It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Xanadu Weyr - Candidate Barracks

A long, low ceiling room opens off the entrance hall to the arena, one wall slightly curved as it is set against the outer wall of the arena itself. Cots are set evenly the length of the room, in two rows, each with its own small press at the foot, for personal belongings. Wide windows are spaced along the outside wall, letting sunlight in, while other lights are available for the night time hours.

It's very late in Xanadu Weyr, somewhere near midnight. Overhead a heavy thunderstorm rumbles, sending flickering light into the windows of the darkened barracks and pouring rain beats upon the roof. Through it all, some of the candidates sleep the sleep of the exhausted, having freshly returned from survival camp. How they are sleeping upon the bare floor so soundly is likely due to the activity of the past several days in the wilderness. And why are they on the floor? It's because they returned after dark to find their cots piled, unassembled in the center of the barracks and most were simply too tired to try and match parts to re-assemble, though some may be attempting it. The power seems to have JUST flickered off, perhaps a hit to the lines or something.

Phylicia may be sleepy come midnight, but she's also used to the activities they were just subjected to over the past sevenday. The rations might have been a little lighter than she's used to, but with a meal and a hot (LONG) bath that's been remedied to a point. She sits on the floor, with a few of the parts around her with a small group of other candidates while some of the others sleep soundly. What's a little more racket over a thunderstorm? Though as the power flickers out, she looks up at the lights and lets out a defeated sigh. "At least with the hammocks we were off of hard ground…" She grumbles to one of the few people near her, helping with the attempt.

Natishen is amongst those gathered around Phylicia, though his eyes are shadowed and he yawns frequently. Clearly, he considers cots more important than sleep. Running a hand through his loose, damp hair, he leans forward and picks up a cross-beam, studying it curiously. "I think this is one of the braces," he says, then flinches as the lights flicker, automatically scooting closer to the healer-turned-Candidate.

And among those building cots would be Rished, though he's a bit off to a side while he examines the various pieces. From the look of utter concentration on his features, he's very likely constructing a mental image of how it all assembles before he actually sets himself to work. The flicker of the lights draws a frown and the once-Woodcrafter squints into the resulting darkness. "… uh." Perhaps there's a thought attached to the sound … but, he's entirely too tired to attach words to it. Rio's question just earns him a slightly confused, "Dunno?"

Dim glowlight wavers in the doorway, obviously on the move and being carried by someone as it grows brighter. At the door to the barracks the bearer stops and shucks boots and a rain-damp jacket by the door. Padding through the room in sockfeet with glow held aloft. Shadows dance as the person steps around and over bodies on the floor, checking to see if all is well or if any are frightened. As the light approaches the center of the room, the circle falls upon the whispering group assembling cot parts and pauses while the scene is processed. There's a small, "Ohhh" of comprehension and then Thea's hushed voice that asks, "How's it coming guys?" The glow is lowered to the floor, casting an ambient golden glow on the faces of those circled there.

"The weather did, is my guess." Phylicia supplies in a tight tone to Rio, which some of the other might notice she adopts around thunderstorms. Maybe there's a reason besides not having cots that Phy isn't asleep right now. In the darkness her gaze flits to where Nash was, just a few moments ago, willing her eyes to adjust. "It might be? They didn't happen to leave you know… a drawing, or diagram or anything, did they?" She's blinking then, as a soft glow comes from the doorway, somewhat negating the need for her eyes to adjust. "I'm not sure it's coming at all." Her voice isn't any less tight or controlled, even as it sounds slightly sour just then.

Natishen shakes his head, not that she can see it, and scrunches closer. Storms he has no issue with - he's been known, after all, to play in them. But clearly, he has problems with the dark. "Uhm," he says, voice shifting between treble and baratone on that one sound. "Uhm, no they didn't. Miss Thea," he says, with heartfelt relief as she comes in, bearing light. "The lights went out." Thank you, Candidate Obvious.

Rio is awake now. Maybe not completely, but his eyes are open, and his brain is at least attempting to process information. It takes him a moment to realize what happened, hearing the thunder outside, and Phylicia's comment. "Oh. Well, shards…." If he'd been about to continue, he pauses when the glow arrives. He looks up in time to see Thea in the doorway. He yawns. "Oh…hello there," he offers sleepily, rubbing his eyes again as they adjust to the dim light. "Bit late for a stroll, isn't it?" He chuckles. Seems like even half-asleep, there's some of that trademark cheek.

"I know how they go together," Rished says after a moment or two, perhaps with the only /real/ hint of confidence he's shown this entire time. His fingers fuss just a little with whatever piece just happened to be in his hands when the lights went out. "It, uh. It's not too hard. It's just- uh. Hard to do without light." There's an owlish blink and then a brief, futile widening of his eyes before his attention is drawn to the glow. "Oh. Uh. Hi." Squint.

Thea shushes Rio laughingly as she passes him. "Don't wake the kids." Meaning the younger candidates sleeping there nearby. "Was checking on Seryth," is her explanation for being here. Well, not -here- but… in the area. She flickers a concerned glance at Phy for her tone, but doesn't comment to that. Instead she smiles warmly at Natishen, "So I noticed." That glow is set on top of the pile of cot parts where it can shine, dimly as it is being an older glow while she herself sinks down to sit cross-legged upon the floor beside Rished, "Aren't you guys tired?"

"Too tired to sleep," Nash yawns at Thea, before offering her a lopsided smile. "Wanted to get these done so we'd all have comfortable places to sleep again. But, uhm… we aren't quite sure how they go." He turns the crosspiece over in his hands, then picks up a similar length and studies them carefully. "I think these are the braces for the foot and head… but I'm not sure." There's an embarassed flush to his cheeks as he admits his lack of knowledge.

"I'm just, uh. Not tired enough to sleep on the floor again," Rished offers up, then slants a look in Natishen's direction when he speaks. "Huh? No, I, uh, I know how, but we need a little more light." Because a single glow? That's just not going to cut it. "It's not, uh. Not hard, but two people working on one at a time would be a good idea. Putting things together is just one of three things I'm any good at," is more-or-less added under his breath on a sigh.

Hmm. Color Thea confused. "But there are no mattresses?" She gives the pile a dubious look. Her one glowlight is aided - or is that hindered by the continual flicker of lightening coming in the windows. "I have no idea how to put these together," she whispers to the group in general, "but if you tell me what to do, I'll help."

"Well I don't," Nash replies crankily. Yes, someone is definitely up way past his bedtime. "An' no one's gone and told me how." Biting his lip, he slants a look at the weyrwoman, giving her an apologetic frown. "Sorry, Rio," he sighs. "Just… tired." And cranky. "Want me t' run and get some more glows? I don't mind a li'l rain."

Rished rubs a bit at his forehead, eyes squinching shut for a long moment or two before he speaks again. "No, it's okay," is uttered for Natishen. "Don't need you going and, uh, getting sick or something." His mouth pulls a little to a side and a sleepy warble from where his cot /would/ be is finally uttered. There's the soft flap of 'lizardly wings and then silence as his sleepy three are sent Between. "Just need about a handful of those bolts, I think, if you want to get 'em," is aimed to Nash, even as he shifts a bit to feel around with the bed he's already more-or-less assembled. "Oh, uh. It's not- I can't really explain it that well," he adds apologetically, voice pitched low. "Just have to set up one side, then the other before working the braces in. It'll go pretty, uh, quickly."

Thea sits there for a few more seconds, watching. Her offer to help, perhaps wisely ignored. "Natishen, there's curfew, so please don't leave. And the others need to sleep." She rises, "Seryth is calling. I'll just leave the glow with you." And with that she departs as quietly as she came.

Natishen watches Thea go, lips trembling open to call her back, but she's gone before he can do more than just get out the letter "Nuh". Sighing, he turns back to Rished, eyeing the older Candidate. "Well. I can at least hand you stuff." And he does so, gathering up the bolts he asked for and scooting over to offer them to him.

Rio sort of fell asleep there for a minute, still not quite awake. The scooting around wakes him, though. And his sudden movement has him falling over onto his side. "Whoops." He sits up again, yawning hugely, and scratches his head. Noticing activity, he nears and inquires, "Need any help?"

"I- uh. Oh." Blankstare. Rished opens his mouth to speak again but finds no words readily at hand and, so, lapses into a bit of silence while he attempts to find the tool he'd retrieved earlier. His trio are busy enough and, soon, return with a smallish basket. It's dropped rather unceremoniously, the glowing contents being jostled a fair bit. "Thanks," is offered to Natishen for the bolts, with a sudden, deep knitting of his forehead while he considers the puzzle. Eventually, a cot skeleton is properly outlined and he seats himself at the foot, working on attaching the bottom of a side brace to that footer. "Uh, sure. Actually, I think we can get a few made between the three of us."

Rio nods and sits down again, nearer where the cots are beginning to take shape. "Good idea," he agrees, and looks to the pieces. He blinks, though…trying to decide where to begin. Finally he inquires, "Um…what goes where?" Apparently mechanical things are not his forte.

"Oh. Um. Here, sit on this side, with me, and work on getting a bolt," he extends a hand, intending to drop one in Rio's if he accepts, "in the hole on that end. The bar should line up with the hole just fine, but if not, don't, uh, force it. We can move it if it needs to be." With a bit more light finally being cast on the situation — much to the chagrin of a few candidates who were trying to sleep — he demonstrates just what needs to be done and how with a bit more explanation. "Then we do the other side, and then put the braces in place."

Rio listens carefully, accepting the bolt when it's offered. "Oh, I see," he notes, and moves to where Rished indicated. "Hmm…." he offers quietly. He begins to bolt the frame back together as Rished demonstrates what goes where. Rio may not have a whole lot of knowledge of things like this, but he's a relatively quick learner, and has decent problem-solving skills, so he's not too incompetant. In fact, his hands are pretty nimble in putting the bolts back in, since he's used to working with small threads and needles.

Rished slides over a few more bolts and then moves to scoot to the other side once his end is sufficiently tightened. He's naturally quick about it, but, then, this is the kind of work he /does/. Once it seems that Rio's got the gist of it, he just nods and settles a bit more into the task that's quite literally at hand with only an absent, "We, uh, should probably try to figure out what to do about mattresses." Glows might not have been worth risking curfew … but mattresses? Maybe.

Rio nods as he settles more easily into the task as well. Which takes a bit longer than for Rished, but it happens. "Maybe so. I'd be a little scared to, though…I know it might sound silly, but I really try not to break the rules if I can help it." Pause. "Then again…it's bad enough they gave us our cots in pieces and made us put them back together ourselves. But no mattresses? That's adding insult to injury." He frowns. "If we get in trouble, we could just tell other areas what happened, and maybe get some support to get out of getting punished?"

"Yeah," Rished agrees with a wrinkling of his nose. "I don't, uh. Don't like breaking the rules, either. Couldn't imagine anyone wanting to, especially after those boys mucked up the floor and had our cots taken from us in the first place." His section is jostled a bit, just to test it, and then the bolts are tightened just a bit more. There's a muttered, "I don't know if we can do it /without/ getting caught is the trouble. And if we're caught, then we probably will get in trouble anyway." Ah, the horns of a dilemma. Always a fine place to be.

Rio nods as he fixes his section. "That's true." He frowns, thinking. "Well, we could always sleep in a pile, like felines do," he suggests with a grin. "If it wouldn't either get us sent to the healers', kicked out, or both, I'd suggest feigning back ailments from sleeping on the floor." A snicker.

Rished makes a bit of a face. "That'd get us in trouble, for sure. They'd think we were all, uh. Being inappropriate or something," says he of the feline-pile-snugfest. It's the latter idea that seems to have him thinking, though, and he makes a faint noise before remarking, "Would we really be faking it, though? I mean, uh. I know I'm sore and a few of the others probably are, too. And if none of us got sick from the cold, it'd be a wonder."

Rio nods once more, expression sobering. "Well…if we're too sick, they'll kick us out of candidacy, won't they?" he inquires. "I mean…it's not that I have my heart set on Impressing. I'm sure I'll be packed off back to Fort alone the day after the hatching — oh, but I /am/ staying for the party, if there is one…." He grins, then continued, "Be that as it may, I wouldn't want to have come this far, only to not finish. You know?"

Rished pauses in his work, leaning just a little on the frame of the bed-to-be and tilting his head in Rio's direction. "If, uh, we're too sick, I'm sure they would," he concedes slowly, features screwing up a little with thought. "I don't know what's going to happen. I mean, uh. Afterward, I'll probably just … go back to work. Parties like that-" he just shrugs, a shoulder rising and falling. Not his thing, then. "But I'm with you there. Would be kind of, uh, silly to almost get to the end and then stop like that."

"Exactly," Rio notes. "So I don't want to do something bad enough to get us kicked out." Here he grins, though, mischievously. If Pern had religion, it would have looked as though he were growing horns. When he speaks again, it's quieter. In case there are any WLM's pets around. "Though after the Hatching, we can play one last farewell prank, eh? After that, there's no getting kicked out. So…." He chuckles.

It is a dark and stormy midnight in the barracks indeed; the lights are off and only a small basket of glows suffices to throw a sickly green light around the heaped skeletons of what once were candidate cots. Most candidates are sleeping on the floor, but a few are doggedly working on assembling cots — despite the very obvious lack of mattresses to put on the finished projects. Rished and Rio are working on one, their conversation kept low enough to keep from disrupting others. Rished nods a little and gives the frame a final nudge before reaching to slot the inner braces in place. Look, ma! No bolts needed! "I, uh. Wait, what?" That's for Rio's latter words, confusion rife in his miraculously low-kept voice.

Norela is not normally what would be called a hard-working person. So after returning from an exhausting and un-fun wilderness romp which she thoroughly disliked, her first instinct was to collapse and get some sleep. Sadly, the floor is just as uncomfortable as the bedrolls in the wilds. After tossing and turning for a while, she comes to the conclusion that she simply isn't going to get satisying sleep like this. But reassembling her cot just seems like so much /work/. What to do? Then she hears the quiet voices of Rio and Rished, and ideas begin to form. "Can somebody help me?" She calls out, loud enough to be heard but hopefully quiet enough not to wake anyone dozing.

Rio grins. "You know, express our displeasure?" he explains. "I mean…obedience is one thing…but unfair directives and expectations are something else." A pause, and he thinks. "I once read that there were lots of situations on old Terra like that. But much worse than this, of course. Much, much worse. And they ended up changing things because people said it was unfair." He trails off, though, as Norela wakes and calls out. "Huh?" He looks over to her. "Oh…sure, what do you need help with?" he inquires. After all, there are no mattresses to put on the cots even when they /are/ put back together, so it doesn't occur to him that she would want to put her cot together. It just doesn't seem necessary right at that moment.

Rished grunts softly, though the sound is one of acquiescence and understanding. "Makes sense." He opens his mouth to add something more and then falls silent upon hearing Norela speak, his attention shifting her way. But, with Rio asking the question at the tip of his tongue, the once-Woodcrafter moves, instead, to start pulling a few more cot 'bones' out of the heap to shape a new skeleton. Regardless of the lack of mattresses, the odds of him sleeping are slim to none by now. Besides, the more built tonight, the less have to be dealt with in the morning.

Knowing that she will need all her powers of persuasion for this one, Norela crawls out from under her blankets and does her best to straighten her hair and smooth out the wrinkles in her nightgown before the other candidates approach. The dim light might make it all a moot point, but the effort is still made. "I can't sleep on this floor." She pouts. "I barely got any sleep in those tents. You guys are building beds, right? Can I get one? And a mattress from… somewhere?" Perhaps this was not well thought out.

Rio twists his lips in an expression of confusion. "There aren't any mattresses," he states. "They didn't bring them back." He doesn't look pleased about that. However a moment later, he smiles broadly. "But Rished and I are putting together the cots, so why don't you come on over and join us, since it doesn't look like you're going to be getting much sleep anyway." Touch?

"And I'm not going to risk my hide for a mattress," Rished mutters after a moment or two, though he sounds more as if he's trying to convince himself that he won't, no matter what. He's mostly silent, though, occupied as he is with putting pieces where they ought to go. A few other candidates are also settling into the task a bit more easily and a few cots have already been built and moved. Still, the lack of mattresses earns a heaved sigh. "It's not hard," he finally comments. "It, uh. It's pretty easy, once you get the order of what goes where."

Oh no! Work, without even the reward of a finished bed? This has backfired terribly on Norela. She goes wide-eyed, conjuring up her best pouty begging voice. "But… but… I need my beauty sleep! There must be… y'know, like some old mattresses nobody wants in the storage caverns, or something." Because Rio and Rished are totally going to steal her a mattress because she asks. "Pleeeeease?" She bats her eyelashes, trying to sound cute.

Rio is not a complete fool. He knows what's going on, what Norela is trying to do. But he pretends that he doesn't, because it's more humorous. "But we're not supposed to leave the barracks after curfew," he states. "If you think you'd be more a hindrance than a help in putting together the cots, I suppose you can sleep /on top/ of the jackets instead of underneath them…that might pad it a little."


It's a good thing Rio speaks before Rished does; it's entirely likely he /could/ be coerced to do just that if the other lad had agreed. Instead, a conflicted sound escapes him and then he coughs, gently, and simply sets to work. "Uh. Yeah. I, uh. You can use my coat, if you want, since … uh. I won't be sleeping any time soon." This is offered over with a lopsided smile that's mostly unseen. But that's all he seems to feel 'safe' in offering and he quickly goes quiet again, the only noises from his direction being of bed-assembly. /Exciting/.

Norela pouts more at the failure of either boy to offer to steal her a mattress in the dead of night. Well, maybe not /more/, but at least more genuinely. "But if I slept on /top/ of the jackets, I would get cold." She petulantly replies to Rio. Sensing a possibility of getting Rished to do her bidding, she smiles and bats her eyes at him again. "Well, that's nice, but… I really /would/ prefer a mattress." Of course.

Rio turns to look at Rished with a secret wink, to let him know he's teasing Norela. He continues to assist the other fellow in assembling the cots. Norela seems insistent, though, so he tries to get his own point across. "But if we got caught, we'd have to tell them you made us go out after curfew. Which would get you un trouble, too." Pause, and then he thinks of something else. "Besides, then the Weyrlingmaster would think you were snobbish and thought you were better than everybody else because you couldn't be bothered to share your barracks-mates' lot. That all you really could do was order people around." Unsaid, of course, is the threat of the WLM's retribution brought down upon a candidate he thought that of. "You wouldn't want anybody to think bad of you, would you? I wouldn't." He offers his own puppy-canine look, pouting a little himself.

Rished coughs again — maybe he /is/ coming down with something?— and just makes vague noises of assent at Rio's various points. He does seem to get what his fellow cot-making candidate is doing, at least; he's just being the silent supportive one in all of this. Also, someone needs to make sure the bolts are being used. Or something. Otherwise? No comments from him. It's a rare moment of self-awareness at work.

Norela may have already written off Rio as a lost cause, but she looks disappointed by Rished's failure to do her bidding. She sighs heavily, slumping in her pile of jackets. Her sleep-deprived mind spins as she tries to think up ways out of this predicament. Then one comes to her. "Well, maybe we could get the mattresses from someplace close where we won't get caught… don't they have the guest weyrs for mating flights nearby?"

Rio blinks. "Oh. I didn't think about that." He thinks a moment. "I think we'd pretty much get caught if we snuck out of the barracks /at all/." A pause. Then he seems to remember something. "But I bet you're ever so much better at sneaking around than we are! We're just noisy boys, after all. Girls are so much quieter! They're lighter, so their steps don't make as much noise. You could probably steal enough mattresses for everybody." Another smirk, mostly hidden. Yes. Yes, he /is/ doing it on purpose.

"Maybe?" is offered up rather reluctantly and, perhaps, against whatever better judgment Rished's finally starting to show. "I- uh." Oh. And Rio's making logic, too, which just has the lad unconsciously squirming a little with indecision. His best fish impression /ever/ is done in that moment, though it might only be barely caught. In the end, nope, he's just going to bite his tongue figuratively — and, okay, probably literally, too — and keep his hands occupied with something that won't get him in trouble.

Norela renews her pouting at Rio's suggestion. "But Rio, that wouldn't work at /all/." She says, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring up at the boys. "I am a delicate lady. There's no way I could carry a big heavy mattress back all by myself… but you're both big strong men, right? You could handle it, right?" Her eyes go wide again. "Pleeeeeease?" It's bound to work sooner or later.

Rio smiles absently. "Well, I guess you'll have to wait 'till morning proper then," he states brightly. "It shouldn't be too bad, it's just a couple of hours more. After the wilderness survival, it shouldn't be too bad. At least something's not going to eat us in our sleep." He grins. Norela, however, just may find a large spinner in her face when she wakes….

Ooo…has Rio found someone to harass?

Augh. Double-augh. More squirming ensues until some mental compromise is reached. "Tomorrow." The word is spoken like it's an alien thing. Rished sucks in a breath and lets it out slowly while he considers the word and then the next. "Tomorrow, okay? We should get the rest of these done tonight," says the workaholic, "but, uh. I'll get yours first thing in the morning, Ela." All on his own, being the implication here. It's the least that he can do.

Norela pouts. She's about to open her mouth to continue complaining, but she rethinks that at the last moment. After all, getting a mattress in the morning is better than no mattress at all. And this way she doesn't have to do any actual work herself. "… Okay." She grumbles, giving in. Of course, it only lasts moments before fresh complaints emerge. "But how am I supposed to sleep /tonight/?"

Rio grins. Slowly. He mulls over his response as Rished promises to fix her cot in the morning. And something comes to mind, something that would be…shocking. He has no intention of doing this, but Norela might not realize it. Besides, the dim, diffused light from the glows is enough to hide his blush. "In the meantime, until Rished puts your cot together" His words are drawled slowly. "I'd make quite an effective blanket for you, Norela." …Implying, of course…that a blanket is to be placed on top of one…..

Rished might have had a suggestion once. Maybe. But it effectively dies when Rio says his little bit. He squints over at the other lad, then heaves a sigh-groan. He reaches up, covering his face briefly with a palm. Words? Who needs them when a facepalm will suffice? With another bed built, he starts to move on, deciding it might be best to extract himself from the situation entirely rather than blurt something out that he might regret later.

Norela just gives Rio a look. She's silent and pouty for a long moment before she decides on her perfect reply. "You know, Rio, that offer would've been far, far more appealing had you been an actual gentleman and gotten me a mattress." Because a true gentleman is willing to steal things in the dead of night. "As it stands, I am very cross with you." She turns up her nose, then looks at Rished. "I believe I will take you up on that offer of your coat."

Rio turns offers a grin to Rished. Really, he's just teasing, and the expression shows it. Norela's reply? He seems pretty darned oblivious to the implications. He didn't have any intentions of going through with it, even if she'd accepted. Of course, if she had, he'd have been placed in a very awkward position. His 'offer', such as it was, was a big gamble. Thankfully it had…almost worked. "But then you wouldn't have needed it," Rio points out. "You'd have had a mattress to sleep on." A grin as she turns her nose up. "Well…maybe it's better you said no. A delicate, pretty flower like yourself might be squished." He says all this with his trademark grin. Poke. Pokepoke. Verbally, anyway. Don'tcha love those backhanded compliments? Oh yes. Rio is indeed enjoying this verbal sparring!

"Sure," Rished replies to Norela, then moves to retrieve said coat to hand it to her. It's a strange thing, though; he doesn't seem to be too tired to work, but words … are just too much for him to string together. The mental exertion is just too much for the poor lad, it would seem. He offers the coat to Norela and, with that done, he just remarks, "I'll be busy over here if either of you need, uh, anything." Don't mind him. He's going to melt in the background with the other candidates that are still doggedly working on cots.

Norela is really beginning to get irritated with Rio. Seriously irritated. "You know exactly what I meant." She says. When the coat is offered she snatches it and briskly wraps herself up in it. "Thank you, Rish. It's good to see that there's at least /one/ man here who understands how to be chivalrous and treat a lady properly."

Rio is acting the little wherry-head tonight. Put it down to being tired, and then expected to crucify himself morally for the machinations of a persuasive woman. Nope! Rio's immune! Mainly because he does the same thing a lot of times. Takes one to know one, right? He'll very likely apologize to Norela later for his behavior, put it down to being tired. But not before he gets all the fun out of this situation that he can!

Norela just continues glaring at Rio, her eyes peeking out as she almost completely envelops herself in the jackets and coats. A dissatisfied grumbling can be heard somewhere in the mass as she lays back down, tossing and turning in an attempt to get comfortable.

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