Xanadu Weyr - Beach
The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.
The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.
A break between one cycle of dragon-bathing and another finds Marel sat staring out across water no longer made frothy and choppy by dragons paddling and splashing their way through their baths. The evidence of their having been there still remains, deep gouges in the wet sand not quite reclaimed by the waves, and it's in one of these less than perfect paw-prints that the dark-haired girl has planted her right hand, either accidentally or now long past musing on the disparity in size. She doesn't appear to care about what the wet sand is doing to her trousers, for her entire outfit is soaked through, even the long plait she's woven her hair into.
Things may be quiet at the moment, but apparently they're not supposed to stay that way, for Soriana's just been sent to help out with dragon-washing duty. She comes heading over this way with some more dragon-washing supplies, only to have her steps slow as she sees the beach… well, lacking in dragons. "…huh," she says, and strolls the rest of the way to set down her supplies with the others. Not so much for her to do right now. Maybe the next round will be bigger than usual? Nobody gave her details. For now, though, she's definitely supposed to be here, there's no work to do, and there's a Marel. Sori pushes back a stray bit of her own hair that's escaped the tie, and heads toward the other Candidate. "Hey."
Presumably, Marel's kit is hidden under the upturned buckets in varying sizes all sat together in a neat little line, looking the faintest bit like a series of nesting dolls. It's in no danger of being swept away by the waves, and yet there is the first place she looks, as if Soriana's greeting is meant to alert her to something. Kit still intact, she glances back over her other shoulder to track her fellow Candidate's path closer, sandy left hand lifted in a shallow wave. "Hey," she responds in kind. "They said about half a dozen from their wing will be here shortly." Whoever 'they' are. "The last lot looked like they'd been wading through mud. Maybe they /had/ been."
When she reaches Marel, Soriana settles down in the sand as well. She nods to the report. "C'per just told me to come down here and help," she says, then hehs. "Probably. Maybe they had to go to Mire Hold or something. I've heard that place is mud, mud and more mud… and some crawlies slithering through the mud." She grins, and after a moment she adds, "Y'know, there's something we can be glad about. They didn't leave us in a swamp."
"Then we'd have all come back with foot rot," Marel says dryly, extending one leg to regard what can be seen of it not covered by cut-off trousers. Definitely more twiggy than slender right now, the effect not one that she's pleased with, if the critical dip of her brows is anything to go by. "Not just wishing never to see a fish or moss ever, ever again." She shrugs and folds back up, slanting a look across at Soriana when she remarks, "Well, it seemed to suit Muir well enough. I'm not sure that /I/ would have liked to have been out there much longer."
"Y'know," Soriana says with a contemplative tone, "That's likely why they didn't do it. The air vents in the barracks are the same system as over the sands. The smell would never come out." She grins, then, and puts her hands behind her to lean back a bit and look up at the sky. "I know what you mean," she says. "It was fun… at first. And Muir took to it like… well, like a fish to water." She laughs, then sobers again as she continues. "I like going out in the woods and getting dirty… but I like coming back to a hot bath, too."
"I don't mind /work/, but I don't want to go out and work all day and come home to wet weather and no pillows," Marel admits, her small smile more of a pained grimace, tone full of self-derision. "Maybe I've been spoiled, but I /like/ pretty things. There was nothing pretty about that island, except maybe the water. Sometimes." She shivers in spite of herself, arms knotting loosely around her knees. "It's not an experience I'd care to repeat. I understand /why/ we were made to, but…" Brows knit again as she considers, "Hang on - do you have to go through that /every time/ you Stand? What if you're someone who doesn't Impress for turns and turns?"
Soriana chuckles, because she's had that hot bath and there were pillows on her bed (a real bed!) last night. "I dunno, I thought it was pretty. In a sort of… serene way. Kinda made you feel small and thoughtful." Sori shrugs, her own posture still the leaned-back one, looking up at the big blue sky. She glances over to Marel. "Yeah? Why do you think? Make us all work together or something?" Her gaze rests on the other girl. "I guess… yeah. We didn't last time I stood, with Yumeth's clutch, but…" Things were weird all around, that time, and Soriana gives her head a brisk little shake. "I guess you'd have to keep doing it. V'dim doesn't seem like he'd take 'been there, done that' as an answer, y'know?"
"I don't like feeling small," Marel murmurs, voice soft enough for her words to potentially be missed entirely. Gaze meeting Soriana's, she shrugs one shoulder and shares, "I thought it was more about looking after yourself and others. I mean, if you can't look after yourself, how can you raise a dragon? /And/ work with the dragon. You can't just tell them to go away for a while. We couldn't tell each other to go jump off the edge of the island." Couldn't. Shouldn't. Same thing. "But no," she agrees, "I don't think 'Please, sir, I did this last time' would be an answer he'd take any kind of seriously."
Maybe the waves drown out Marel at first, maybe they don't. Certainly, Soriana doesn't say anything back about that part. She tilts her head at Marel's theory about the island, then says, "Yeah, but taking care of a dragon at a Weyr's got nothing to do with whether you know how to fish. I mean, sure, responsibility and all," she waves a vague hand, "-but taking care of yourself doesn't have to mean being rugged." She grins crookedly. "It can mean making things pretty for someone else who wants to do the rugged parts." She nods about V'dim, and her gaze returns to the sky overhead. "Well, we could, but it would've been a bad idea." Different things.
Uncurling all at once, Marel drops back to the sand, arms flopped inelegantly down by her sides. "I don't mean all the literal stuff," she replies. "I mean more that… not giving up. Doing things you don't want to do, because you're exhausted. Figuring things out. Not yelling at the person who's been winding you up for three days straight." Well, she didn't do any yelling; she can't speak for anyone else. "They'll all say it taught us a lesson however any of us look at it, so as long as we got /something/ from it, I suppose they'll think it was a job well done." She snorts. "Even if that something was knowing you don't want to do it again."
To that, Soriana nods agreement. "Yeah." Her expression is serious for a moment, and then a smile quirks her lips. "Building character. Or maybe testing it." Maybe (probably) doing both. "Besides," she adds, "It's the dragons that decide, so it doesn't matter whether we got something or not. The thing about lessons is, they end. Some of them are fun, some of them suck, but then you pass the test and the lesson is over."
Marel lies there staring up at the sky for a few moments, green eyes glassy with distant thoughts. "…I don't know that lessons ever really end," she sighs, pushing herself into motion; to roll onto her side and begin to clamber slowly to her feet, sand covering a good two-thirds of her. "Or that they should." Pawing at the end of her plait just makes it all the more sandy and prompts a glance over at the ocean. "I'm going to wash all this off before the next lot reach us," she declares, a few quick steps carrying her into the shallows just as wing beats might be heard overheard. She'll make short work of shedding her coating of sand, soon ready to reclaim brushes and buckets and get back to work.
"Maybe you're right," Soriana says after a moment, watching as Marel rises to her feet. "I guess there's always something new to learn… even if it's from the same old things." As, for instance, washing dragons. Maybe this time she'll learn something new - because sure enough, dragons are incoming, and Soriana rises to get her own bucket and brush and busy herself with muddy dragons… enough of them to make it clear why she was assigned as extra help, and to mean there's not much chance for further conversation.