Straight on 'til Morning (Candidate Trip)

Xanadu Weyr – Clearing

A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the rock edifice where, high above on Xanadu's Star Stones, the ever-present watchdragon sits on the lonely peak. Directly south is the hatching arena, the large round complex taking up a large portion of the perimeter, a line of trees visible beyond it. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the infirmary is a human-sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Wandering Wherry Tavern. Tucked neatly under the arch, to one side is a tiny wood-frame shop bearing the name 'Petals and Pots Garden Shop'. Southwest lies cliffs where windows for the administrative offices have been cut. Underneath them are the entrances to the crafters complex while north and west along the cliff's base, a broad path leads to the feeding grounds. Due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr - the meadow, the forest beyond. At the far edge of the clearing, beside the trail leading to the forest sits a clocktower.

It's early, early morning, before any hint of dawn colors the eastern sky. With no advance warning the barracks lights had been snapped on and the Candidates roused by the AWLMs who announced that the candidates were to dress warmly, pack ten days of rough terrain clothing and rain gear, don boots and bring a bedroll. They've been given but fifteen minutes to meet in the clearing where two green dragons await with V'dim standing beside one of them and an open glowbasket that provides a bit of light to mount them. Already loaded aboard is whatever else the Candidates will be needing for this trip. The Weyrlingmaster is stern and mostly silent as he waits for the group to assemble, only speaking if he needs to hush voices too loud for the still-sleeping Weyr. When they are all there, his voice, sounding gruffly rusty in the dark bids them divide themselves between the dragons and mount up.

Muir was wondering if this was going to happen. Wondering, but not preparing, as the boy scrambles to get his gear together. Will he need an ironing board? No. He puts that back. Rope? Sure. Extra socks? Yes. Paper, pencils…and a bunch of other things he crams into the satchel along with his clothes before he hoofs it out to the clearing, searching around for his sister to make sure she made it too.

Okay, Soriana can do this. Yes, admittedly, she did not exactly get a full night's sleep last night, but there's nothing like the adrenaline rush of sudden awakening to get the body moving. Thinking is harder, but moving… moving she can manage. Warm clothes, yeah, she has some of those. Isn't she glad she remembered winter was coming? So she knows where they are. Kale will just have to deal with the fact that none of them are satin nor dresses (besides, it's probably his fault she didn't get any sleep), instead being mostly made out of wool. Shirts. Pants. Extra socks. The socks are also fuzzy… and don't match. What? They're warm. She's bleary. More of the same is in the bag over her shoulder, along with a bedroll. Jacket. That's waterproof, right? …okay, no, it's not, but she doesn't think she has anything that actually is. Maybe if she had more time to prepare, but… fifteen minutes are almost up. Time to stumble out to the clearing.

The first thing asked by a sleepy Mikal is "Are the eggs hatching?" that's what happens when the lights are flung on quickly at the crack of dawn, right? However with the instructions to pack gear, a bedroll and to dress warmly the illusions of eggs bursting open to reveal the inhabitants inside is quickly dispelled. He was sleeping so soundly too! So it's through a fog of sleepiness he rummages through his trunk, flinging clothing onto the bed that he deems not suitable and tossing stuff he thinks will work into a bag. Shoving his boots onto his feet, orange laces and all, he grabs a too large jacket, his bedroll and heads out with the others. "Can our fire lizard come as well?" is his first coherent question in a sleep-burred voice.

Not even Hotaru generally gets up this early. It's still -night-. Morning is something that involves at least SOME daylight. Hotaru is woken up, packs her backpack with clothes and shoves herself into the beat up pair of leathers she owns. She manages to tie a bedroll to the top of her backpack, and grabs her bow and quiver. Hopefully she can take them along? She's also got her pocket knife, some snacks, clothes, toiletries, a poncho-thingy, some flint she found and her bronze firelizard. Surely that was enough? Her backpack can't fit anything else in it. She drudges out with everyone else.

Marel's lack of cheer at being woken so early is confined to her stoic expression that needs only a few nudges to start winding its way towards sulky, as she quite literally /rolls/ out of bed and onto the floor, forcing herself to abandon the warmth of sleep and blankets all at once. She sits there on the floor for a few moments while she blinks herself awake, then hefts herself to her feet and begins slinging what pairs of trousers and the more boyish clothing that she owns into a bag. She utters not a word as she does so; no questions, no argument; all distant stares and auto-pilot movement of one who is not at their best first thing in the morning (let alone this hour). She'll make it to the clearing later than Muir, and looking quite unkempt to boot, but at least she'll be there.

Early morning may not work for some but it does for others and Anoryn seems hardly fazed by it. The older greenrider has recovered from the roundup incident that saw the Weyrleader get the shorter end of the stick come injuries, but there's hardly a limp to her stride or a stiffness to her movements as she works with the other AWLMs in rousing the Candidates. In fact, it's something she takes far too much pleasure in, if her too cheery orders to 'get up and get going' are any indication. They'll all suffer together! Leaving them in the hands of a few capable AWLMs, Anoryn returns to the clearing where Rysith waits patiently, straps already on and well packed. V'dim will receive an acknowledging and respectful nod as she takes her place by her lifemate's side, but she makes no attempt at conversation for now. Swiftly double checking a few of the buckles on the straps, she turns then to wait, arms folded loosely over her chest and a lopsided smirk curving her lips.

Idrissa is use to getting up early at least so it isn't that much of a problem, so here she is making her way on outside with the rest to see what may be going on, and why they have been called out here so early. She is dressed in warm clothing and has a pack with her things in it. A young brown firelizard is settled upon her shoulder, the little fella chirrups and chitters out to everyone, being rather talkative it seems. She pauses once next to Soriana and peers within her pack to make sure she has everything she needs. Check.. Check.. Wait where is the oh there it is. Hearing Mikal she looks over and waves to him. "Naw.. Trip it seems."

Having greeted Anoryn with a nod of his own, it's Mikal's question that then draws the Weyrlingmaster's stare. He makes no audible reply, though his wrinkled cheek twitches and his lips thin, which might suffice for a smile but then again might equally be read as displeasure. His grizzled head nods once, sharply and his hand motions peremptorily to the dragons. Time's a-waiting, the gesture seems to say and once he has his passengers, he swings aboard, gloved hands checking to make sure his passengers have clipped themselves in correctly, if they did indeed do those snaps, flighlines tugged on to double check their security. Once he is satisfied, he turns his head to make eye contact with Anoyrn, ascertaining her readiness and then gives the signal to rise.

Muir moves forward towards Anoryn and her green, inclining his head respectfully and offering his bag to be strapped on. "Is this the wilderness trip?" the Xanadu native asks. Figures he'd have paid attention to previous Candidacies. And perhaps his mother has regaled (bored) them with tales of her own trip while they were growing up. Glancing around, he beckons his sister over, unless she's sick of him. Then he'll mount up and buckle in, gripping the straps tightly with gloved hands. "Is it too late to say I have to pee?"

Hah. Soriana's firelizards have just stolen the warm spot she left in bed. Some friends they are. She stares at the dragons for a moment, then looks over to give Idrissa's brown firelizard a stare. "Mmh," she says back to him. That's her cogent observation for today. Or at least for before dawn, maybe she'll manage another one after the sun actually appears in the sky. It's not that she doesn't get up early sometimes. It's that she generally knows about it ahead of time enough to at least try to get extra sleep the night before. Oh well. Too late for that now, and so she mutters, "C'mon," before heading for V'dim's Isobeth and climbing aboard. Even half-asleep, she still manages to get the straps right. Thank midnight dragonhealer shifts for that.

Hotaru yawns big and stretches. Old people were used to getting up early! Really, even Hotaru is mostly used to being up early, but this early still has her half asleep. Suddenly though she blinks awake, then seems to fall back asleep sitting up. "I have to pee, too. Are we betweening?" Hotaru heads for V'dim's Isobeth, climbing up like it's second nature and strapping herself in. "I'm cold already…" Good, Soriana's on first. Hotaru can hunker behind her.

Blinking blearily around, Marel eventually locates Muir, if only because of his beckoning drawing her attention his way. Yawning, she adjusts her bag over both her shoulders and clambers up Rysith's straps, beginning to buckle herself in with a muttered, "No talking," for her twin. "And no peeing." At least, not just now. Not with her right there. Please. "Hey, Mikal." Said through another yawn, but at least she's talking!

Anoryn likewise inclines her head politely to Muir, taking the bag offered to her with no questions as she finds a secure spot to buckle it in. "It could be," she replies dryly and cryptically, but with a smirk that looks far too amused. So that's a yes, right? She'll help Muir up if he needs it, then finds herself welcoming Mikal as well and taking his belongings before helping him up. She's barely greeted Marel when the girl is up the straps and joining the other two, which only has Anoryn chuckling dryly. Rysith rumbles gruffly, her head turning just-so so that one whirling eye may be staring right at Muir and the others. No. Peeing. Or you're off this ride. No matter at what stage! "If you have to go that bad, then dismount and go. We'll wait. Otherwise, best hold it. Or you'll be cleaning my straps, thank you." Anoryn drawls as she climbs up and checks to be sure everyone is secure. Wouldn't be good if she lost her three passengers, now would it? "Everyone comfy?" It's liable to be a bit squished, considering Anoryn has to fit in there somewhere eventually, but she waits to see if there are any stragglers before taking her place.

Muir smirks, amused, at his twin. "No talking? Can I hum? Whistle? Yell?" he teases. The boy is excited, that much is clear, as he flashes Mikal a grin. "Hey! I think we're going camping." From the sky Kenpo swoops down to burrow himself against Muir's arm, the boy cradling his bronze firelizard close. "Coward," he teases, to which Kenpo replies by biting him. "Ow!" Kenpo wants quiet too, it seems. "I can hold it," he mutters.

As Hotaru also complains of having to pee, Soriana peers vaguely back at her. Is this one of those contagious things? Like yawning? (She does so.) Or maybe it's just a morning thing, but either way she makes a face before returning her attention to forward, muttering as she does, "…wonder if Muir brought sweetsticks." Oooh. That was almost a full sentence. She's definitely waking up. The cold is probably helping. She kind of wishes it wasn't. Her firelizards are so comfortable. They're sending her warm cozy thoughts. Hmph. She looks over and offers Idrissa a hand up, if she needs it. No escape for her. If Sori's being dragged off to a rain-slick precipice of darknes… so's Idrissa. Sothere.

Mikal doesn't have to go! Nope, he's still too sleepy to comprehend much though Muir's words slowly sink in. "Wilderness trip? Camping?" he asks in a hushed whisper. "Morning Marel." is greeted cheerily to the girl as she climbs up. His own two fire lizards are tucked under his zipped up coat. Well at least one is there. A small brown head can be seen in the shadows of Mikal's raisd up hood.

Marel is firelizardless and lacking in patience (and temper), hand swiftly lifting to shove at Muir's shoulder as she mutters all sorts of disgruntled things, only some of them intelligible, "Make you pay", "Last thing you'll do," and, "Stupid," among those that /are/. "See? Even he agrees with me," she insists with a quick nod towards Kenpo. "Don't get any ideas," she warns Mikal, voice dry with ill-suppressed humour, grumpiness beginning to lift despite her best efforts. "Don't listen to /him/," another shove for her twin's shoulder, "ever."

Idrissa peers at the ones that are here and then looks over to Soriana as she moves towards V'dim and Isobeth. She swallows a moment and soon follows after her friend. "Alright alright.." Is murmured as she moves to wait for Hotaru to get on an then follows through and clambers on, getting strapped down an so forth. "I dono.. Just don't pee until we get there." This said with a teasing tone to Hotaru.

Hotaru will also help Idrissa up. She'll even let her sit between them and help strap her in. Nice and tight! That way she can't fall out. There's grumbling back here. From Hotaru. About nothing in particular. Well, other than being up too early and it being cold and now she has to pee. "I should have ran to the caverns and gotten some fresh muffins or something.. Mmm muffins… I won't pee until we get there." There's another yawn and Hotaru rests her chin on Rissa's shoulder. What? It's right there. Snore.

Idrissa takes that offered hand of help from Soriana and shakes her head while peering around from where they are. "Soriana… Do you know where they're taking us?" So the beastcrafter is curious, can anyone blame her for that? The voices from the others are picked up and she can't help but look over towards Marel, Muir and Mikal. At the touch from Hotaru she blinks and peers back at her friend. "You don't drool do you?" Well Hotaru seems to be falling asleep so it is a good question.

Isobeth spreads her mighty wings and leap into the air, surging upwards.

Rysith surges up from below, wings beating.


Xanadu Weyr - High Sky

It is easy to see why the settlers of Xanadu chose this exact spot to live out their lives. Here high above the Weyr one gets a good perspective on the landscape that drew the eye of that rider long ago that sought out the home for a new Weyr. Mountains loom protectively above this pristine little valley, while an energetic river races headlong down the northern side, in a hurry to reach the lake that rests peacefully to the east. Grove after grove of trees dot the land, creating endless shade for the human or dragon.
As well-placed as the natural aspects of the Weyr are, the founders worked hard to keep with the uncontrived rhythms of the valley while destroying as little of it as possible. All of Xanadu opens up below you, welcoming the odd visitor into its friendly arms, or calling a cheerful 'Welcome Home' to the rider and dragon after a visit away.

It's the safest place for Idrissa, really. Sori on one side. Hotaru on the other. Any wild felines will have to chomp through them in order to reach her. So, it's for her own good. Acting as a pillow for Hotaru? Well, it's the least she can do. Soriana, on the other hand… "I could go for muffins," she says, contemplative. Mmm, muffins. Toasty-warm muffins, split down the middle and spread with butter. Or plain. That works too. Or… whups. They're flying now. She almost missed it, and now that they're in the air, she just shrugs to Idrissa's question, shaking her head instead of trying to answer aloud.

"No," V'dim answers Hotaru gruffly. In which case, this means a straight flight, so she'd better connect the dots and go to the restroom if she cannot hold it. Wingbeats sound loud in the still, predawn air, the snap of wingsail and creak of joints bouncing off the cliff face as they climb above the trees. Stars twinkle overhead, to the west Timor has already fled, Belior hanging in a silvery sliver just above the horizon, chases it. V'dim isn't much of a talker and so is silent as they ascend to a higher level and reach formation to take point and banks Isobeth to take a southerly heading. Beneath them the darkened Weyr sleeps on, the trees pass beneath them, then the shoreline follows. Dark black is the Sea of Azov beneath a moonless sky and still they wing onwards for the better part of an hour until dawn colors the sky to their left, revealing a small group of rocky islands, which they bank for, descending to land on the rocky pinacle. So… Neverland?

Isobeth backwings smoothly to land on the Island.

Rysith backwings neatly to land on the Island.


Xanadu Wilds - Windswept Island

Pinnacles of rock rise from the Sea of Azov forming islands with sheer-sided cliffs, fortresses that are nearly impossible to access from the water. As if a giant hand has tossed enormous boulders into the ocean, this tumble of isolated land may be remote and uninhabited, but it is far from lifeless. Ringed by a narrow beach of pristine white sand that lies in the shadow of the sentinel cliffs, the tops are growth-choked and teeming with wildlife. Situated in the south ends of the vast inland sea, the lush rainforest of vibrant growth is temperate rather than tropical in nature with pine, birch and ferns predominant among the hardwood trees.

The only place to land appears to be a nearly bald tower of rock separated from the main island by a deep cleft in the rock through which you must descend to reach the place. Accessible only at extreme low tide, the part of the cleft between tower and island is awash with surf otherwise.

Away from Isobeth, Rysith's back> Muir turns his head to give his sister a hurt look. "Ever? What if he's on fire and I'm telling him he's on fire? Or what if he's about to get hit by a runaway wagon? Or…" He could go on for days, really. And it seems he could, when they start to fly straight. Peering with interest off the green's side, he whistles softly when he sees where they're going. "I don't think there's a restroom down there…"
Hotaru doesn't get much time to sleep before they're taking off. "I don't think they want us to know. Or we might be able to find our way back." She chuckles at Rissa. "Not while I'm awake! Don't you like my drool?" Muffins might make her drool. But there are no muffins. And there won't be for a while. Sadness. Hotaru has managed to not pee herself on the ride. Though she's mostly quite for it. Just because it's so hard to hear with the wind whipping by and all.

Away from Isobeth, Rysith's neck> Anoryn pretends not to take notice in any of the conversations to her passengers as she fiddles with a few straps and does another few cursory checks of the packs buckled in. It's Rysith, truly, who tattles in the end as the green rumbles so low to be more felt than heard. But the greenrider's head snaps up and turns to glance at her charges from over her shoulder. Just in time to see some shoving. "Hey!" she barks, not so much scolding but with a sharpness to snap through grogginess. "Keep the rough housing, bickering and bullying till we're on ground again. Don't make me split you two up and have one of you ride in front here with me." she warns with a smile that shows a few teeth. But before long the command is given and she tells them to "Hold on!" as Rysith gathers herself and springs aloft for the straight flight to the island. It'll be a comfortable ride, though Anoryn keeps mostly to herself, until they begin to descend to land on the rocky pinacle below. "Nope. Not much of anything out here, really." she replies briskly.

Idrissa leans a bit close to Soriana, perhaps just a bit fearful that Hotaru will well, pee on her? No not in the least just making sure there are no flying felines around you know. "I dono, your dool is strange." Isn't this conversation strange? Who actually talks about someone drooling? Her gaze flicks towards the area below them, a soft oh escaping her while they seem to go further and further, she is very curious still for where they are heading. Then there is a rocky area that the dragon seems to bead heading towards. "At least it isn't the forest." Forest equals felines after all.

If this is Neverland, who's Wendy? The cold wind has done a pretty good job of waking Soriana up. She might have tried to sleep on the ride, except she doesn't really feel like trying to use V'dim as a pillow. With that as her option… yeah, staying awake seemed like a real good plan. Star-watching was a good plan, until it turned into pre-dawn-sky watching. Still. Watching things. Waking up. As they head toward the islands, she leans over to get a better look.

Mikal catches tidbits of words from the occupants aboard the other dragon. "We going between?" he asks, really having only heard the idea of between being tossed out there. At Marel's warning his gives an expression of wide-eyed innocence. "Any ideas for what?" he asks, hands going to grip the straps as the green launches upwards. Immediately his gaze goes around to enjoy the view down below as they fly. He stays quiet now, the last of the sleep eventually working its way out with one last large yawn. He climbs down and simply looks around to see where they are.

Hotaru blinks at Rissa, then laughs. "It's… strange? What does that mean? Also, how do you know!" Hotaru peers. "An island, apparently." Obviously Idrissa is Wendy. She's the leading lady. Using V'dim as a pillow would just be awkward. "I hope there's something to eat down there. If they're not going to provide food. I didn't bring enough snacks for a long trip. Once they land, Hotaru undoes straps and slides down to her feet, taking a look around.

Muir looks around as he dismounts, reaching up to accept his pack and flash his twin a grin. But he leaves her alone (for now) and moves to stand beside Mikal. "Did anyone bring a bow?" he asks curiously.

"Well.. ya I mean it's /drool/ it's all yuky." Idrissa states with an amused tone at the thought. If she is Wendy there is going to be trouble in Neverland. "Well I brought stuff, like jerky, dried fruit and stuff." She murmurs to Hotaru. "Maybe we can find berries or fish?" Well it's an idea, as for bring a bow and arrows she just may have and they are tucked away in her pack.

"We're probably supposed to eat bark," Soriana suggests to Hotaru. "Or slugs." Her tone is cheerful enough, though it's not entirely a joke. Aren't there supposed to be… things? Edible things? Like… yeah, okay, berries and fish work too. They might even be tastier. Still… this may be interesting. Soriana slides down off Isobeth, offering Idrissa a hand down, then gets the unfocused look. Firelizard naptime is over. After a moment Toral appears near her, chirping and then gliding down to perch on her shoulder and curl his tail around her… and then his eyes close. He'll come when summoned, sure, but he still thinks it's naptime.

Mikal didn't bring a bow. He shifts the bag he packed further onto his shoulder and shrugs. "I don't even know how to use a bow." admits the youth. "Maybe the firelizards could hunt for us." a not so hopeful suggestion. He does make a face at the idea of eating bark or slugs. Clearly Mikal's not quite the…err..camping type. Elsie's head pops out of his jacket to peer around with a chirp. It's a sound echoed by Elidor as he too peeks out from Mikal's hood to observe their surroundings. So far neither one looks impressed. Mikal though takes the same moment to look around. "I am so not eating bark." he adds.

Hotaru grabs her stuff. Including… her bow! "I got mine!" She says to Muir. "We can hunt things with it maybe. Fish though, that's a good idea. I'm always leery about berries. The last thing you want is to eat something that's poisonous." Hotaru wrinkles her nose at Soriana. "There might be klah on the island." She turns towards the riders, apparently fully awake now. "Is there a cabin or tents or do we make our own shelter?" Leave it to Hotaru the tree-beast to be excited about being dropped in the middle of nowhere.

Anoryn will dismount after all the Candidates have unbuckled themselves and done the same. Once on the ground, she'll begin to unbuckle their belongings, handing Muir his pack first and then Mikal's, if he left anything with her. "Someone must've, I'm sure," she says in a low and somewhat gruff voice the Muir's curious question, even if not directed her way. Hotaru chimes in then and the Assistant Weyrlingmaster smirks and juts her thumb over to the girl, "See?" Case closed. As for the rest of the questions, Anoryn doesn't seem to have an answer or is pretending to be busy as she begins to remove a few more supplies from Rysith's straps. The green has settled herself comfortably on the ground, sprawled on her belly as much as possible without crowding folk and her head held high to peer about curiously, though her interest seems more on the Candidates themselves than anything the island has to offer. High on her ridges, a gold firelizard sits perched, also watching silently and joined later by a brown and a blue.

Zahleizjah has been pretty quiet through most of the ride and between, that frigid chill leaving lips blue as the Starcrafter keeps mostly to herself. The warmth of the island may help a bit, and Zahl dismounts to join the group. "Slugs.. yuechh" is about all she says, not sure what she's gotten herself in to. She did bring the bow, it looks new, recently molded and strung with assistance from a local Woodcrafter, a few 'practice' quivers at her side. She's got one bag of belongings, waiting for them to be handed her direction, and Virikas came along for the adventure too the Starcrafter endlessly tries to keep her entertained and quiet.

Yes! Klah comes in the form of bark. So they can all just start chewing trees. When one of them starts running around in circles, then they'll know they have the right one. "…oh, shards, there's probably not a single klahpot on this island," Soriana says. Well, she certainly didn't bring one! The frown only lasts a moment, though, for she's awake (for now) and the prospect of adventure does have some appeal. "I don't think you can hunt fish with a bow," she says, then looks to Idrissa. Whooooo's the daughter of a seacrafter? That's right! "Anyways, so long as we stick to the berries and slugs we recognize, it ought to be okay."

Idrissa takes hold of Soriana's hand once undone from those straps and hops down, brushing herself off and shouldering her pack with a bit of her bow sticking out from it. Her gaze drifts over the area taking everything in while she brushes her hands off. "A… I dono Hotaru." Hidalgo pokes his head up out from his person's jacket, a soft chirrup escaping him. She looks back to Soriana and grins a moment. "Actually, you can hunt them with a bow. Just is not that easy. I'm not to bad if it's a nice sized fish."

Muir grins crookedly, pushing Kenpo onto his shoulder. "They can hunt for us from the living caverns," he says in an undertone, so only Mikal can hear. "Excellent," he says to Hotaru with a smile and a nod. "I don't know how to use one real good but it's nice to have it. I can fish though. Have to make a hook and line. Pretty sure I've got stuff in my pack for that…How long are we here?" he pipes up. He at least looks quite excited.

V'dim, meanwhile, has dismounted and started offloading Candidates, helping them down if they need it and then tossing each of them a curious bundle, all of which are identical. The skies are paling to a golden-peach, the glassy waters of the sea around them reflect it and they'll see the coasts of the southern Xanadu region off to their north, a thin hazy grey line on the horizon that is far too distant to try and swim to. Thus, nothing is swimming to this island, either. As for the comments the Candidates are making about finding food, he merely chuckles. He's just dropped them off on what is basically a huge, moss-covered rock with some pine trees, little to no underbrush growing beneath them, so foraging for food? Will be fairly fruitless. have fun with that? "Alright, listen up!" he calls to the group. when he has their attention, "Take your satchels, bedrolls and one of these packs and we'll head to where we are to camp."

Mikal accepts the bedroll passed over to him from the greedier. Taking a moment to tie it to his backpack he cants his head a moment to listen to Muir's quiet words. A quick grin appears as he nods in appreciation to that! "So you kinda knew this was going to happen?" he wonders of Muir. He spares V'dim a curious look, uncertain of the man and if he's even capable of smiling! Absently he reaches a hand up to stroke Elidor's headknobs, earning a happy croon from the young brown. At the mention of camp though he simply nods and is ready to move on towards camp, having grabbed one of the curious packs. He prods it a bit in an effort to guess the contents.

Hotaru holds up her bow triumphantly. "Hm. I guess we wouldn't have anything to cook the klah in. That's sort of true. Unless someone brought a pot or something." Sad day. How will they stay away to tell ghost stories? Then V'dim is shooing them off. Hotaru straps her bow to her satchel and then picks up a pack like she's told. Oh Faranth, that's a lot of weight! She should have packed lighter snacks.

Bow-fishing! Who'd've thunk it. Not Soriana. She blinks. "Well okay then," she says to Idrissa, and grins, then shakes her head. "I didn't." She grins teasingly as she adds, "Maybe we can use Muir's boots. The smell will keep us awake, even if the bark doesn't." What with being from pine trees, not klah trees. Minor details. She accepts her bundle from V'dim, then nods. Onward to camp! All the comforts of home, riiiiight?

Anoryn moves away from Rysith's side as V'dim begins to toss out those curious bundles, likely overseeing to be sure everyone gets one of them and that there is no bickering. She shakes her head when she overhears the snippets about scavenging for food or hunting and for a moment the greenrider looks tempted to burst the Candidate's bubbles but she bites her tongue. They'll figure it out on their own soon enough. Eventually her path will take her closer to V'dim, though she keeps a respectful distance between herself and the Weyrlingmaster.

With a bunch of teens around the talk of food should be a normal thing, right? Idrissa is about to say something else before she hears V'dim and she looks up blinking a few times. She does as she is told, her pack upon her shoulder, bedroll tied to it and she goes about picking up one of the packs as well. "Where… Is the camp site?" Well she is still curious seeing how they are in the middle of nowhere after all. She grins at Soriana. "I'll have to show you sometime." At the talk of Muir's boot smell keeping them awake she makes a face but is soon following.

Warm gear for rough terrains? Check! Rain gear? Check. Bedroll? Check. Garawan travels around a lot, after all. So he has all the requisite gear, and he knows how to use it. He does not, however, have a bow. At least there will be plenty of them there. He is mostly silent throughout the trip here, and doesn't seem to have much of a reaction to the flying. As they land he takes the bundle handed to him. If it's very heavy, he will wobble with the weight, but he'll try his best not to drop it. He's no big, strong guy! Oh yes. It's notable that he is indeed wearing gloves. This time it's a thicker pair, made of dark brown hide. Clearly he expects to do something that his usual pair of gloves can't handle. Nonetheless, there hasn't been a complaint out of him. Mainly because he's smart enoguh to know it won't do him a damn bit of good.

Zahleizjah probably isn't really cut out for this tactical, survival stuff, and although she's made it through some dire times in her existence, there's an undertone of fret regarding what might happen over the next few days. She did her best getting things together on such sleepy-short notice, more rugged layers to withstand the elements, heavy boots, a bedroll and some odds and ends that will hopefully prove to be useful along the way. There's a sheathed dagger strapped to one thigh, not that she knows how to use it, but it's there. She'll sidle up next to Mikal and grab her belongings with a soft "Hey.. wanna buddy-system with me?" Virikas squees.

'We?' Muir frowns a bit at that as he takes the bundle and peers at it, picking at the wrapping to try and see inside without alerting anyone in authority, just in case it's supposed to be a surprise for later. Shouldering his pack and tucking his bedroll under his arm, he follows after. He nods to Mikal as they walk. "Yeah. They do this every time." Then he turns his head to Soriana, frowning. "My boots don't smell." POUT. "And who knows what I've got in here." Pat pat pat.

Mikal gives a soft 'huh' of surprise as Muir mentions this is done every time. Clearly he's paid little attention to previous candidates since he's coming to Xanadu to live. As Zahleizjah comes up along side him he offers a welcoming smile to her. "Hey there…" she wasn't seen initially when they left but that could be because he wasn't too awake. Fully awake now, who wouldn't be after the straight flight over, he nods at her suggestion. "Sure!" he says agreeably. He too isn't sure how he's going to do within this kind of environment.

"Sure they don't," Soriana replies to Muir. "Must be thinking of someone else's." The teasing grin's still there for him, and then she nods to Idrissa about the bow-fishing demonstration. As she peers out at the waves around them, she hmms. This… is not so much the pleasant beaches of Xanadu with their convenient piers. Things may get interesting, these ten days.

V'dim is capable of smiling. He'll do it when it is most awkward for the hapless candidates and weyrlings though. Most likely when they make a mistake that lands them in a predicament, as long as it isn't life-threatening. He is the taciturn, gruff type, which might explain his stoic manner with the candidates and even his own staff, though he is mild about it most of the time. He nods to Anoryn, she'll probably understand he wants her to take up the rearguard, keep stragglers moving and prevent them from getting lost. Not that the island is huge - they'd eventually find their way to camp anyway, but it's easier this way. He shoulders a much larger pack, the clank of metal might be a heartening sound if they're guessing it contains cookware. "This way," he croaks in his rusty voice and leads them to the edge of the pinnacle and then picks his way down the steep tumble of boulders into a cleft that divides this bit of rock from the main island. "Step carefully," he cautions.

Muir just shrugs and winks at Soriana, trotting along after their guide.


Xanadu Wilds – Cleft

Leading deep into the interior of the island, the cleft nearly splits the island in two lengthwise, rising in elevation as you follow it into the interior of the island. Deep in shadow unless Rukbat is directly overhead, it is roughly 20 to 30 feet deep, vines and ferns clinging to the vertical sides and ferns choking the bottom of the passageway.

The surf is but a whisper here, funneled down the natural corridor while simultaneously muting the sounds from the island's surface above. All around you are tiny stirrings and burblings; the drip of water on stone, the miniscule scratch of claw on stone while the air is scented of damp rock, fresh earth, moss and the pungency of freshly-crushed fern. Passing under moss-blanketed logs that in turns past have fallen and lodged across the chasm, you may see an occasional orchid or mushroom.

Maybe Garawan has a pot? That would be great. A pot! For boiling water. Hotaru is also wearing gloves, the fingerless pair that is part of her normal everyday wear. "They better not smell." She says to Muir about his boots. "They'll attract wild animals." As they start the hike to camp Hotaru finds a stick to help her navigate, and starts to sing. "And I would walk 500 miles… And I would walk 500 more…"

Garawan follows V'dim; he doesn't want to get lost out here! He's one candidate who's not lagging behind. It may be surprising how well he handles the rocky footing here, perhaps he's done it before. Or maybe it's just because he's light. Either way, aside from a stumble or two when loose rocks threaten to send him tumbling down, he doesn't seem to have a lot of difficulty getting down there.

There's only a hint of worry in Mikal's expression. "Can't be too bad here…can it?" he mutters to Zahl. "C'mon then!" time to move out. He follows along behind Muir, assuming Zahl keeps up beside him.

Zahleizjah is good at hiding, some times more than others, but there was no getting out of this 'adventure'. She won't confide that her heart is racing, and her palms are sweaty, but Mikal is adept and may be able to tell by the sigh of relief tell that the Starcrafter is a bit freaked out. "Thanks, I figure we're.. mostly safe right?" is said to Mikal before mentioning "Good thinking Hotaru.." in refernce to her cozy gloves as well as stinky boots. She'll follow closely behind Mikal and Muir.

Muir just rolls his eyes at Hotaru, shaking his head. "My boots do not smell." Someone is getting grumpy. "No, it can't be too bad. They're not going to murder us all. They'll just abandon us here for a while." He also nods a hello to Zah as she joins them.

Idrissa doesn't think they need to worry about wild animals, at least not out on an island after al! She follows along, a curious glance sent over the area and she seems to slip quiet. Hearing Hotaru she sends a slight glance towards Muir. "I bet you could put some smelling sand in them at night or something… If they did smell of course."

Soriana says nothing more about the lack of smell of Muir's boots, just going along with the rest down along the cleft and looking around curiously.

Much can be said in a single nod and Anoryn seems to understand right enough what V'dim's orders may be. That and it's probably logical to assume that the Weyrlingmaster debriefed all the Assistants before hand of The Plan. She inclines her head as well and begins to shift away to make her rounds again of the group as the Candidates organize themselves. Some of the conversations have a vague grin curving her lips and unlike V'dim, Anoryn is a little more at ease… until she's annoyed. Her patience only goes so far! Taking up the rear of the group, she'll shoo at a few straggling Candidates. As they approach the camp, the greenrider will begin to whistle some tune or another, as if nothing is amiss and they aren't all heading towards some unknown spot of land in the middle of no where in the middle of the sea. See? Nothing bad at all!

Zahleizjah returns the nod and hello with a little chuckle and "Y'smell fine t'me.." to Muir. The words she hears in response make the blood rush to her head, she feels a little woozy and says "Abandoned?" A gulp interludes doe-eyed expression, and she stops for just a few seconds and the boys she was following start to pull away. Being alone is.. not an option, so she trots up to close the gap. "Hey 'Rissa! Looks like we both have our bows, maybe we can practice later?" is said with a smile, her gaze looking back a few people to wave at Soriana as well.

V'dim is oblivious to chatter from the candidates it seems. Though he tolerates it patiently, he doesn't join in and since he's in the front, it's unlikely any of them will see the small, wry smiles that ghost his lips now and then. He walks silently until they pass from the confines of that cleft to the bowl-cup where camp will be, moving with an ease that belies his age. For an old guy, he's still hale and fit, that heavy pack carried as if it is nothing. They're likely to be stuck with him as Weyrlings - the ones that impress - for their entire duration of it. Pity them?


Xanadu Wilds - Bowl Falls

The soft music of water dancing upon rock greets you as the narrow declivity gradually opens to a bowl with gently-curved, sides carpeted in emerald-colored moss. Here you may ascend to the rim and access the untamed forest on the surface of the Island.

In one spot a wide section of water pours over the bowl's lip, forming a single sheet that tinkles pleasantly upon rocks at the bottom, a narrow groove providing the runoff to drain out of the bowl and into a crack. Mist rises, but the moisture dissipates, leaving this place a dry and comfortable spot to rest or camp in, the soft carpet providing a natural cushion and the trees overhead sheltering from the sun and rain.

Hotaru pauses the song for a minute. "Did anyone bring a pot?" She grins to Muir. "That's good. In case we have to eat our shoes out here. Of course we'll need a pot to boil them in first." Hotaru peers around as they move across the island. "It won't be horrible here. Unless it rains." Speaking of water… Waterfall! "This spot looks good for a camp."

"How far are we going?" Mikal's question comes out a little louder than perhaps he anticipated. "Find water…right." he knew that. Then his gaze alight son the waterfall and he stops short. "Found it." he says wryly as he gestures. "Well even if you girls can shoot good enough to get us some animals, anyone know how to gut and cook it?" clearly he doesn't. "I don't think your boots smell." is stated almost as an afterthought.

Idrissa grins a bit at Muir. "Just joking with you." She offers with an amused tone before her attention is back to where about they are it seems. She looks over to Zahleizah and smiles while nodding. "Sure, don't see why not." There is a pause. "Well if we get the time." She doesn't want to just assume that they will after all. She is back to looking around, pondering how far they happen to be going as well.

"This is," V'dim says with a faint smile and a nod to Hotaru, "indeed where we will be camping." We he says, so they are stuck with him here as well, but he will likely be unobtrusively watching them and how they react to this entire outing. It's psychological survival folks! He'll be taking notes too. "We have no tents, so we'll be sleeping under the stars." Well, and the trees overhead. "There are tarps to cover yourselves with if it rains and in the packs you've been given are all the food rations you need for ten days - dried meat, crackers, root vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, sugar, tea and klah. There are also first aid supplies, hooks and fishing lines, wood and tinder, since the island has little deadwood. These islands are a giant boulder with high cliffs on all sides. I don't want anyone falling off them!" He sends each of them a stern look that easily reads, 'be careful!' "There is a very narrow ring of sand beach at extreme low tide, which you may access through the cleft that divides the pinnacle from the main island. You may swim there. Otherwise this is a fortress from which you cannot get off and no one can get onto. There will be no felines or snakes here, so please don't worry about those." And that's pretty much it. He begins unloading cooking pots, a klah pot, eating utensils and more foodstuffs - bacon, eggs, fresh fruit, soft rolls - the last perishable things they'll have to eat for ten days. Their breakfast will be ready shortly but they'll need to cook it. V'dim just smiles, gestures to the supplies and saunters off, leaving them to do it.

Continues in: Breakfast of Champions

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