Staring Skywards

Xanadu Weyr - Clock Tower
The walls of the tower are the same dark gray stones that make up the outside of the tower. The central portion of the structure is open, so that one may stand in the center of the structure and see the top. Well…almost the top. A ceiling cuts off the view to whatever it is that's at the very top of the tower. Very little light comes in, just tiny beams of light from the arrow-slits in the walls. The floor is of dark hardwood slats, thin enough to have been worked easily but thick enough to provide protection from insects and wildlife that might be trying to get in.
A wooden staircase is built along wall, one that spirals up and up around the inner wall of the structure. It leads a workshop, where along every wall there are…clocks, of course! Clocks of just about every configuration one could think of, and quite a few that are outlandish enough to escape one's consideration at first. While most of these clocks are working, there are more than a few of them that aren't. The gentle ticking sounds fill the space, the clocks almost always perfectly in sync with each other - and with the ticking from the movement of the big clock above - and the sounds mingling together to form an ordered cacophony of sounds.
Clock parts are strewn across a table in one corner. There are a couple of cabinets with parts in them like the ones downstairs—parts that are significantly smaller than those on the first floor. These are obviously for the smaller clocks that are built here. There are no less than two large grandfather clocks in this workshop, both working.
A thick support threads through a large hole in the center of the floor, extending from below to above. A chain hangs beside it too, anchored high above, and the spiral staircase continues up, past a door on the outside and on to more storage space, dedicated to piles of crates with springs and "little" parts for the clocktower's main movement. Of course, the word "little" may not be the best way to describe it; some of these springs and levers are longer than a man's arm. And some of the gears in these crates a man could actually put his arm through the middle of easily.

Hey look, it's night. It's daringly close to that curfew thing and yet Valerian doesn't seem to much care. He's climbed up the side of the clock tower, despite the perfectly good trap door and much safer stairs leading up to it from the ground and was now laying on the roof with his arms folded behind his head. Grey eyes are cast towards the sky and the stars above, slowly drawing and letting out breath after breath. Calm, relaxed, not annoying the crap out if anyone.

Creep. Creep. Creep. Slow, quiet steps carry Ricki up the inner staircase, the candidate determined to make as little noise as possible, just in case someone is paying attention and takes note of that white knot on her shoulder. Reaching the top, she lifts the trap door -just enough- to peek out, not catching sight of anyone - with Vale laying down and all - and steps out onto the roof with a soft sigh.

Man, when was the last time that someone repaired those stairs or oiled that hatch? Valerian heard Riki coming from miles away and only once the creak and soft thump of the hatch closing is complete does he prop himself up on his elbows to peek over his shoulder at her. Mischievous grey eyes sparkle even in the dark and he places a finger over his lips before jerking his head for her to come take that cozy place beside him. While the starcrafter was not very stealthy, he could scale himself up to places that were pretty high, this not being the first time he'd bent the rules a little. Candidacy, meant a complete turn around for his schedule, which had been entirely night oriented and regardless of how much time had passed he still was rather sleepy and groggy when the sun was up. "It's hard to sleep at night…" he says soft and low, which wasn't anything new. It had almost become his mantra.

Hopefully, while Vale heard Ricki, the tower itself prevented any one outside from doing so, but well, who knows. As there is movement in the shadows, Ricki freezes, like a deer caught in the headlights, until her eyes adjust and she identifies her fellow candidate, letting out her head breath. "Shards, Vale. You -scared- me." Though, truly, she should have known it was probably him. As he indicates the spot next to him, she glances up at the sky for a moment, enjoying it before she moves to settle down comfortably beside him. "Definitely can't argue that that one.." She agrees, voice soft as to not carry. "Though, I think we have different reasons."

Silently, the starcrafter's shoulders bob, and yep there it is…that toothy wolfish smile of his that promised all sorts of nonesense and detailed very little about any of it. Well, other than it guaranteed fun, for him at least. His gaze follows Riki after she finishes her star check and wanders over to take the place he had offered, simply returning to his original position and lets out a heavy sigh, although upturned lips remain. "Eggs still bothering you?" he asks, turning his head and looking over at her, for once his features smoothed out and even rather than forever tipped towards the amusement that he seemingly found in everything and everyone.

Glancing over her shoulder at Vale as he settles back down, she grins a little, shaking her head, and then she is shifting to join him and stare up at the skies. His question has her jump, and then she is shivering with an awkward, laying down shrug. "One of the weyrlingmasters cornered me today, and made me go back and touch them again. Said that they are suppose to be getting used to us, and we're suppose to get used to them. I don't know if it was any better." Chewing on her lip, she peers up at the sky, shaking her head. "Faranth, I'm not sure I *want* to know what comes out of some of them." Ricki remains quiet for a long moment, enjoying the quiet and the darkness, before she is talking again. "And I couldn't find Niko, because of course, he never is in his own sharing bed." And the tone of her voice changes, threatening to betray what the darkness would otherwise conceal.

The next person coming up the stairs is not so concerned about stealthiness. The spiral stair case creaking and wrattling with her ascent, "Chlora are you up here?" Kelani calls out in a strained voice as she comes up. The trapdoor is pushed up and a curly head pokes through, "Chlora?" She calls again sounding a bit breathless and her features showing some discomfort much like when she touched some of those eggs. The sight of the night sky overhead brings her obvious relief and she pulls herself up on the roof before she realizes others here. "Oh sorry…" She says as she catches her breath, "I don't suppose you have seen a green firelizard up here?"

Valerian's brows lift, "Made you?" he asks, seeming surprised at that and a furrow quickly follows. "That doesn't…" Well, he lets the rest drop off, because its implied given his expression and tone. Huffing out a soft sound, he turns his eyes back towards the sky and they slowly drift or dart from here to there at points of interest that perhaps only he understands. "Odd." Ah yes, Vale, boy of few words. It wasn't that he didn't want to be supportive, he just didn't know what to say. Whatever his own opinion of the eggs, he keeps it to himself. "I'm not entirely sure of the protocol, first clutch and all…but…" Egg touching was sort of one of those things that candidates had to so. Knowing that they both were well aware of this fact, he moves on and his grin returns in spades, "Could always drop out of the running." There go the shoulders again, boobing with his silent laughter, grey eyes having found their way back to the girl laying beside him with a simple slight turn of his head. Yeah, tat wasn't something people just did. For whatever reason, tradition or whatnot, being asked to stand for even a small clutch of dragon eggs was considered an honor. Head nearly splitting in two with the broadness of all those teeth, "You want me to find him?" And probably drop him off a ledge somewhere is suggested despite not being said. Not that he would actually do that. No. Creaking stairs, hatched opened and closed, the sound of yet another female voice and the starcrafter is back up on his elbows and looking up and over at Kelani, "Nope. Where'd you see her last?"

"Well, you know. Strongly suggested." Ricki counters back, rolling her eyes a little with a sigh. "And no, I can't. I mean.. I won't. Everyone keeps telling me it will be fine, and that they are just growing and learning." And then she is saved from having to actually reply to the question about finding Niko by the creaking hatch, and Ricki is frozen in place. As yet another candidate steps forth, she blinks a few times before the young woman's question registers and she shakes her head, even as she is propping herself up on an elbow to peer across the top of the clocktower. "The one flying around the other day? Haven't seen her.." Not that she's been looking, really.

Kelani can't help but pick up the tone of the conversation as she sits at her place on the roof. "Them eggs, eh? Some of them are the stuff of nightmares I reckon, but hard to know if its ours or theirs." She gives a little shrug and glances up at the sky, her breath coming back under control. Winded from the climb or scared? "I injured out the first time I was a candidate…and well my heart wasn't in it either way, but I left with regrets." She gives a little shrug before giving a look around and nods to the questions, "Yeah, she is due to clutch soon and figured she has gone off to lay some eggs somewhere…and knowing her it will be somewhere very awkward." She says with a sigh and even though her quarry is not in sight here, she remains seated near the hatching, not quite ready to head down into the darkness again.

To Riki, "Strongly advised?" Watch those shoulder go, chuckling freely, because if there was anything they had all come to understand is that strongly advised from a Weyrlingmaster pretty much meant the same thing as against your will, whether you liked it or not you were going to do the thing. "The lure of dragon eggs…" a soft exhale from Valerian, but it was yet another sentence he doesn't appear plan finishing. The idea of what was to follow already there and so attention is shifted over what he might be willing to do to Nikolan and directly to the new arrival. There is nothing to be said about the eggs or what they are made of, remaining silent as Kelani regales her tale of former candidacy or the loss of very impregnated firelizards, eventually returning to that whole laying down and cradling the back of his head thing he'd been up to before all the estrogen and curves arrived. He wasn't trying to be rude, but the matter was of some importance to the curly haired woman, and he had nothing useful to add or anyway to distract her presently from her distress. He'd learned in his long sixteen turns, that sometimes it was a man's place to just keep his mouth shut and not add anything to the conversation.

Shifting, Ricki resettles onto her side propping her hand in her hand as she peers across Vale, watching Kelani settle down. "Yeah?" She asks after a moment, as the other young woman discusses her previous candidacy. "Were the eggs there odd, too?" It seems to be a question that Ricki has been dying to ask someone other than her father - or some one else happy to sugar coat the answer. The explanation of the firelizard does get a shrug though. "She is a green, greens do that." And there is a probably a reason Ricki doesn't have any of the creatures around her. Eyes slip back to Vale as he pillows his head, one hand lightly touching his arm, silently apologizing for ruining his silence, before it is settling back on her side.

Kelani shakes her head slightly, "I kept avoiding them and by time I decided…that I wanted to stay and I hurt my ankle quite badly and had to leave." She responds giving a little wrinkle of her nose to indicate her embaressment over that fact. "Though a friend says that his clutch was quite…harsh in the shell but most hatched even tempered dragons, the darkest of the eggs hatching out the bubbliest of the dragons." She offers as assurance, "If that holds true, that brown one may end up quite sacharine." She says with a hopeful if uncertain smile. "Yeah, this is the first time she rose…and with my friend's blue no less."

The starcrafter doesn't seem the least bit upset or irritated by the 'interruption' of his quiet sky staring time, not a trace of tension in his frame or even a hit of tightness across his shoulders. He simply lets the women folk discuss woes and worries, breathing never having deviated from that gentle and eased in and out, aside from when he'd found enough amusement to fuel the bouncing of his shoulders. He had no comparison to give and no crucial data to plug into the equation and mystery that was a shelled sentient being who may or may not fuse forever with them on that deeply mental and emotional level. The soft touch to Valerian's arm brings his attention back down from the sky and grey eyes slide over to Riki, who gets a warm smile return. Apology accepted, and not needed. Her fingers were away before he could shift position and return the gesture even if that was something he was prone to do, so he returns to stargazing and keeps to himself. His tiny blue lump was around somewhere, but Nova was a creature of the night as well and usually wasn't around unless he had to be. Whatever he did in that time, Vale might not ever know, but it was fun to think about it sometimes and it might every well be the reason why the starcrafter was chuckling to himself seemingly out of no where and at nothing at all suddenly.

"Oh.." Ricki's simply response is heavy with disappointment, sighing as she flips back onto her back, staring up at the sky, letting Kelani finish her explanation without an actual witness to the indication of her embarrassment. She absently nods as the talk of the eggs turns to dragons who are total opposites, and then to fire lizards again. She starts to say something, but then quickly quiets herself - probably a betrayal that it was something potentially mean about the small creatures, and instead looks back up at the stars, trying to follow Vale's gaze. "Is there anything interesting to see, tonight?" She asks softly.

As the other grow quiet, Kelani takes a breath and looks prepared to head down below when she notes the purpose of their gaze and she turns her own gaze skyward. Her hazel gaze tracking across the constellations above and doing so seems to make the stress fall from her features. A look of someone also familiar to the night sky, "Da and I used to look up at the stars together and while we studied the real names, we oft gave them names of our own." She motions to one set of stars , "We called that one the Harp.." Her words just above a reverent whisper.

"Hmm?" Valerian breaks his self-imposed silence and glances over at Riki, brows shooting upwards, "Oh, um…no. I mean…" There's the smile all teeth and restrained laughter behind it, rolling his eyes back upwards towards the sky. "…probably not generally for non-starcrafters…" Awkward and he knows it, wincing but not at the expense of losing any the momentum of that wolfy-grin of his. "The Masters are pretty excited about a potential supernova they've been monitoring for the last couple of months, but its not expected to happen till late autumn, early winter…and not observable without the big telescope so…" Do not, ladies, get this kid started on starstuff, he will talk your ear off rather excitedly and then pick your ears up off the ground and continue chattering on until his bones were long dust. He'd find a way, believe you me. He tips his head back as it was the laziest way to accomplish looking for Kelani that required the least amount of effort, "My dad and I used to when I was younger, that's what got me interested in the starcraft. We didn't make up names though…" He follows the motion towards the sky and finds the cluster that the seated woman indicates and his grin somehow widens, "Oh yeah, that one." Soft laughter follows, "I could see why you picked it."

"What is it actually called?" Ricki asks, letting the talk about the supernova and telescope go without pressing Vale for more information - for now - and instead letting her gaze be guided to the 'Harp' indicated by Kelani. "We.." Pause. "This wasn't really something dad and I ever did." But at the same time, it doesn't necessarily sound like regret in her tone. "I mean, I saw different ones, when we happened to be North, but…" She shrugs, resting an arm behind her head and staring up at the sky, eyes slipping from star to star. "Are there other ones, that are easy to see?" Just like there was no regret in her previous statement, there are no patronizing tones in that question - just honest curiosity.

Kelani keeps her face turned up to the sky as she looks from one constellation to the next, "Yeah, my dad is a Harper, so often we gave them instrument names though we looked up the real names as well. It helps..well not make the world so dark at night if you can look up and see the lights in the sky." She takes a steadying breath and looks back to the others, "Well I better get on with my search." She gives a little nod to the pair and heads back to the hatch, "Don't stay up too late, its near curfew." She suggests to the pair before taking a quick breath, squaring shoulders as if heading into the breach…that the darkness is to her and disapears down the stairs once more.

What could Valerian say to that other than, "Yeah?" His adopted father was was farmer and his birth father a bronzerider he barely knew, and neither relationship or any in his life had made the night a place that needed to be feared. Hence, the darkness that Kelani includes in her reply that is taken at face value, "Well, it is night time…" You know, dark in that sense. Unsurprising, there is laughter that comes at mention of lateness and curfew, probably because he had no intention of taking it as anything than under advisement. "Noted, careful on your way down…" There was a loose step that only wiggled on descent somewhere between the top and middle, and the last thing that anyone wanted was more busted ankles. "…loose step." Grey eyes back to the stars and head back into a more comfortable position, Vale finds the cluster that had been pointed out and refers to its proper name, randomly, but at least has the decency to point at it before he does. "Or Cluster 436-A…" Starcrafters, pfft. As for ones that were easier to see? "Well…its not exactly something that happens everyday or anything, but sometimes. Supernovas are dying stars collapsing in on themselves as they use up the last of their energy…it's like…the last hurrah before they turn into dwarfs or black holes…"

Ricki lifts her head to watch as Kelani excuses herself to return to her search, offering a waggle of her fingers. "Good luck. Hope you find her.." And then she is settling back to peek up at the star, wrinkling up her nose. "I think I like 'Harp' better. How would you ever keep all of those straight." She mutters, shaking her head and rolling her eyes, though the later movement likely goes unseen. "Huh.. I guess I learned something today." Something actually sort of cool.

There was definitely a laugh for that whole nose crinkle and preference statement, "It's a mix of passion and practice…and testing. A lot of testing…" So much testing. "On one hand I'm glad for the excuse to get out of some of that, even if it means a lot of catching up to do once this whole candidate thing is over, but on the other I really do miss the excitement." Probably the kind of excitement someone of the starcraft would understand, but there is stretch of arms up above his head and the rest of him for that matter before he just sort of flops and leaves everything where it lays. He was still smiling, as if all was right with the world, and for him it likely was. Grey eyes wander back to Riki briefly, smile to grin. "When are you going to take my offer up on learning to climb? It might help you keep your mind off of 'he that shall not be named' and wear you out enough to let you sleep…" Valerian? He was going to be drowsy and sleepy (mostly asleep at whatever task he was assigned)trying to stay awake during the day as usual, but he generally perked up as the sun went down.

"If you say so.. I think I'll stick to people watching." If that is what you want to call something that could arguably be called spying, sure. As he flops and sprawls, Ricki laughs softly, shaking her head as she stares back up at the sky, though her form even in this situation is far more composed and orderly. "Maybe tomorrow. When it is light out though.. I would rather see what I am doing if I am going to fall and break everything, and ruin everyone's hopes." She laughs softly, mostly joking. Mostly. "It is just.. I don't know. Part of me wonders where he goes every night. And part of me absolutely -hates- that I care so much."

Valerian wasn't going to begrudge the girl her free will on what she decided for herself, not a Weyrlingmaster after all, and so he simply shrugs his shoulders and chuckles to himself, "To each their own." Vale? He would stick to the stars, finding people a nice enough distraction now and then, but they were for the most part unconscious when he was awake. Which meant, the most of his contact with others, was with members of the starcraft. However at mention of the evil of daylight, his body finds the stiffness that it had lacked until then, giving Riki a long suffering look. "Daytime?" Ew. The dreaded daystar that lulled him to sleep as if it were made of melatonin, the exact opposite of every other person on the planet. Maybe Valerian's brain was just wired differently, which only enough was the conclusion of some of the craftmasters, considering he was studious and got excellent grades but liked to stir up 'fun' as he called it, whenever he could. Catch twenty-two, keep the promising starcraft apprentice or kick his troublemaking butt right out. Decisions, decisions.

"Mmhmm, Daytime. Like a normal person." Ricki teases gently, aiming a gentle elbow nudge at whatever body part of his is sprawled within reach. "Some of us aren't all.. nocturnal." A yawn, and she stretches slowly, pushing herself into a seated position. "In fact.. I think that is a sign for me to to go bed. Before I turn into you and wake up somewhere random." A smile, and she slowly gets to her feet. "Thanks, Vale.." For what? Being around, probably.

Now it was Valerian's turn to wrinkle his nose and look like someone just kicked his puppy, sighing and returning his gaze to his beloved stars. There was resignation in the heaviness of that exhale, "Fine, but I can't promise being at my best…" Or being awake for that matter, which…y'know, always safe when scaling yourself up vertical surfaces high off the ground. Riki's yawn was not contagious in the least, not after having rested more or less out of necessity on and off throughout the day, once again looking her way as she moves in progressive steps towards departure, her works firing up the return of all those teeth in all that wolfish glory. "That was not my fault…" SOMEBODY had thought it was 'funny' (and it totally was) to move him while he was passed out so when he woke up in a place he had never seen before in his life and had to find a way back to civilization all on his own, he'd at least had the opportunity to learn more about the deeper parts of the weyr. Which, would have had more meaning for him, if he had access to the sky. Napping (totally passed out with no hope of waking) wasn't something he wanted to do. He was trying to do his assigned chores and keep up with all the manual labor and such, but his body wasn't having it. Grey eye follow Riki's slow rise, far more interesting than bread dough (quicker too). "Not sure what for, but you're welcome?" Laughter, the kind that comes from a place of warmth rather than dismissal. He waits until she's almost away and he's long since returned his eyes skyward, "Seriously though Riki, I got a ledge all picked out for him. Just give me the word." Cause nobody puts Baby in the corner.

With quiet feet, Ricki has moved to the trap door, and is most of the way through it, pausing at those words, a little crooked smile appearing on her face, before she is slipping down the clocktower steps without another word.

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