Sephany." Aww yeah. Adult conversation, for a whole ten seconds before Selene toddles a step closer to Sephany and pipes up with her next conversational foray. "Go gahva!" she declares proudly to the weaver, because that is how conversation works (when you're a turn and a half old). And then - "Eeee!" is her greeting to her cousins, or some other high-pitched sound that might be a firelizard but might also be an excited toddler. Ibsyglei gets hugged, and Heribly gets patpatted even as she demands grownup hug-holdings, and D'lei lets Selene go to ALL THE COUSINS, with a, "Heri-Hair and Itty-Ibsy!" to greet them - along with little headruffles - before he grins up to Risali and swings a salute her way. "Toddler Wing is ready to fly." Aww yeah. Especially Heri. UP?

Although the day itself is beautiful, and the gather picturesque, it isn't his bucolic surroundings that draw Nikolan's attention - or focus - but rather the gather goers as they go about their gathering. With the strap carefully secured around his neck, the young techcrafter-cum-candidate is strolling through the stalls of goods, his camera in a perpetual state of half-lifted as he records shot after shot for posterity - or, in some cases, for careful bargaining with a stall-owner interested in a bit of advertising. Espying the children - and the Risali - he lines up a swift series of shots. Snap, snap, snap. Does this qualify, D'lei?

Somewhere's over near the food, is where one will find the candidate, Zasheir. With food in hand, and an eye towards the games, the tall lanky beastcrafter turned candidate, is enjoying the gather, same as anyone else. That is, until someone bumps into him, sending food down the front of his shirt. That's going to leave a stain! "I.. oh…" Speechless is the man who ends up sighing. There goes his best shirt, shard it!

Whodunit? Siobhan done it. Here the woman was, mingling with the crowd in finery more fitting an independant rider than one weyr-stationed, watching little children dash hither and thither and bespeak one another with utmost adorablility and then this. "Shardit," she swears as she collides with poor Zasheir, frustration for her own clumsiness replaced swiftly by apology. "I am so sorry. Here, let me…" Let her what, though? The garment is stained, there's food everywhere and so she pauses, blue eyes flicking over his person, right cloudier than the left perhaps explaining the crash - if it sees, it perhaps isn't well. "Napkins," the woman decides, already turning on her heel, "let me bring you some."

One hand goes to that hat, keeping is securely atop her head; the other is employed for little finger-wiggles toward Selene until Sephany's attention is caught by more babies. These… are not as familiar. Certainly not familiar enough that she can remember NAMES for them, though the smile says clear enough she's at least seen them once more twice in her life. "Hello there!" and how could she refuse such an offer? A bend of her knees, and Sephany is scooping up Heribly with a practiced crook of her arm, turning the motion into momentum that sees her upright in short order. Physics! It's practically mandatory that toddler-on-hip results in bouncing, if just for all of that repositioning/settling/getting things in proper places to facilitate the ease of holding said toddler. So bounce-bounce, "Hello Risali!" because here she is, in all of her royal purple and bare-foot glory. There's a mischievous twinkle for the lack of footwear, but the weaver is smart enough to say not a single word about it.

Kera deems the stall sturdy enough and nods approvingly of the candidates' construction skills. Spotting D'lei with his daughter, Kera smiles and waves, turning her steps their way and crouching by Selene. "Hello little kitty." Because of you know, the feline outfit the child is stuffed into. "Here's a little kitten for you." The woman passes over a kitten stuffy to the little girl before moving on, spying the weyrwoman with her own escorts. Kera chuckles at their excitable greeting and hands over the last couple of stuffies to them before they move on "Hello babies. Have fun!" With her hands empty, it's time to visit the food stalls.

Turning his attention to the woman who bumped into him, Zasheir is giving the woman a smile, "It's okay. Things happen in crowds." Yet, he won't turn down the offer of napkins as she hurries off to fetch some from nearby. A trash recepticle is found to ditch what is left of the wrap in his hand that is now minus it's yummy insides, his gaze swinging to the flits that take the spill as a signal to swoop in and scoop up what ended up on the ground. Score for them! And score for everyone else who won't end up stepping in the mess. When Sio returns, Zash still smiles, "Thanks." For the napkins, obviously

Ahhhh, the reassuring sounds of technology! Not that D'lei isn't a bit distracted, what with Toddler Wing swooping around him, but he does eventually notice Nikolan and provide a more intentional grin instead of the usual candids… though he's soon enough distracted again. There's Kera, offering a little kitty to a Selene who says, "H'lo!" in answer to it - and, when prompted by D'lei's, "Say thank you," a moment's pause as she considers it before she says, "Danks!" with a beaming grin and a toss of her arms wide. HUG FOR THANKS? And then the rest of the younglings descend, with more hugs and more stuffies, and D'lei is almost too late to add his own, "Thanks!" to Kera before she's off for food and he's left… here. "Such swooping soars!" he declares for Heribly's lift, with a grin for Sephany to share the adult perspective on it before looking down again to the other pair of little ones who… are playing with the little stuffies tromping around in each other's hair. Okay, good enough. Heribly pats up at Sephany's cheeks, giggling as she does, because the weaver is just so precious.

"It's the least I could do," Siobhan replies, napkins - some dampened, some dry - are handed over to the young beastcrafter-candidate. "I do feel bad about your shirt, though. I know a kid in Ierne, brilliant with chemicals, could have it out in a snap," fingers raise to do just that, clicking in the air near her head, "but his upcharge for customers outside the weyrhold is preposterous." Her eyes unfocused in the manner of dragonriders, a small smile worming onto her face, making scarred features look a little less harsh. "My dragon says he'd be happy to wash it for you. I wouldn't take him up on it if I were you." The last is said in a conspirator's tone, whispered behind her hand as though he were near. Humored eyes watch flits descend on the wasted leftovers before shifting to Kera's nearby approach, chin dipping in a nod of greeting. "That was nice of you." The gift of the stuffy, she means, though how she saw that and not Zasheir's entire self is up for debate perhaps. Sio-brain-logic.

Children and people and just everything and Niko's doing everything he can to take it in. D'lei's grin is snapped, and answered by a smirk as he deliberately snaps another photo the moment the bronzerider is distracted by the teeming throng. Deftly dodging around the tangle of Siobhan and Zasheir, he sends his fellow Candidate a sympathetic glance and kindly does not document this particular moment in Gather history. He does, however, spend a moment or two allowing the lens of his camera to admire Risali in all her vibrantly purple glory. "I thought only Monaco's Weyrlings wore that particular shade," he murmurs to no one in particular.

NIKOLAN. SATAN. Risali seems to blink at the whirring sound of a picture being taken, and those grey eyes seek out the source before — sigh. There's humor as much as resignation on her face, features screwing up into something as ridiculous as her outfit when she crosses her eyes, and sticks out her tongue, and probably would have flipped him the bird except that she's using her hands to keep the hem of her dress from tripping her up and getting under her feet. "And hello to you, candidate Nikolan." A bite down on her bottom lip to stifle a smile, and she moves to finally catch up, bumping D'lei gently with her shoulder, sinking down into a crouch to press a kiss to Selene's cheek even as she brushes away some of Ibsy's hair and rises again to lean towards Sephany for a sideways hug. "I love the hat," she breathes, with POINTED EYES AT D'LEI that say MAYBE THIS ONE (she got it from her kind of Mom) before she leans a little more weight on the weaver. "I have to go make rounds, don't I?" Because she is a junior and that means politics and there might be an attempt to gender and position swap with D'lei (VIA EYES) that fails. So she spins away, heading for Nikolan first because he's A JERK. "And I thought people usually asked to take pictures." But she seems interested, coming 'round to shoulderbump him and peer at his camera. "Get anything good yet?"

"Thank you." The napkins are taken into hand, wet ones run over his shirt to try his best to get some of the stains out of the material. Laughing as she mentions the guy who could get them out, he shakes his head, "It's okay. Not the first time I've messed up a shirt, and likely won't be the last any time soon." Leaning in to hear the whisper about Sio's dragon, he snorts, "Would I have a shirt left if he tried to take care of it?" A Brow lifts upwards, that grin growing a little more, "Or would I have holes in place of the stains?" See, he can guess what might happen there! As for how Sio missed him, he is tall and lanky. Skinny some would insist. He just disappeared in her blind spot, yeah?

"Aww, how sweet," for the gift-bearing Kera and her bestowing of stuffies upon toddlers. Sephany's grin follows the assistant weyrlingmaster briefly. "Thanks," offered dryly for the compliment on her hat. It is… clearly for sun protection and not necessarily aesthetics, considering it's just about swallowed the weaver whole. Side-hug returned, if a bit awkwardly with all of the hat-holding and baby holding, and general holding of things. "Yes," said with solemnity because, alas, duties. "Go mingle and do that weyrwoman… thing." Grin. Twinkle. And then her cheeks are getting attention from tiny toddler hands, which prompts all of the silly faces that such an action demands; puffed up expression and crossed eyes, and general silliness that is only ever appropriate when directed to a child under five. And then a grin for D'lei that is MUCH more adult (in that it does not involved crossed eyes or stuck out tongue or any of that nonsense). "Another turn, and there's no way I'd be able to hold them," because she is tiny, and children are deceptively heavy! A twitch of her gaze toward the camera-baring candidate, which results in a bit of a smile-wobble there because… camera. Giant hat. So fun. "Friend of yours?"

Kera stretches up on her toes a bit to peer over someone's shoulder to better look at the food up for grabs when the voice catches her attention. Hmm?" Peering around, she smiles at Siobhan and nods to the older woman with a casual shrug "I couldn't take them all back to the cottage anyway. C'rus will be grumbling enough over the ones I'm keeping for our own son as is." And well, Kera's always had a stuffy issue. The cuter they are, the more she has to have it. "You hungy?" She tilts her head towards the little kabob sticks and gestures the vendor for two of them.
*Snap* Lovely pose, weyrwoman. "And don't you look particularly elegant today, Risali," Nikolan greets the goldrider as she bears down on him, storm-grey eyes twinkling to belie his calm, unsmiling expression. "And why would I ask? Then people would pose and it would ruin the entire purpose of a candid shot - to capture life." Case in point - Sephany is captured in the viewfinder next, a quick snap of weaver and children and hat before the candidate finally lowers his camera and offers Risali his full attention. "I've gotten several excellent shots - this will be a wonderful moment in my study of Weyrlife - a testament to the grandeur of Xanadu Weyr." Right. And he managed to say that with a straight-face, even. OR - no, there's the dimple.

D'lei bumps Risali back as she arrives, and Selene beams up to show her new stuffed toy and declare, "Kiki!" Which is less a name, per se, and more just how she expresses the broad concept of felinity at this stage in her development. But, seriously, look at it! KIKIKITTY! D'lei slides his arm around Risali for a moment as she rises, a moment of sideways-hug between them, children in the foreground, that is not at all intended as bait for the camera but… still is. And then Risali's in motion again, because of course she is. D'lei commits to nothing beyond an affable shrug as far as hat. As for those rounds… "I mean, you've already said hello to the most important people," he says with a gesture toward Toddler Wing At Play. "But I suppose, now that you've done that, it wouldn't hurt to go greet some Weyrleaders and Masters and such. Make them feel appreciated." Even if she does try to take his place with the babies, and recieves nothing more than a kiss for her troubles, which does nothing to change the fact that she's got to go do talking to people. D'lei, meanwhile, crouches down for a moment to help with a toy that's gotten tangled in hair that … really should have been brushed, but, toddlers … before rising again to see Sephany as Heribly takes a break from giggling at all those silly faces to lean in against Sephany and cuddle as she looks out at the gather. D'lei hehs, and nods. "I know what you mean. Never thought being a father'd make me remember training with firestone sacks… up until it did." He grins, then follows her gaze to… Nikolan! At whom - or at least, the idea of whom - he laughs. "Oh yeah, he's got more than enough to blackmail me," is his 'answer'… though it's given in a playful tone. "We're both tech, so it's only natural." Well, artificial, because technology, but still.

"Perhaps in your former life," Siobhan suggests, "but as a candidate? Definitely not the last. I am fair to certain my weyrlingmaster burned most of my things after candidacy." So much to look forwards to! Or, more likely, she's just joking, teeth bared in a wide grin that does not dim for his brow-raised guesses. "Jys assures me he would handle your shirt with delicacy and finesse, which is to say, he'd leave you behind exactly enough scraps to make dishcloths out of," Siobhan confirms. At least it wouldn't be a total loss? Ahem. Blue eyes switch to Kera for the greenrider's response, laughing lightly under her breath. "Fair enough. I might try a hand at winning one or two, myself." Kabobs are considered, but a dark shadow flickers overhead, a hot summer storm personified coming in for a landing too close to the gather for his rider's comfort. Cheeks puff out, she exhales with a sigh, and then declines with a wry, "Alas, I must see to this big baby. Males never grow up." A wink of her good eye. "Thank you, though, and it was a pleasure. Siobhan, rider of Jysaiozetth. Hopefully we'll meet again." But for now she's bowing slightly to candidate and assistant weyrlingmaster both before setting off towards her dragon with a brisk stride.

Ricki doesn't necessarily creep into the meadows - that would imply she is being stealthy - however she also doesn't appear with a great deal of confidence. Fingers absently rub at the white knot on her shoulder before she seems to make up her mind and she is picking her way through the gathered crowd to one familiar - if often infuriating - face: Nikolan. Her path is momentarily obstructed as Siobhan scoots briskly by, and after a moment staring after the departing rider, she continues on her way, potentially sneaking up behind Niko without a word.

Wet napkins isn't enough to get the shirt clean, and well, as a candidate, Zasheir can't walk around in stained clothing, right? Laughing as Siobhan walks off to deal with her large blue baby, the beastcrafter-candidate will make an escape back towards the barracks to change his shirt, and hopefully return to try his hand at those games.

Hugs are returned, kisses leaned into, but none of them are enough to keep Risali still - mostly because she has to move. Ibsy squeezes her own doll tight, pointing to it, to D'lei, to Sephany and Heribly and Selene. There's a lot of gusto in words that only make sense every second one in: "Dwagon," and, "Boo-lack," (that's black), and, "Day-yay," (D'lei). YOU GET THE POINT. And yes, Heribly presses a cheek to Sephany's and stills, fingers in her hair, ON HER HAT, around her stuffy as she SMILES TOO BIG and watches the bustle of life around her. Which means that Risali is left to poke a dimple and lean in shoulder-to-shoulder with a little nudge for the Journeyman. She's just about to say something when - RICKI! A little look of surprise, and then a stifle of a laugh as Risali breathes out, "Good luck, Nikolan. You are going to need it." Grey eyes flicker to Ricki once more and, "Well, bye then!" Because NO LOVER QUARRELS FOR HER. She just FLEES like the coward she probably is right over to Kera, whose arm she hooks with her own so that she can look at the food. "What's good?" she breathes, looking out over kabobs and delicious looking things.

"Oh, well… alright then," which more or less means nothing, and is Sephany's response to D'lei's explanation of knowing the camera-wielding candidate. Who has immortalized her forever with hat, and baby, and probably a ridiculous expression. Welp. YOLO right? So there's a flash of teeth and a wide grin his direction, whether or not that camera is flashing away. A little bounce-bounce of Heribly on her hip, and then cuddles, that turn the motion into less 'bounce' and more 'rock' in response. "I think we should go get food, hm?" asked of the toddler, when a crane of neck and duck of chin allows grey eyes to at least catch part of her in view. "I passed by a few stalls that smelled just amazing and I'm dying to taste whatever-it-is they're making," which is code for she's still hungry, and invitation for D'lei-and-toddler-wing to join. Which is turned into an actual invitation a moment later with a, "do you want to come alone? There are some game booths too…" even if the toddlers already have a prize of their own and probably do not need any more of them.

Kera nods to the greeting and introduction from Siobhan and smiles "I'm Kera. Moncerath's Healer turned green AWLM." When the woman declines, Kera isn't bothered "Perhaps another time then." She waves to the departing rider and focuses completely on the food she has in each hand. So she's caught by surprise when someone slings their arm through hers. Peering up, then down to the Risali, she was clearly expecting someone else "Afternoon Weyrwoman. Enjoying the festivities?" The mention of food has her quickly offering over one of the kabobs "This looks tasty. I think I may have to sample everything here though. For quality control purposes you know." Kera flashes a cheeky grin at that.

Food? Small ears have heard that word, and they know just what it means. "CANEE?" one toddler asks, and eyes light up as little faces turn on Sephany. "CAE!" another declares, because this is clearly a party and if they have learned anything from watching their nursery playmates have turndays, it is that they get sweets. D'lei laughs, patting the heads of the two little sugar-sharks still on the ground, and nods. "That does sound lovely," he says, using all his big adult words. "Come on, then." Onwards! To follow Sephany and Heribly. "Let's see what sort of tasty things we can find." Answer: ALL OF THEM. But if there weren't hard choices of what to eat first, it wouldn't be a proper gather.

Risali grabs that kabob with a wide smile and a breathed word of thanks before she bites down on the top most piece and tuuuuuugs it free of stick. A soft sound of indulgent delight offered on a hum of sound that dies as Risali tilts her head into Kera's shoulder and exhales. "Just Risali, Kera. Otherwise I'm going to run around calling you Assistant Weyrlingmaster Kera, and that's a mouthful." A beat, and then a hint of mischievousness. "But let's do it. Let's try everything." AND SHE'S PULLING HER AWAY, towards D'lei, and Sephany, and the Toddler Wing because food and she needs it stat.

"Hu - okay," Nikolan splutters, taken aback by the weyrwoman's words, turning to follow her flight and coming face to face with a stealthier-than-D'lei Ricki. "What were you doing back there?" he asks the other Candidate suspiciously - just before he raises his camera and snaps a picture of her face. It's habit. Lowering the box again, he studies her face, then his gaze tracks up and past, following in the goldrider's wake. "What was all that about?"
"Trying to avoid-" And then the camera is lifted and a picture of Ricki is taken, complete with open mouth, as she is mid-sentence. "That." She finishes her thought, shaking her head slightly. "I think you are zero for… I don't even know how many." She mutters, and then as he turns to stare past her in the direction Risali left, she just shrugs a little. "Not at clue.. I think just.. Risali." Even Ricki has learned that one. "Anything good happen so far?"

After the winter weather of Igen — not to mention the cold of between — Xanadu's warmth takes a bit to adjust to. Z'ki walks over towards the meadow, taking his time as he carefully and merticulously rolls up the sleeves of his shirt, with a crisp neatness usually not seen outside of the guards. The Igenite bronzerider shades his eyes, taking note of both familiar and unfamiliar faces as he joins the fringes of the gather-in-progress.

Delighted laughter spills from the weaver at the look of such eager anticipation on little faces. "I'm sure we could find candy, and cookies, and cakes…" Sephany offers, all too happy to sugar-up and set-free the trio of toddlers. "And bubblies, which were delicious," because she already had one. She hikes Heribly higher on her hip, the other hand going to tug down that hat before it flies away, and then she's turning to head for the stalls under the assumption that D'lei-and-Co are following along. "But I was thinking more along the lines of brisket, or kabobs, or even those little flat-bread-wrapped-thingies," that might be gyros or tacos or whatever the Pernese equivalent of those things would be. A wry look for the Kera-dragging Risali, and she can't help but ask, "Weren't you going to go mingle and play 'weyrwoman'?" because saying hi to one other person does not count. Grin. And into the depths of vendor-stalls they go! Presumably. At least SEPHANY (and Heribly) are going into the depths, sliding through the throng of people with an tranquil grace and practiced ease. "Hold on to my hat," offered to Heri with a little squeeze of her arm, because why not give toddlers important tasks like ensuring sun-protection doesn't abandon her head?

Kera chuckles to the goldrider and nods as she's told once more to call the woman by name "Fair enough. But you will have only yourself to blame when candidates and weyrlings start calling you by name thanks to /my/ bad example." A couple of bites from her snack, before Risali agrees they should try everything. But before she can order them something else, that tiny little spitfire has dragging Kera away from the food stall, heading right for another food stall somewhere behind that army of littles. Oh, and D'lei and Sephany, and probably quite a few more people. "Hi everyone."

Sephany is the fearless leader! Heribly is the trusted lieutenant who keeps the hat held (and flop-wiggled, but hey) with the grip of tiny hands. D'lei? He's the herding canine, preventing his little charges from getting lost as they follow along in a happy bubble of "Wan' da'!" as the sights and smells tempt children who… well, let's be honest, they're young enough that when they eat dirt it is not necessarily accidental. So, they're not exactly the high challenge mode in terms of having their stomachs tempted, and right now they are too intent on wanting all the things to actually settle on just one. "Why don't we have some savories first," D'lei suggests, because he can be the reasonable one. Can the toddlers also be reasonable? MAYBE. "And then we'll have dessert after." Part of being reasonable is not trying to keep toddlers from sweets on a special occasion. "You could share a kabob," he says, and then oh hey. "Look who we found," he says, and Ibysglei and Selene break from the group to run forward together. Ibsy wraps herself in a hug around Risali's leg - at full tilt, of course, who dis what brakes, while Selene hugs Kera's leg while showing her the "Kiki!" that …. Kera just gave her a few moments ago. But see? She has it and she knows what it is! Beam.

Just Risali being Risali. "I HEARD THAT!" gets called over the crowd, those grey eye seeking Nikolan and Ricki both, though there's a wide smile on her lips - the kind that says she's not at all put off and perhaps is more than amused by the assessment. Mostly because It's Not Wrong. And then she's rolling her eyes to Sephany, dropping her voice as she hisses out, "Whose side are you on?" TRAITOR. But Heribly does as bid, taking the hat only to tell Sephany about eighty times that it's a hat. But then Risa's chancing a glance backwards and there's A BIG SMILE and a whole bucket of MISCHIEF in that expression as she lets go of Kera with a breathed, "I want them to. Don't wait for me. I will meet you there." WHIRLWIND RISA. She ducks to pick up Ibsy, to catch D'lei around his middle even as he walks and she sets Ibsy onto the ground (NOW SHE ON YOUR LEG DASH), going up on the tips of bare toes so that she can press a kiss against D'lei's cheek, and then she's using both hands to hike up the hem of her dress and taking off in a RUN. WATCH OUT, Z'KI! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! Or maybe not, because she runs right past him. … Nope, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. Because she's doubling back from behind, and TAKING A JUMP, and WAH-BAM. ONTO Z'KI'S BACK SHE GOES. "Xanadu's greetings, Igenite bronzerider. We hope you and yours fare well." And then she's shifting, clinging to not fall if he's not supporting her in her TERRIBLE IDEAS as that kabob becomes a lance that she points spread-of-tables-wards. "TO THE KABOBS, SIR!" It's a battle cry. WATCH OUT. GET YOUR OWN KABOB STICKS. Because if Z'ki actually lets her get away with it, she absolutely will playfully fight everybody between them and delicious noms with her stick. Also, did we forget Leirith? « MAKE IT A CONTEST. EVERYBODY TO ARMS! AHAHAHAHA. » Bet you wish you couldn't her.

To be fair, smart Candidates already call Risali by her name, because otherwise she threatens to kick them out of other people's beds, and that would just be a TRAVESTY. Absently advancing the film, Niko frowns down at Ricki. "Zero for what? Good pictures of you? So you say." HOPEFULLY he only means that they have different definitions of a good picture. Ahem. "Uh, some rider smacked into Zasheir and he got stuff all over his shirt. Ran off to change a while ago - hope he comes back. Risali posed for me," he adds, smirking. "It's an excellent shot, I think I'll do a nice layout for a travel brochure for the Weyr and use it front and center." Some people just love thin ice. Then there's Niko. He doesn't bother with ice, or skates - he just dives in head first and drowns.

At least Ricki has the sense to blush slightly at Risali's called words, shifting a bit and trying to not slouch away in embarrassment. "So I say." She agrees, making a face. "How many do you have left? I want to see when you develop the new face of the Weyr." A glance back up, and then she is moving to use Niko as nothing other than a human screen while Risali goes flying by. "Good thing grandma isn't here." Goldrider dignity and all that. Leaning slightly, she watches the progress of the Crazy One (tm) in particular, eyes never leaving the visitor and his potential cargo while she asks. "Have you, uh, eaten yet?"

Go figure, Z'ki does the sedate-by-miles-comparison lift of hand to greet Risali, along with his typical, "Good afternoon, ma'am," in his blandly deliberate way. It's somewhat (more than somewhat) ruined by the fact that Risali runs past him, which makes him turn, baffled, to stare at her, then back towards the group of people she came from, as if they might have some clue what's going on. That does, admittedly, leave his back open for a moment, and Risali jumps on it, like he's some sort of beast of burden. His choked, "What are you—" is quickly replaced by a noise of surprise as he half catches her (one leg — the other left to flail about) — trying to twist his head to stare sternly at her. The stubborn beast is not moving. His, "Ma'am," sounds like a scold.

Kera is suddenly dragging a leg behind her, because Selene seems to have latched herself to the AWLM. "Oh my. That is an adorable little 'kitty'." she grins down to the girl." What's it's name?" Then Risali is running full speed off somewhere else and Kera has all the food to herself, for the moment. So she orders enough to keep herself distracted. Every so often, she peers among the crowd as if looking for someone. She watches the antics of the chaotic Risabeasty for a while before she slips into the crowd, hunting out something to drink.

Sephany just beams an all-too innocent smile Risa-wards. "Yours, of course," but that doesn't stop her from being the logical adult in this group, encourager of grown-up things like diplomatically greeting the visitors. But alas, so much for that. Risa is off to attack visiting Igen bronzeriders (because that is totally how the whole political-thing works, right? Yeah…) and Sephany is off to try and acquire delicious food for self-and-toddler. Which… doesn't seem to be happening any time soon. Poor Z'ki; she'd try to warn him if she had a free hand to do so, because Sephany totally sees what's coming, and there's even a wince when Risali makes her leap. A call to charge from Risa. A call to arms from Leirith (that Seph totally doesn't hear because HAHAHAH SHE CAN'T HEAR YOU LEIRITH!), and the weaver is just casually turning back to her group. "Welcome back," to Kera, who now has a lovely leg-clinging accessory. "Have you tried those little flat-bread thingies? Are they good?" D'lei is getting side-eyes which have a serious note of assessment in them… as if he is about thirty-seconds away from getting an armload of toddler because "Shells you're getting heavy," is being murmured in a sing-song voice complete with smiley face to the utterly adorable hat-holding Heribly.

Noooo! D'lei's attempt to direct the children to a more interesting target fails, because Risali whirlwinds it right back onto him! Not that he seems too hugely upset, not if you're going to judge it from his laugh, and the way he kisses Risali back. "Hold on tight!" he tells Ibby, and then… he just keeps right on walking! Swiiing-thump. Swiiiiing-thump he goes, with nice wide motions of his leg that carries a giggly Ibsyglei right along with him. He's just gonna keep on walking with her, yup! NO DAUNTS. MANY GIGGLES. Once he catches up to Kera - who has been thoroughly (if not very comprehensibly) explained to about the kikikitty - he grins to her, and - when she's ready to get that drink - re-collects Selene with the reminder of, "Food time." …and, probably at Ibysglei's instigation, she is grasping onto D'lei's other leg, because who needs a sack race when you could have a toddler race! D'lei thump-thumps along after Sephany, and at this rate they'll probably get food sometime in the middle of next week. Long after Sephany's arms have fallen off! So yes, D'lei does hear, and he glances down at the pair on his legs before he grins. "Okay, kids. Time to walk." THEY ALL GOT FEET. "You too, Heri." ALSO HAS FEET. ALSO CAN WALK. "Are we getting a kabob with chicken or herdbeast?" GROUP DECISION MAKING TI- haha yeah right, he's just going to end up ordering two of each, attempting to get any given child to eat more than three bites, then having the rest for himself. BUT HE CAN PRETEND.

Risali doesn't have shame. Or dignity. They left with her propriety and took every single bit of virtue with them as they went right on out the door. So while Z'ki might refuse to move and scold her in tones providing a word she knows that he knows that she hates, Risali throws her head back and almost loses her crown to laugh. "Sir," she answers, laughter in her tone, breathless and wild, that smile unrepentant because have you met Risali? "Okay, okay, this hurts more than I expected," finally comes, a press of lips to Z'ki's cheek preceding a shift as she aims to get down (because she recently had a baby and things need time to heal and she might have torn a stitch or five, but she's just not going to think about it). WORTH IT. "Come on, sir. If you won't carry me into battle, I will carry myself. I don't think that you've met my weyrmate, D'lei, or Selene, or my sisters — and Sephany will probably want to say hi to you." So on the ground she goes, BECAUSE SHE AIN'T NEED NO MAN, Risali leaning to shoulderbump Z'ki before she takes off at a considerably more sedate pace. She gives a fingerwaggle to Nikolan and Ricki as she moves past them, whether Z'ki is following or not, and then turns her attention onto that kabob while she plays catch-up. TERRIBLE IDEA: FOILED. Unless you ask Leirith, who is somewhere laughing and probably dreaming up ways for Risali to initiate a kabob fight — after little children are fed, of course.

"You fret too much," Nikolan observes, checking the window that displays how many shots are left. "Enough for you to get a couple in." Tugging the neck strap over his head, he hesitates, staring down at the battered, beloved camera in his hands before offering it towards his fellow Candidate. "Just look for where the most commotion is - that's where you're most like to find the best shots. Like there," and he jerks a thumb towards Z'kali. "That one would be great for the section detailing inter-weyr relations and the effectiveness of our diplomacy wing." Really, it's only the dimple that gives it away. That, and the wicked, daring twinkle in his blue-gray eyes. "Take a few, then we can find a bite or five to eat."

To say Ricki's eyes get wide would be an understatement, and she stares at Nikolan with a look of shock, mouth hanging open as she hides her hands behind her back. "Are.. you sure?" And she looks back at Niko, hesitantly taking the camera, the absolute first thing she does being to loop the strap around her neck. A glance is given in Risali and Z'ki's direction, and the camera is hesitantly lifted before she is just too late, and she frowns a little. "I don't know how you think quick enough to react, *and* take a photograph, and not just sit there, staring." Because that is about all Ricki can do. The camera is cradled carefully, respectfully, and she is basically rooted in place, glancing around her to try and spot a worthy subject… Time for that kabob fight, Risali.

Z'ki doesn't have much opportunity to process the reactions of others — but he is all too aware many people are looking. So awkward. "I don't much think you need any assistance doing battle, ma'am," the Igenite responds with especial gravity, though there's a definite twitch of lips and glitter of gaze as his says it — his stern expression perhaps somewhat less so, especially now Risali's given up her idea of jousting with him as a steed. He lengthens his stride to match the goldriders, saying, "I'd love to meet them. You're looking well, too, ma'am. Ji's gone to look at the eggs, so I hear." Though, shhh, he might be being quiet, because Leirith. When Risali wiggles a finger at the pair of candidates, that draws Z'ki's interest in an assertive way, gaze flickering over them with a nod, though since Risali doesn't stop, he doesn't either.

So very true; Heribly has feet, and is perfectly capable of walking. But she's doing that adorable cheek-to-shoulder thing that is just heart-melting, really. And would totally result in Sephany carrying her around like a dead-weight if the weaver's arms didn't feel like they were about to fall off of her. So down she goes, mildly-pouty protest. One tiny hand is taken in the weaver's comparatively larger one, and they are good to go. "Alright, kabobs," which means they have at least made ONE decision today! Progress! To D'lei is asked, "How about you get one of each, and I will get one of each, and they can have a bite of each, and we can have the rest," which… should work out. She's got a hand on Heri, and a hand on her hat, and one of those things is going to need to be released for the acquisition of marks (which… who the heck even knows where she's keeping them in that dress), and since she's not going to release the toddler, the hat gets the short-straw. (and apparently, the answer to the previous question was 'a pocket hidden in ruffles' because that is where her hand goes). "Here," and she slaps down something approximately what is owed for two kabob sticks, which she is handed promptly in return. "Heribly, do you want chicken or beef?" A choice!

Sometimes, D'lei has to be the bad guy for the good of everyone. Which, in the case of Sephany and Heribly, means calling off that cuddle-and-ride while the one of them still has arms and the other one hasn't bonked her head after wearing those arms out. D'lei looks up to Sephany at the suggestion, then over their small charges with a heh. "Worth a try," he says. As he does for many things, really! "Wa' da'?" is asked of him by a toddler, to which he answers, "Food… on a stick!" with a wide grin before - right, his turn to pay for the pair of kebabs the that the booth-tender is already holding. Someone was listening on on private conversations! …buuuuut in a rather helpful way, so D'lei just grins as he pays and then takes the sticks, offering one to each girl he's got. "Try a bite," he instructs. EAT FOOD. You like food, right? (Please let this be one of the days where they remember that they like food.) They are, at least, interested by the sticks, so that's a start. Heribly peers at the two options offered. HARD CHOICE. Mouth opens, mouth closes. Hand moves up toward them, then down again. SUCH A CHOICE TO MAKE. It's like Sophie's choice, only it's Heribly's choice, and it is so hard, guys! How does anyone even make a choice like this. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE. Her face screws up at the SHEER TERROR of a choice that CAN ONLY BE MADE ONCE and will SHAPE HER DESTINY. …or, y'know, because she's two years old, sometimes the world is overwhelming, and she hasn't exactly developed robust coping strategies just yet.

Someone mentioned a party? The sarong dress the dolphineer wears does prove once and for all that she does own something other than a wetsuit. Hovering near the back, Tanit scan's the cround for familiar faces.

Risali bites down on her bottom lip to cut the smile that finds her lips in half, grey eyes going towards Z'ki because you're dang right she doesn't need any assistance - but IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FUN, OKAY. "As do you." A beat, and a laugh. "And Faranth help him. I'm pretty sure Garouth is tired of Leirith inviting every human and dragon down to look at her babies." But there's a fondness in her tone, a kind of endless pride as she leads the way back to D'lei and Sephany and Toddler Wing where IMPORTANT DECISIONS ARE MADE. Heribly can't possibly be asked to make a choice, HOW DARE. And so what does she do? Well, after looking as if the world was closing in and a meltdown was imminent, she says, "Wan dis one?" and holds out her hands for both. TAKE THAT. STICK IT TO THE MAN SO GOOD. Risa shifts back to place one hand on D'lei's lower back, a smile as she turns to see Z'ki as well and introduce him without interrupting toddler feedings too much. "This is D'lei, the one crazy enough to weyrmate me." A beat, a scrunch of her nose and, "Well, one of the men crazy enough, anyway." And she sinks. "This beautiful girl is Selene." A tuck of hair behind an ear, the kind of EYES only a mother can make at their child. "And these two trouble makers are my sisters: Ibsyglei and Heribly. We call them Ibsy and Heri for short, and don't ask about the names." Playful, of course, but TRUDE. A shoulder bump for Seph, and then she's looking to Niko and Ricki, making COME HITHER FINGERS because food. Annd also: "TANIT!" Now she's doing little jumps (ow, oooowww ow ow) and waving her arms RIDICULOUSLY, making her little crown of flowers go all askew.

Jaelynn is late to the party, but hey here she is none the less! The Dragonhealer yawn slightly and tucks a bit of hair behind a ear while she glances over the area awith a soft oh escaping her. "So many people…" Is murmured a bit, now normally she doesn't feel out of place, she tends to not pay attention to EVERYONE, but right now it's like HEY so many. She wanders on, having gotten a fruity none boozy drnk at some point she takes a sip from it, her right hand sports a bit of a bandage from a incident the night befor emaking these lovely stalls you all see here. Hammers like her it seems.

"Don't think. React." Nikolan gazes mournfully after gold- and bronzerider, heartbroken over the loss of PRIME ADVERTISING MATERIAL. "You'll take bad pictures. You'll take pictures that make you wonder what on Pern you were thinking - the answer is, you weren't. Landscapes and scenery shots give you the luxury of time with which to set the scene and take the shot - for the most part," he corrects himself, with a reminiscent grin, "but candids? Snap first, look later." He reaches out as if to grasp her shoulders and turn her in D'lei's direction - provided she doesn't dodge him. "Like - there. Lift. Sight. Shoot. Lift. Sight. Shoot." It's a mantra. Learn it. "Families. Children. Food fights. Dragons. Riders riding riders. If it catches your attention, then it's worth pushing the button. Film's cheap - ish.., but a good candid is priceless." Or, at least, several marks, depending on how much Niko can squeeze out of the buyer. Risali's gesturing fingers earn a 'one moment' flash of his, and he peers down at Ricki. "Finish off that roll," all four shots left, "and we'll go eat." So shoot fast - he's hungry and the poor kabob vendor is being swarmed.

Welp. Shame on Sephany for offering choices to children. At least there is endless patience with all of that frantic hemming and hawing that results in a demand for both. "Alright," because Seph is not the parent, so she can SPOIL THEM ROTTEN and cackle all the way back home while the actual parents deal with those consequences. "I'll hold it, and you take a bite," because like heck is she going ot give the toddler a weapon, let alone two of them. For SHAME D'lei. You just gave babies STICKS that were previously modeled by Risali as weapons. Totally getting a side-eye from the weaver for that one. "Chicken first," and the aforementioned chicken-kabob is held at such an angle that little mouths (or fingers) can easily get that first bite. And Seph will just help herself to a bite of the other one. Quality assurance style. A glance up at the return of Risa and, "Z'ki!" because yes, she saw him just before he became an unwilling war-horse for the weyrwoman, but that was too far for greetings to be offered. "Welcome to the madness," aka the Gather. Once Heribly is happily chewing-away at her first bite, Seph stands and stretches, catching that shoulder-bump from Risali and offering a dry smile in response. "How is Jizunoth?" obviously for the visiting Igenite, before grey eyes flash towards Niko, Ricki, and that camera that is still being wielded and pointed in their direction. Yay, more pictures.

"It's perhaps fortune then, that Ji's inclined to keep his distance." Even if he's ever so fascinated; Z'ki's tone holds that hint of fondness that most dragonriders can't help but to display in their voices whenever they talk about their dragons. The Igenite's guard flickers over the group as he's introduced, not quite able (or unwilling) to mute the sharply assessing gaze that is habit. "Igen duties to Xanadu and her queens. A pleasure to meet you all," he gives a nod towards D'lei, offering a hand to him, "Congratulations on a fine looking clutch." And a familiar, warm smile to Sephany, "Hey, Seph. He's doing great — settled up on the hatching ledges and enjoying the warmth. Are you all settled in?" And then he's crouching, to greet each of the children with equal gravity, speaking their names and offering his own in turn.

"If you say so.." Ricki murmurs, even as she is turned in the direction of D'lei, Z'ki, Risali, and the various small children, eyes flick over the gathered group and she hesitates for only a moment before she is lifting the camera, looking through to spot the group, and then, holding her breath - a photo is snapped as Z'ki is introduced to Risali's herd (and weyrmate). "But what if something good happens as soon as the last one is done?" That question isn't enough to deter her from swiveling, spotting Risali through the viewfinder, and snapping one of the arm-waving, ridiculous looking weyrwoman - motion blur is artsy, right? And then, it seems Sephany is next, as she spoils the small children with kabobs. With one exposure left, she is slowly shifting the camera, still holding it tightly as she peers to see what is outside of the viewfinder.

Ah, a clean shirt found to replace the stained one, Zasheir returns to the gather once again. Pausing along the edge of the crowd that's gathered, he takes a moment to skim over those in attendance before finally deciding to head back towards the games to try his luck. His path will take him near the group, a respectful nod of his curl-topped head given to the riders though he pauses long enough to give the slightest of bows to the woman in purple, "Weyrwoman."

"It's grilled chicken," D'lei informs a dubious-looking Selene. "You'll probably like it." Unless she decides to go against all available evidence to this point, which… hey, she's a toddler; it's a very real possibility. But, perhaps encouraged by her cousin biting down on hers (which is beef, not chicken, but look, she's a toddler) Selene tries her kebab and… mm, big bite. Chicken is food! And - she just remembered this part - she likes food! SO, YAY. And - gasp, an introduction. To another adult! Which is why D'lei makes a great first impression, rising from being bent to toddler level with greasy kebab-fingers… but at least a grin. "Hey!" he says to Z'ki, then hehs. "I'm the one who was crazy enough to do it after I saw what happened to the first one," he clarifies. And then glances back to babies to make sure nobody's poked an eye out yet due to his CLEARLY IRRESPONSIBLE PARENTING that he has not yet lived to regret in such a way that he's actually learned better for it. Maybe this time he will learn from Sephany's stern looks, but…. eh, probably not! "Hands are a bit of a mess," he says to Z'ki's offered one, with a flash of chicken-greased digits and a grin. "Consider it done in spirit." Yeah. Definitely a real imaginary thing, that. "But, thank you. I'm sure Xanadu also wishes fine things for Igen." He smiles brightly, though it's a more practiced look than Selene's. "Huhmu," she says in reply, to which D'lei - albeit with a fond smile - contributes, "Mouth shut while you eat." She too has many things to learn about how to be a responsible and polite member of society, and unlike D'lei she occasionally actually listens and learns a new one.

Ibsy is about this life, ya'll. WHO NEEDS FOOD? NOT HER. (Okay, she totally needs food; watch her nom), but as soon as Z'ki is down on her level, there's too many snaggled teeth in the smile that comes, and a giddy, "Hi baby!" as she reaches out with tiny hands to put it on Z'ki's cheek and gently patpatpat. CUE THE BABBLE. Whatever she's telling Z'ki, it's deep and serious stuff. And she just keeps going, waving around kebobs to emphasize what are probably points. Are you trying to look at D'lei? DON'T LOOK AT D'LEI, LOOK AT HER. SEPHANY IS NOT IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW EITHER. And yes, she does keep grabbing his face back to her. LISTEN. IMPORTANT THINGS. Risali watches with too much gross fond stuff in her eyes, nodding to Nikolan, grey eyes lingering on Ricki behind the lens for a moment before Jaelynn snags her attention. A wave for the dragonhealer, lips parting to form words except HERE IS ZAHEIR, Ruiner of Greetings With Titles Extraordinaire. Yes, the tiny woman assesses him for a moment, chin lifting in a show of defiance, or challenge, or both before she sighs. "It's Risali, not Weyrwoman. Stay there a moment while I think up a suitable punishment for you." RUN! It will probably be steed duty while she convinces D'lei to take up arms against her. She does take a bit out of that kabob thoughtfully though, eyes on D'lei totally not checking him out (she is) while she chews. "He likes it," she tells him belatedly. She's talking about K'vir, of course.

Food? Check. Drink? Double Check. A familiar blonde is spotted and Tanit weaves her way through the crowd and Tanit begins the precarious process of making her way in the direction of D'eli and Sephany. Unfortunately neither drink nor plate make it with her, as the heeled sandals catch awkwardly in the space and send both drink and food flying into people. "I am so sorry." Green eyes wide and cheeks flushed. Awkwardly she tries pressing napkins to the stained portions of clothing, managing only to make the mess worse.

"If you wait for the perfect shot, you'll get frostbite," Nikolan murmurs, his attention more on his fellow Candidate - or perhaps on his camera - than on the scenes she's in the middle of photographing. "You can't let yourself worry about what-if and maybe, Ricki," comes the patient reply. "There's always going to be a better shot, or a perfect moment, when you don't have your camera handy. You learn to mourn them and move on." Sounds like that's his philosophy about a lot of things. "If you keep waiting, life will pass you by and you'll never capture a single moment." Easily peering over her head - he surveys the kabob-filled chaos, the corners of his eyes crinkling as he grins at the antics of the children. "Snap, snap, snap, darling," he drawls, suiting action to the words with three clicks of forefinger against thumb. "I'm hungry, and those riders are going to eat us out of Weyr and kabobs."

"Its -Xanadu-, Niko.." Ricki murmurs back at him as he mentions frostbite, rolling her eyes at him. As he explains his views on the whole matter, she pauses, before she is laughing super softly to herself, and as he surveys the scene she takes a step away from him, swiveling and using the last shot - to take a photo of Nikolan. Revenge. "There, done.." She counters as he complains about being hungry, stepping back to duck her head, holding the camera up to him and making it easy for him to grab it by the strap. Of course, its then that Tanit is running into someone with her drink, and perhaps her silly last shot is regretted - for just a moment.

Thankfully for all involved, at least one of those weapon-bearing children is captivated by the visiting bronzerider, which means they only need fear Selene and her javelin, should she choose to wield it. In which case, D'lei will be expected to throw himself forward as a human shield. Or something. Sephany, at least, is happily maintaining her command of both kabob sticks, chewing on the beef one while eyeballing Heribly with her piece of chicken, if just to ensure there is no unfortunate choking. "They are quite nice," offered to Z'ki in regards to the eggs, at mention of his bronze perched on the ledge to view them. "Have you been by to view them, or did you come straight here?" To the gather, she means. Little glances, stolen away from the group of adults and cast towards toddlers, and then, "Tanit!" which is delighted surprise before, "oh!" which is wincing regret for the stumbling. "Oh, that's unfortunate," and then some. "Are you alright?"

Z'ki doesn't much seem bothered by D'lei's dirty hands, but when the other bronzerider begs off, he gives an easy shift of shoulders as if to indicate there's no hard feelings. His brows do go upwards a bit at the mention of 'last time', his glance towards Risali questioning. Clearly he's not up with the gossip, although he's far too polite to inquire in public company. "Well, that's… uh, good," he settles for neutral, friendly response. "So, what's the food like?" he adds, glancing towards Selene as if to make the question as much for the girl as D'lei. And then a baby is patting his cheek, and let's face it, it's super cute, and even stern guards can't help but smile at it. "Hey, you. What a cutie." A sidelong glance (it'll probably earn another grab-hands from Ibsy, but he risks it), as he offers blandly to Zasheir, "She much prefers ma'am," he tells her, all too solemnly. He will spread it far and wide, just you watch! "Straight here," he answers Sephany. "I figured I'd grab something to eat and then head down later — assuming I can find it," is added, wryly. Tanit's awkward encounter earns a wince of sympathy, too.

Selene will be a powerful knight, questing for justice with the aid of her kebab-spear! …or, maybe she'll just eat it. Though, it could be that it gets eaten on the way to unlocking its destiny as a powerful lance against the darkness. Who knows? For now, she giggles and drops bits of chicken and eats, in about that proportion, as she watches Ibsy with Z'ki and unintentional food fights out in the crowd. D'lei's eyebrows arch slightly at the ever-so-polite reply from Z'ki, and then - at the followup and attempted conversational change - his face shifts into a polite smile. "Oh, it's very foodlike," he assures. "It's got nutrients and flavors. Real high end." There's a grin to follow it. Selene? Well, apparently the most helpful thing she has to say is, "Chin soo!" At least the toddler seems happy about it, whatever it is? D'lei is no help this time, distracted by glancing over to make sure that Heri is Getting Food, and ten… he grins, with a duck and shake of his head, at the calling of Risali things of which She Does Not Approve before his grin returns for her comment to him - though his tone is matter-of-fact. "Of course he does."

Tanit is busy trying to fix the mess (and invariably only making more of a mess. D'lei's greeting is met with a bug eyed look, before she is waived off and the person wearing her food and drink goes to clean up. Leaving the dolphineer to try to slink off like nothing embarrassing just happened. "Fine. Just bruised my dignity I think but there wasn't much of that to start with." A more genuine smile emerging now. "Supreme overlord." Tanit chimes in suggesting new titles for the Xanadian Junior. Ibsy gets a huge grin and finger waggle of greeting and the guard getting baby face palms all up in his face gets these too if only by extension. "You know, eventually I'm going to stick name tags on all the kids so I can remember who belongs to who
Jaelynn catches sight of a greetingish bit from Risali and offers a smile and wave back to her. "Hey!" Is heard before there is a pause as someone has her attention and she ohs a bit while moving off to the side it seems. OH wel she'll be over thre for a few moments it eems..

"I will feed you to my dragon," Risali threatens on DRY TONES for Z'ki, humor quirking the corner of her lips even as she watches Tanit create the second, and third, and maybe even fourth food casualties of the night. And then she loses all sympathy because, "I hate you, and I sincerely hope that you stub your toe," comes for Tanit. HOW DARE. ALSO RUDE. And yeah, Ibsy hands so DO NOT APPROVE of you looking away, Z'ki. She grabs him back, PEERS INTO HIS SOUL with her tiny toddler eyes, and then smiles as she pats him again and LETS GO. WHAT ARE KABOBS? She's handing hers to Risali with, "Take it!" which just means Heribly does the same. Risa takes them (and Selenes too, if it becomes a trend) all before she leans into D'lei with a kiss to his jaw. "You do too," she informs him, as she pushes abandoned kabob sticks into his hands. "Hold my kabobs, baby." And then she's sinking back to the level of little girls with a cheerful, "Who wants to dance?" THERE'S A CHORUS OF EXCITEMENT, one that Risa mimics with clapping hands and then reaching out to take hands in her own, instructing little ones to hold each other's hands if all three decide to come. And towards that wooden stage Risali leads them, ABANDONING THE REST TO DISCUSS HER DESERVED AND LIKED TITLES so that she can form a little circle (and maybe look a little in pain but SHE TOUGH, FIGHT HER) with everybody linked by hands, and move in a slow circle as the girls JUMP and toss their heads with wild abandon. LOOK AT ALL THIS FUN.

Sephany has at least a reasonably adult-answer for Z'ki's question about food. "It's amazing," she tells him, flashing D'lei a glance and a roll of her eyes for his contribution of 'foodlike' and 'nutrients and flavors'. "I've only had the kabob's and a bubbly, but so far everything has been wonderful. There are these little flatbread, folded-over things that I am dying to try," but have not had a chance to do so because… toddlers. "Would you mind grabbing me one. IF," and there is strong emphasis on that word, "you end up going that way? I can pay you back," once she has a free hand, because. Again. Toddlers. Toddlers that do not belong to her, but have somehow adopted her as a pseudo aunt-like person. "Ready for beef?" asked of Heribly, who has either finished or discarded her chicken and is, indeed, ready for the other option. It's offered with a tip of her stick, where tiny teeth bite down and Sephany watches to ensure nothing horrible happens as a result. As for Tanit, well, there's a SECOND greeting for her in the form of, "terrible luck," once the dolphineer comes closer. "But you're not the only one… and at least your dress was spared? There was a candidate going that way," and she juts with her chin toward the Weyr proper, "with this horrible smear down the front of his shirt and… oh, it was terrible," because she is a weaver, and clothes are her LIFE, so ruined clothes are a tragedy right up there with ruined books. "Probably a good idea," for the name-tags.

"Right, literal. Gotcha. Fine, sunburn, then," Niko replies, barely managing to check his outright grin into something a little less insulting - even if his gray-shot eyes are laughing up a storm. As she snaps a picture of him, he doesn't bother reining in his amusement any further, and his belly-deep laughter thunders forth. "Nice one," he compliments, as he takes the camera and begins winding the film, gently nudging his hip against hers to start her moving towards the crowd and kabobs. Hearing Risali's threat for Zasheir, he casts a sympathetic glance towards his fellow Candidate. "If she takes away your bed, you can borrow mine. I never use it." An innocent smile is sent weyrwoman-wards, complete with fluttering eyelashes, as he finishes winding the film and deftly pops open the back, replacing the used roll with a fresh. Strap is plunked back securely around his neck and the precious eviden- er- film is tucked in one pocket or another. "Ah, here. Beef or chicken?" he asks of his companion, glancing to see if Ricki followed him to the fooooooood.

Relieved of the camera, Ricki seems to visibly relax - probably something to do with not carrying around her fellow candidate's most precious, prized possession any longer. As she is nudged, she makes a face at him before ambling along towards the group, and the food, at Niko's side, though there is a slight frown and a sideways glance at Niko as he makes the offer to Zasheir. But then, she is shaking her head and glancing at the toddlers and the remnants of the kabobs. "Uh, Chicken, I think…" Though it doesn't seem as if the children had taken issue with either of them. An arm is absently folded across her middle as she waits, taking a moment to watch the various interactions - without a camera in the way.

"That's a ringing endorsement if I've ever heard one," Z'ki observes with a wry grin to D'lei, chuckling at Selene's response. In between patty-cake (with his face), and grins towards Ibsy as she pulls his attention back towards her, the bronzerider nods towards Tanit. "Igen's duties," he echoes his sentiment of earlier for the newer arrival. "Can't feed me to your dragon while your kid is busy playing with my face," he answers Risali easily, unconcerned by the threat. Probably because he almost certainly doesn't see it as one. Only when the goldrider captures the girls' attention and drags them away to dance does he straighten, stretching his back briefly before grinning to Sephany. "Now that sounds more like it," he says. "Flatbread; no problem. I think I've got this one," he adds, waving off the weaver's offer to pay, as he steps away to go claim food for both of them, end up into the line for food behind Nikolan and Ricki. He seems to be listening carefully, because the chicken-or-beef answer is a really important one.

D'lei is all smiles that do not see Sephany's disapproving glances, nope, not even a little! Despite looking right that way at the time. He's just 'oblivious' like that… despite having good enough ears to hear Niko's offering to Zasheir. A grin, there, and a turn of his head to Nikolan. "I expect you never use the same one twice, either." A grin, to follow that, and a lift of one hand to wave to him and Ricki alike. Heribly, for all that CHOICES WERE TERRIBLE, now… no longer cares about having a beef option, apparently. Toddlers, what can you do? …drag them off dancing, if you're Risali! D'lei at least gets a kiss and a pile of kebab skewers in exchange for having his leadership of Toddler Wing REVOKED. …yeah, not actually complaining about that one. He waves to the youngsters with his free hand and a, "Have fun!" before looking back to those still nearby. And eating one of the kebabs he's holding, because this is his food too. "Can't go wrong with food," he replies to Z'ki. "Not if you want it for eating, anyhow." So helpful, he is. So specific and detailed!

At Risa's retort, Tanit just blows a kiss with a laugh, watching the woman drag off with the little girls. Sephany get's a grin, "I'm kind of glad, to be honest. It's weird not wearing a wetsuit that covers everything head to knee." Because clothes are important to weavers. "Half Moon's and the Dolphin craft's to Igen." She may not be the best with the formal greetings but hey, A for effort?

Trouble. That would be what just appeared at the gather, trouble with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a Trader's knot on his shoulder. The only good thing is that Trouble, more commonly known as Zeltan, makes straight for the booths, weaving in and out of them, pausing here and there to glance over the offerings - food both savory and sweet, and whatever else is there, though he doesn't make any actual purchases just yet. Instead, he continues his slow, leisurely wander, admiring his surroundings - and the attendees, perhaps.

"Thank you," is offered gratefully, along with a wide smile, for Z'ki's acquiescence and subsequent acquisition of food. Or, at least he is in the process of acquiring that food. Sephany's gaze drops to Heribly, just in time to have the child head off with Risali for all sorts of dance-related shenanigans. "Teaching them early, hm?" teasingly stated, and probably meant to be for D'lei. Without toddlers to steal them, Sephany finds herself with an assortment of kabob options; one of which is offered to Tanit (the beef one, which has not been directly nibbled on by babies; that chicken one is now questionable). "I can imagine. Wearing the same thing day in and day out… I think I would get bored." So bored. "So, might as well enjoy it when you get the chance to dress up."

"That would be telling," Niko replies to D'lei in a sing-song voice as he nods to Ricki and holds up three fingers and offers a winsome smile to the kabob vendor. Exchanging marks for food, he offers one of the meat-on-a-stick delicacies to his companion, making quick work of the other two himself. Greedy guts. Sliding out of Z'ki's way, he nods amiably to the Igenite, tucking himself into the space between stalls to avoid stepping on anyone's random child. "Now," he remarks in an aside to Ricki, "I just need to find out if there's a handy darkroom around here, or if I can set one up. Otherwise, I'll have to send these," and he pats the pocket on his pants where his undeveloped rolls reside, "to my Master and risk losing out on some of the best shots."

The kabob is taken with a smile and a nod, and a murmured thank you, while Ricki makes slower work of it than her companion. As he mentions a darkroom, she tilts her head for a moment, seeming to think, before she takes another nibble on her food. Its only then that she seems to offer up her suggestion. "If you'd like, I could ask my dad, what he does. I mean.." She shrugs a little bit, before glancing at Niko sidelong. "If you don't care that I involve someone 'like them'." Despite her words, there is a light teasing tone to them, and only a *little* of the harshness that may have accompanied such a statement in the past.

"I actually like the Dive suit, it's functional and covers all the essentials." The dolphineer teases as she takes the Kebab sliding off a hunk of meat and chewing thoughtfully" Sea-green eyes survey the gathering moving from group to group until they rest on a somewhat familiar looking shape. "I'll be right back." Snaging another of the beef kebabs to take along as tribute "Hey L'to- You are not L'ton." Awkwardly holding out the kebab to the blond male. ABORT. ABORT.

Z'ki nods back to the candidate in turn, and kind of eyeballs Nikolan's camera with an obvious sort of curiosity, though doesn't interrupt. Maybe he's just actually seeing their reaction to the food — or probably because the vendor's looking at him expectantly. Z'ki, totally influenced by the decisions of the candidates that were in line in front of him, opts for chicken kebabs, and also a couple of those flatbreads, handing over coins. He's already chewing through the former as he's angling back to where Sephany, D'lei and Tanit are. Sephany is offered one of the flatbreads, while there's an awkward (at least on the Igenite's part) clearing of throat at Tanit's return greeting. "Ah, yes, Half Moon." Like he totally knew that and just forgot. "Just down here for the gather, or…?"

A voice.. a voice drawing closer.. a voice drawing closer and saying his father's name.. Zeltan turns with a wide grin as Tanit stands there, holding the kebab in his direction. "Why, thank you darlin'." And without a moment's hesitation, the offering is taken without even a moment's hesitation, and a large bite taken, the young man chewing on it, rudely then talking with his mouth full. "Oh, ya know my dad, then?" The kebab is finished off in short order (seriously, how did he do that?), and the empty skewer is waved around. "I'm Zeltan.. The younger, better version." Wink!

D'lei grins at Nikolan's refusal to sleep-and-tell. "Wouldn't want you to risk your under-covers sources." WHAT. He is a dad, he is allowed to make dad jokes sometimes. D'lei turns his attention back to Sephany, with an arch of brows and then… a laugh. "Never too young to learn how to dance," he says. "Or too old, either. Just gotta hear the music and move." A moment, and then, "Well. And either put in a lot of practice, or be okay looking terrible at it." He grins, and nibbles more kebab - toothmarks from babies and all - before the talk of the wetsuit side of clothing draws his attention. "They'd get too warm, for me," he observes. "Maybe it's a difference in design." Which he's curious about, admittedly, but it can wait until she's done pestering whoever it is she's actually pestering.

"Sure, but it's so… boring," decides Sephany of the dive suite, nose wrinkled in clear disdain for the functional clothing item. "Where's the fun?" The beef skewer is offered over willingly, weaver going for the chicken one because she apparently has no problems with eating toddler-gnawed foods. Only a bite or two in before Tanit's ducking away for accidental introductions, and Z'ki is back with flatbread. "Oh, thank you!" and that skewer of chicken is totally abandoned in favor of the new item. She's just going to absorb herself with this now, kay thanks. Talk around her or something! She'll totally listen, of course; bright eyes flashing between speakers. Perhaps with a "mmhmm" or "uhuh" as appropriate but mostly… eating.

Wandering back into the area where people can be found near food and music, Zasheir appears with a few stuffed animals in his arms. Seems the lanky candidate didn't do too badly at the games! He looks odd walking around without a date, with stuffed animals in arms, but hey, he was having fun! Now…. who could he foist these things off on, hmm? And so green eyes do survey who's the closest. Mwuhahaha.. ahem.

Discarding his remaining sticks by the simple expident of thrusting them point down into the ground - look, he's building a fence! - Nikolan studies Ricki for a humming second. "I don't know," he finally replies dubiously. "They might contaminate my film. Give it reporter germs or something. Next thing you know, I'll be writing prose and hunting stories. The humanity!" This time, the dimple highlights the slow grin he gives the gilded grandaughter, before sobering - somewhat. "In all seriousness," or as serious as he gets, "I would appreciate if you would ask. If he has one already made that I could borrow - or knows of one I can access as a Candidate - it would simplify matters enormously." D'lei's remark earns a wince and stormy glare. "Oh no, you did not even." Better watch out. Today, dad jokes. Tomorrow? Dad bod.

After finishing the kebab and downing the flatbread, Z'ki says something about grabbing a drink and going to keeping Ji out of trouble. It's probably just an excuse — but an indisputable one for all that, the Igen guard slipping away into the crowd.

Was that a .. groan escaping from Ricki at D'lei's terrible pun? A shake of her head at the bronze rider, and there is one Candidate who at least has the sense to not comment on the matter, though she also doesn't glance back at him. Instead, she is just nodding her head at Niko, fingers going back to brush over her knot once more before she finishes off her kabob. "I'm suppose to have dinner with them tomorrow, unless you want me to ask sooner? I mean.. even if he takes them somewhere, I don't see why he couldn't take yours, too." And obviously, 'Journalists' have need of subtlety and discretion. "Though, maybe you'd be good at prose, you never know. Might help your case, too."

The closest could be anyone, but you better run, Zasheir, because RISA SEES YOU, VILLAIN. SHE SEES YOU WITH YOUR VILLAIN MOUSTACHE, and perhaps she remembers that there was punishment on the mind, being considered for doling out because she's ceasing her dance with three tiny girls and leaning down to whisper something. UNLEASH THE BABIES. Risali wizzes past D'lei and Co with a cheerful, "Shut up, D'lei!" because she HEARD YOUR DAD JOKES. Probably because of Leirith but SUPERHUMAN MOM HEARING IS AS VIABLE AN OPTION. But there she goes, hiking up her dress towards the stuffy-laden candidoot who she BUMPS INTO with three shrieking girls in tow and - "I thought of your punishment for calling me weyrwoman," comes breathlessly. She removes her flower crown, places it on Zash's head, and then points towards the dance floor, IGNORING STUFFIES LIKE WOAH. "You have to dance with me. Come on."

Yep. That's D'lei, being the worst. He grins at the assortment of groans, protests, and orders given him, and streeetches like a cat who knows he did just knock something valuable off that shelf. "Did I?" he muses, then shakes his head. "Nah. Probably not." A grin, another bite to finish a kebab, and then he attempts to toss the skewers into a trash from here. …he fails, but not terribly, and he hehs before he goes to pick them up and actually toss them out.

Unknowing is Zasheir that trouble in the form of the small woman and smaller girl kids who are all headed in his direction, for his back is towards him as he looks in the other direction. If only he was given a mother's secret powers of having eyes in the back of his head, for he would see Trouble coming, and RUN AWAY. But, alas, he is but a young man, not even a DAD like D'lei. And so, but the time he turns, there Risali and the kids are. "Punishment?" Dare there be a squeek in his voice? Maybe just a tad as he listens and watches her with confusion, "But.. but… you.. are…" Eyes go upwards, following the trail of that flower crown that finds it's new home atop his head. "Dance?" Ohboy! And so, the three toddlers get the gift of extra stuffies, for the three in his arms - a yellow dog, blue runner, and pink dragon - are dropped unceremoniously so he might offer Risali his arm as is the polite thing to do. "Yes, ma'am.. a dance.. " Let's hope he doesn't trod on her barefeet with his boots!

"That wasn't for you." Tanit replies lamely as Zeltan open mouth chews the kebab surveying him from head to toe as though committing him to a repeat offenders list. "I wil grant you younger, but better I've yet to see. Didn't your mother teach you to chew with your mouth shut?" She clears her throat raking a hand through short trimmed hair, "I am sorry I mistook you for someone else. I think I've heard him mention you." OR mention a son. Given the sheer numbers there's a chance it was one of the countless other L'ton spawn, which threaten to outnumber the very stars. Her eyes catch sight of the Candidate with the plushies, "I didn't know they had games here."

"Boy, and all she did was threaten to take away my bed - well, ban me from any bed. I think I got off light," Nikolan murmurs to Ricki, watching the force-of-nature-named-Risali crash back into their lives. He gazes after Zasheir sympathetically - but he doesn't offer his fellow Candidate a way out of this one. Offering his bed? That's one thing. Cutting in on the weyrwoman's dance? He's on his own. Especially after that 'ma'am'. "He's going to be into her for a whole set at this rate. Tomorrow is soon enough," he decides abruptly, eyes narrowing as he raises the camera around his neck and snaps off three shots in rapid succession - Risali and Zasheir. D'lei-the-Dad. Tanit and Zeltan. Candid Camera, y'all. It's a thang.

"Oh, well, you were holding it out for me like it was." Zeltan counters with a shrug, offering the empty stick back to Tanit. "I mean, there isn't exactly anything -left-, but, here, if you want." A wave of his hand as they discuss he father, and he just grins a little. "Sure, sure. Did you want to play games?" He questions, inclining his head as she gets distracted by the plushies. "I bet they use the same tri- I mean, I bet they have the same games I've grown up with." Traders TOTALLY aren't cheaters at all, promise. Never ever. And with an arched eyebrow to Tanit, he moves towards the games, glancing back to see if she follows.

Ma'am. IF LOOKS COULD KILL. "DASHIEL!" Risali calls out, hooking her arm through Zaheir's while taking hold of a tiny hand and waiting to make sure all tiny hands are holding each other's in a chain. "HE CALLED ME MA'AM!" RUDE. That's what her face says. But she does start a slow walk towards her weyrmate, grey eyes flickering to Nikolan and his CAMERA with resignation. Yes okay. It's fine. Let the world know that she doesn't have a lick of dignity. But to D'lei she goes, children and Zaheir in tow as she leans into the bronzerider's space with a smile. "You're going to dance with me too, right?" AND THERE SHE GOES, with a shake of her hips that's meant to be funny in a mimicry of temptation. Because babies. And candidates. But whether D'lei joins them or not, she's moving back to the dance floor with a curious glance towards Tanit and the mysterious Zeltan.

"What did -you- do? Or, same thing?" Ricki asks Niko curiously, even as she watches Zasheir get crowned and voluntold for dancing. "Shards, you'd think you'd learn after the first time. I mean.." A shake of her head, and she watches the punishment unfold for a moment, and then her attention is drawn away by the sound of Niko's camera. Eyes linger on Tanit and Zeltan for a moment, curious in turn how *that* will turn out, before the dropped, abandoned!?, plushies are eyed. Clearly, its a girl thing - wanting after plushies.

If the young kids didn't pick up the plushies, then they are game for anyone to pick up. Surely? Zasheir is still sort of shocked, drug over to D'lei, his cheeks almost glowing by now as he gets fussed at for calling Risali ma'am as well. He stumbles over his words, and finally gets out a rough, "Sorry!" The poor guy was never told he shouldn't call her either of those titles! His momma would have smacked him if he hadn't though! Green eyes lift to D'lei with a look that begs to be saved. Please!?! Gulp. If not, then it seems he's being drug off to the dance floor!

Tanit says, "I - Ok. You have a point." Tanit concedes, as the games are mentioned. Wandering off with strangers is always a good idea right? "If they are anything like the games traders set up in Black Moon, there's definitely a trick to it." She laughs, tossing a glance back to Risa and Seph before falling into step with the trader. "Admittedly though, I'm a lot better at winning games that involve water than most things on dry land. What about you, not going to start to give away any trade secrets are you?"

Uh oh. Risali is using his full name. Not that D'lei is the one in trouble, but why should that matter? He grins, and calls back, "He'd probably bow, if you asked him!" to Risali, followed by a glance to Zasheir as if to silently say, 'but do not do that thing that I just said you probably would' before he looks back to Risali with a laugh. He leans in, pressing lips to Risali's with a kiss, then reaches around to set one hand on her shoulder and Zasheir's. "Let's dance." It is the time. The dancing time! Where three adults and three children combine together in some form of circle - Ibsy and Heri thrust sticky two turn old hands at Zasheir's, with D'lei and Risali to either side of them and Selene between the rider pair. "Just a step to the left…" and so the dance begins! With enthusiasm, and some HIGHLY VARIABLE SKILL LEVELS LET ME TELL YOU.

What could *possibly* go wrong with all these people around? Zeltan is definitely short on that whole, 'Large companion who can transport someone instantly anywhere in the world' department. A sidelong grin and he shrugs a little. "I will say there is a trick.. I mean, I can't tell you what it *is* but, if you wanted a particular keepsake to remind you of me at night." Shameless, absolutely, positively shameless. And given that he doesn't duck, blush, or look away, Zeltan knows it too. "If there is a ring game, that is a good place to start.."

"I called her ma'am. Once," Niko replies, amusement lurking beneath his faux-urbane exterior. "Really, that's all it takes for that particular lesson to sink in. Maybe he likes to dance." Maybe he's a masochist. It happens. He catches sight of Ricki eyeing those plushies before they're scooped up by toddlers and bites back a grin. He does not, it might be noted, in any way, shape, or form offer to win one for her. "I can't decide. Go find out where I'm sleeping tonight, or follow and take all of the pictures." Decisions, decisions.

"Maybe he likes to dance.." Ricki agrees and as the plushies disappear to toddlers, she shrugs a little, though with Zeltan and Tanit wandering towards the games, she seems to ponder tagging along. But then, Niko is making a comment about finding a bed for the night, and she is turning back to him, arching an eyebrow. "And just how many options do you have?" An odd look flickers across her face for just a moment, before she is tilting her head. "I bet the dancing may make some photos worth a pretty penny." If Zasheir wants to keep his dignity.

Risali is all too happy to return kisses. And dance! Which she does, with a step the ri-i-iiiight. And if Risali is actually mad at Zasheir, there's no hint of ire or anger in the smile she fixes on him as they get in a circle made for dancing and move with crazy toddlers who have their own idea of what dancing is. At least… until Risali's looking startled, and then happy. "My Dad," she whispers, grey eyes going to D'lei as if this explains everything. And it probably does, because she's got to interrupt the dance to gather up Heribly and Ibsyglei. Another quick kiss for her weyrmate, a press of lips to Selene's forehead, and up onto her tiptoes she goes to give Zasheir a kiss on the cheek. "It's Risali. Remember that." FAUX STERN, but brows furrow and. "Kyriel isn't settling. I'll try to come back." Another WRENCH IN HER FUN. And Risali flees! First to return babies to the KIND OF SCARY bronzerider at the edges of celebration, and then to go do that mom thing.

Worried and scared is Zasheir, uncertain is the poor beastcrafter candidate as he's led off to the dance floor. And yet, once the circle is made, and the dancing with the kids begins, he seems to find his own groove easily enough. With hands clutching the sticky ones of kids, he crouches down to dance at their level, laughing as he watches them and trying some of their moves as well. Rising back up to his full height, he looks to Risali, confused once more by her comments, but as she offers the kiss to his cheek, he blushes again, bobbing his head, "Risali. Got it." He won't be making THAT mistake again! As she flees, he breathes a sigh of relief. Whew! That was close!

That… is the power of toddler enthusiasm! D'lei grins as he watches Zasheir dance in with Ibsy and Heri, swinging Selene between himself and Risali until… oops, dance over! Because dads, and D'lei leans to kiss Risali back, scoops up Selene to give her a bounce and distract her from her cousins are leaving, and makes a small face at the other message passed along, though he nods. And then? Back to Zasheir, who might have thought he'd escaped but… only sort of did. Risali down, D'lei remains. "Candidacy's about learning how you react to unexpected circumstances?" he suggests with a crooked grin, then reaches out with a pat for Zasheir's shoulder. "You did pretty good. Kept yourself together." Another grin, for all his words seem earnest enough. "Not everyone does." A glance up and down along Zasheir, and then a smile. "You gotten something to eat, yet?" He gestures back toward the stalls. "S'good stuff."

"You probably know your way around here better than I do, I always get lost when trying to visit Risali." As the path leads along a milk bottle toss and various other games. And really, the more the merrier it might keep Tanit from rolling her eyes at the terrible one liners. Seems safer than getting toes stepped on on the dance floor at any rate. She scans the stalls for pushes and other prizes. "So are you here for the eggs and hatching or just the gather?" The dolphineer asks halting as they find a ring toss at last. She looks at a collection of what looks like brightly colored avian pushes on one side.

"I didn't answer D'lei, why would I answer you?" Niko asks Ricki, giving her a sidelong glance with one eyebrow winging upwards. "I travel Pern. I meet a lot of people. Interesting people, who enjoy long, stimulating… conversations. Some of them live here, and have made it clear that they wouldn't mind enjoying those conversations with me while I'm… staying… here." His lips twitch slightly, although the ensuing expression is less a grin and more a grimmace. Then he reaches out to flick a finger down her nose, his expression lightening. "It keeps things from being boring.

D'lei's words will be taken to heart by Zasheir who ends up chuckling softly, "So, she really doesn't like her title or anything?" Just making sure! "I won't get in trouble for calling her Risali, even in front of others?" This is a tricky path! Still, the tall candidate turns and walks with the bronzerider, "I had something earlier, but not recently." Which means he could likely go for something more to eat. "I haven't been to a gather since I left home.." Fun times.

"Oh, a little bit of everything. Traders -never- miss a Gather." Maybe that is a bit of a stretch, but that seems to be par for the course with Zeltan. "Besides, figured if I got eyes on the candidates, and snuck a quick peek at the eggs while I was here, I might be able to beat some of the others and make a few marks." A shrug. As they approach the ring toss, Zeltan leans over the counter to peer at the setup before, seeming satisfied that it isn't totally unbeatable, is passing over the approapriate mark pieces and grabbing the offered rings. "Did you want to play, too?" He asks, hesitating just in case.

"Because, I'm your friend." Oh, so Ricki has decided that she qualifies as that, now, huh? Lips purse as she eyes him, and then there is a slight.. grimace? and she tilts her head, watching him for a moment. And then his finger is touching her nose, and she is swatting at it with a loud huff, stepping away as she wrinkles her nose. "Well, then, I hope you have fun. Sorry the rest of us are boring." And suddenly, the interaction between D'lei and Zasheir is super interesting, even if it is wrapping up. In fact, everything else that isn't Niko is super interesting.

D'lei nods to Zasheir. "Just Risali. Or Risa, if that's too long in the mouth." No using ma'am just because it's shorter! "Can't promise that someone with a stick up their butt won't complain, but she will certainly assure them it is exactly what she wants." And Zasheir has seen Risali in action, and thus can probably imagine those… 'assurances'. D'lei grins. "Look at it this way. You're a beastcrafter, right?" A tilt of his head, because he's pretty sure about that, but hey, he might be wrong. "Imagine if people always insisted on calling you that. Always, 'Hello, beastcrafter,' and 'How are you, beastcrafter?'" D'lei's smile goes crooked to go with his head. "I think most folks'd go a bit crazy, if that's how it always was." As he talks, he's leading the way toward where kebabs (beef and chicken), and flatbreads, and other various comestibles may be had. Because food, it's good! And candidates are almost always hungry, it comes with the age group. This route also, incidentally, brings them back toward the vicinity of Ricki and Nikolan. Not that he's stalking anyone, nope.

Tanit says, "You go first." She indicates with a tip of her chin, as she weighs the conversation. "I haven't had a chance to meet too many of them, the candidates I mean. It's a lot easier winning a rigged game I think than betting on a dragon. If these are anything like their dam, they will be a very loud bunch." Tanit side steps enough to watch whatever trick it is the trader is about to attempt to win fair plushies over yonder. "Do you like it? Traveling around all the time I mean.""

There's a bob of his head given when asked, "Journeyman Beastcrafter, yes." When D'lei puts the situation in that light, it actually makes sense to Zasheir. "Ah, that makes sense. And she's more than just being a weyrwoman or goldrider, hmm?" A brow is lifted upwards over one eye of green as they continue to walk together. The grin appears again, the very thought of what sort of assurances that might given by the woman herself. "I'll be sure to remember this in the future." Though, he'll still go more formal with her full name, than the shorten, familiar Risa. Arriving at the food booths, Zash takes a moment to decide what he wants, though really, who would choose anything other than those kebobs?? "Two, please, one of each." The order is given to the vendor, marks paid, and a stick taken in each hand. Yum!

"And D'lei isn't?" Actually, Nikolan has no idea of D'lei qualifies as friend, or stalker, or craftmate, or what. "Some things don't need to be shared." Some things aren't his to share. As Ricki suddenly turns snappish, the young man is taken aback, physically recoiling from her and holding up his hands. As he's given the cold shoulder, he stares at her in confusion, then turns to glance towards the-completely-unstealthy-D'lei, clearly uncertain what exactly has happened or how to proceed. "You're… not boring?" he finally tries, tentatively.

The ring in his hand is carefully weighed, before the trader shifts it around, testing the balance once more, and then a careful toss at a particular bottle has it settling around the top, and Zeltan is left to smirk at Tanit. The next ring is waved around a bit. "Well, sometimes you just get a gut feeling, you know? That one there?" He motions the ring at Zasheir, "I'd put a good bit on him, I think. Just.. you know one of those feelings." The next ring is shifted again, and tossed at the bottles, nearly sliding free before it settles. "It.. has its advantages." A shrug. "Doesn't always help to look like pops, though, I learned that one the hard way." Possibly more than once.

"I don't know, is he?" Ricki shrugs at the mention of D'lei as a friend, before she is glancing back over her shoulder at Niko, rolling her eyes a little as he tries the 'not boring' line. "Don't worry, I haven't changed my mind, I will still ask dad tomorrow." Really, though, Niko is probably saved the most by D'lei closing the distance back towards them - can't show division in the ranks, after all! She sighs softly under her breath as she turns back towards Niko, shrugging a little. "Not all of us are terrible." Though, who knows if she includes herself in that number.

"She is indeed," D'lei agrees, with a pleased smile for Zasheir that is only slightly influenced by the fact that he's also thinking of Risali. "Sometimes we worry too much about someone being an important person, and we forget to just treat them as a person." A moment, and then he hehs. "Faranth knows I've done it myself." He grins wide, and nods to Zasheir's plan to remember. "We're still here and alive, so there's plenty of chance to improve." Whether that's calling a certain weyrwoman Risali, or… D'lei learning how to shut up? …nah, some things are just impossible. He meets Nikolan's 'wut' with an arch of brows and a tilt of his head toward Ricki, a faint grimace as he does it. Technology does not hold this answer. It can only be found by the pure of heart and… okay, yeah, that line wasn't it. "…I'd wager none, personally," he answers Ricki, because he is just butting into conversations tonight and not helping.

Nostrils flaring slightly, Nikolan looks from D'lei to Ricki and back again, confusion warring with frustration on his face. Finally, he offers both bronzerider and Candidate - friends? - a slight bow and backs away. "I appreciate it," he says softly to the young woman, blue-grey eyes still confused as he watches her for a long moment. Finally, he quips, "You'd lose," to D'lei, then, to both, "I'll see you later." And off he slips, to find, if not his bed, someone's.

Cue the d'aww from Zasheir at D'lei's comment about his weyrmate. D'aaaaaawwww. Okay, so Zasheir at least doesn't say it aloud, keeping it in his head. With kebobs in hand, he follows the bronzer towards other candidates, and is in the process of greeting them when someone calls his name. Turning, he spies a stablehand who's waving at him, "Zasheir! Rose won't get up!" Cursing softly beneath his breath, he just hands over the kebobs he hasn't even started to eat, likely to D'lei, andwith a quick word of excuse, hurries off towards the stables at the other end of the meadow.

Sea-green eyes survey the candidate in question, tilting her head as she does so. "I'll take that bet, though I don't have much in the way of marks." The diver admits, watching the ring land smoothly somewhat impressed. Mention of L'ton draws her attention back, brows knitting together, "I guess not everyone who encounters you is trying to give you free food?" Lips curving upward around the corners, she continues looking at the prizes at last spotting one that looks something like a goldfish with fins made of shimmery material. "I mean, I like him, but he also showed me where to find the best lunches at Half moon so- " Understandably biased.

This is the point where you drink, right? Except, oh, right. -Rules-. With a sigh, Ricki glares at Niko and his stupid camera as they slip away, shaking her head and muttering under her breath to herself. A long moment to compose herself, and she is wandering through the booths - a sweet quickly purchased, before she is lurking, watching the others that continue to wander the area. "Shardin' man."

"I might," D'lei says in answer to Nikolan's quip. "Pretty good at that." A wry grin, and then… hey, kebabs! "Good luck!" he calls to Zasheir, then looks down to his hands. "Won some kebabs, at least. So that's something!" Where by 'won' we mean 'was conveniently standing there'. That's just how luck works! He tilts his head to Ricki, with a question that she answers by walking away, and to which he responds by not actually following her. Instead, he wanders off through the crowd in his own direction, eating a kebab as he goes because it'd go cold if he didn't and that woud just be sad.

"I'm sure we can figure something out." The third ring falls short from its target, and Zeltan murmurs something before the last ring is held out to Tanit. "Give me some luck?" He asks with a crooked grin, before answering her question. "Oh, some of them are more interested in what he owes them.. or the young woman who could be me in a mirror with long hair. And, well.. Holders." Zeltan clears his throat and shrugs. "He usually had the best treats, when he would visit. All sorts of sweets."

How the heck does one give luck? Tanit racks her brain but settles for an awkward forward lean that gives the poor game attendant a good view of the swimsuit beneath the dress. Which has the attendant looking up and flushing hastily in the opposite direction. He did mean distract the carnie right? As for talk of his experience with L'ton, her expression softens listening. "I can't say I could even imagine what that would be like. I take it he was fond of games in his younger days?" The sort where you could accrue all kinds of debt.

Zeltan stares at Tanit as she leans, before just shaking his head with his eyes closed for a moment, and carefully letting the last ring loose, it looping and settling down easily around a bottle. "So, which one did you like, that will remind you of me?" He asks with an arched eyebrow, teasing lightly as he leans against the counter and lets her decide. "Oh, in his younger days? From what I hear, from all his days. Allll sorts of games. Especially the ones with -consequences-." Thank goodness Pern doesn't have guns.

Hey, you work with what you have. And Tani wasn't about to kiss that ring, she doesn't know where it has been. Still there's a smile as he offers the prize to her, and she takes time and careful consideration. "Something that will remind me of you hm?" The goldfish is abandoned in favor of a deep blue avian the likes of which does not currently exist on Pern, but was likely inspired by the databases of Earth wildlife. A Fan of vivid blue green and purple feathers with painted eye shapes on them sits on the back of the swan like creature. "This one." Yes it's a peacock. Her smirk is warm however as she grins back at him. "If you care for sea food, I owe you a meal next time you are in Half Moon, as thanks for the plushie." Though one might note she did not promise to eat said meal with him.

"It's a date!" Zeltan replies perhaps a bit too enthusiastically, apparently not bothered at all by the selection of the Peacock. After all, "Awfully handsome plushie you got there. Hope you enjoy it." Straightening up from the counter, he steps towards Tanit, though at least he leaves a respectful enough distance between them. "I think I'll have to make sure I come see pops sooner than later, though." Poor Tanit.

"Not a date." She manages with a slight stutter as her space is oh so slightly invaded. One step back to keep that respectful distance there. It could be worse, and at least for everyone involved he hasn't done anything punch worthy. "Just make sure you learn from his bad habits and don't necessarily make them into your own." She suggests, quietly before scampering off to find Risali and show off Lime Cat's new toy.

"Sure, sure. I'll see you soon!" Zeltan calls cheerfully after her, no more bothered by her 'advice' than the peacock, for then he is shoving a hand in a pocket to fish out a few more mark pieces, and he is turning back to the games, whistling softly to himself as she takes off.

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