Seeking Expertise
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Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.
The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.
A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, a big archway the largest and that leading outside. Shallow stairs to the west lead to the offices and administration area while tunnels to the east lead to the infirmary, kitchen and resident's quarters. Southwards, a sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs.


It is morning on Xanadu. Breakfast time. Ka'el has been within the Caverns, having shared a meal with another weyrling who has just left to take care of her waking brown. Ka'el … is fortunate. His bronze still sleeps off a before-sunrise meal, which is what had Ka'el up so early in the first place. Now, the weyrling finds himself unintentionally busy. Clearing his own plate lead to clearing a table, which has lead to wiping that table. And of course, wiping one table lead to wiping another. It isn't as if the weyrling is busy after all, and the kitchen staff apparently has gotten used to Candidates doing such grudge work. And so it's with a rag in his hand that Ka'el can be found, wiping down the wooden surface of a table with his brows furrowed in thought. Or perhaps just furrowed with work. Or in irritation that he's here doing this and not somewhere else, especially now that the morning sun is rising, rousing hungry residents from their beds and into the Caverns for breakfast!

One of those rousing residents, or at least hungry residents, would be Ers'lan. Wearing joggers and a heavier shirt, for the sake of the prolonged winter, he appears to have recently been on a run if the sweat patch on his back and chest weren't evidence enough. He's after nourishment, to refresh a body which has been well worked in the early hours of the morning dawn. Since the feline scare, Galaxy wing has redoubled their vigilance, thus, the Wingleader is up before most, handlingn the rotations and the duties to ensure the land is well swept and the holds overseen. The threat of Laris or other renegades prompts over aggressive sweeps and longer shifts. Still, he always has time for a run and a bite to eat. He steps over toward the tables and fills up on protein, eggs and meat, with a slice of toast is piled onto his plate, while he fills a mug with fresh klah. Stomach rumbling, he makes for one of the tables that Ka'el is currently cleaning, not yet noticing the weyrling as he has food on the brain.

There. Clean table. Ka'el straightens and exhales a breath, eyeing his work. Certainly now he can escape the confines of the caverns and make the cold trek back to the barracks and Kanekith before he wakes? A sidelong look is given to the kitchens, contemplating tossing the rag and running before they can find anything else for him to do. But before his getaway plan can be put into action, his table is claimed by a familiar figure. Ers'lan is eyed and easily recognized as he moves over, and he straightens, feeling the need to, before gesturing to the table. "Cleanest table in the place for the next few minutes," he says with a half smirk. "Good mornin'," is offered to the busy Wingleader as he lingers nearby, pressing his cloth to the tabletop to rub some already cleaned spot to at least appear busy.

Ers'lan lifts his eyes after shoveling a bunch of egg and toast into his mouth, chewing boldly as his blue eyes turn toward the weyrling who gestures about the cleanest table. It -was- because help it as he might, crumbs break loose from his toast and spill off the edges of his plate. His hand sweeps off as many of those crumbs as he can, smirking through the food chewing toward the weyrling. A gulp and a sip of klah later, he snorts, "Reckon t'was, till I be sittin 'ere." A friendly expression holds his features, eyes glinting with some humour for finding the weyrling cleaning a spot already clean, "Aye, mornin," a beat, "Ya be havin kitchen chores this mornin?" Isn't that drudgry to end after candidacy, or so his tone implies.

"Not…exactly," admits Ka'el, "though I haven't in me to say no to those who feed me. Especially when they're…y'know… old." He mouths the word as if it's a bad one to say, though luckily even if there was a grumpy kitchen auntie nearby, her ears might not have picked up any of the words that were said! Here, he should leave Ers'lan to his meal. There are many reasons to! One, he's eating. Two, he's been busy and likely would appreciate a bit of time to himself to merely sit and be. Three, there are things that Ka'el himself likely could occupy himself with, even with a sleeping dragon, now that his stomach has been fed. But none of those three reasons compel him to bid adieu to the Wingleader, and after another moment of fake cleaning, he abandons his efforts and gestures to a seat. "May I join you a bit?" he asks.

Ers'lan chuckles at Ka'el's words, nodding a little as if to respect that choice that the younger makes, not about to rise and do the same thing, no, but the brownrider can respect it all the same. He settles in to eat more of his breakfast meal, hearty and well needed, before Ka'el asks to join. There's no need for the brownrider to chase him away, as it's not often he gets to speak with the weyrlings, in fact, this would be his first opportunity since the eggs hatched. He's not busy enough to not spare a few words to the newest bronzerider. There's a bob of his head and a point to a chair with his fork, mouthing between bites, "Aye, join iffin ya will." A few chews, "How be weyrlin'hood fer ya?"

Ka'el voices a thanks before he pulls out the chair to plop himself down into, leaving that rag on the tabletop off to one side. The question the man asks is a familiar one, and one that's answered with a grin to accompany his words. "It's different. A lot different that I imagined. Not .. bad, but just…" He trails. "It takes gettin' used to, you know? Always havin' Kanekith up here," he taps at his temple with his index finger. "Even when he's not with me. Hearing him, feeling him. But, y'know all this already, huh? I wish I could show him to you. He liked bein' looked at," he admits, sounding humored and fond. "But he's….not like the others." He picks his words carefully, though seems satisfied with those and nods a little after, sobering a bit. "What was yours like, during your weyrlinghood?" This is likely the most he's ever said to Ers'lan. Willingly anyway!

The answer that Ka'el gives is also a familiar one, which causes Lan to sit back, drawn into some lapse of recollection as the bronzerider goes on how it takes getting used to, a knowing smirk caressing Lan's lips apart. The brownrider nods a few times, to acknowledge that he's listening, in between scoops of food and the odd thought that triggers a distant memory. "Aye," he replies to knowing what it was like, the adjustment, the intrusion of always having another mind prying into one's own thoughts. Lan scrubs at his whiskered covered chin before leaning his head one way and then the other, creating a little pop from the motion and an exhaled sigh of relief. Then, the ask of what Zhaoth was like. That makes him chuckle, "Aye, reckon I be knowin whar spot ye be in. Zhaoth be different, aye aye. He be a slave driver, reckon he be getting up ta push me ta do things I wouldn't be wantin ta." A bit of a hunch forward, arm half draped over the edge of the table behind his plate, "T'was hard ta manage. Thar be times I wished I hadn't impressed, reckon so," he says if Ka'el seems surprised by that, "As it does seem at first tha I be stranded suddenly and kept to one course, instead of be having many. My goals 'n dreams, changed in an instance." He settles his hand around his klah mug, "Reckon weyrlin'hood be forcin' me ta grow up 'n deal with the past."

"I think, if Kanekith wanted, he could be that kind of dragon," muses Ka'el, voice quiet with thought. "To push me. He does…but then he doesn't. He wants to be better than the rest've them, and he gets angry if he sees one of them doing something better than he. Or faster. Then, he pushes the both've us." A smirk follows as he sits back in his seat a bit, and the look begins to gradually fade from his face as he continues to listen to Ers. "I.. I'd feel guilty if I wished I hadn't impressed," he admits, though not admitting if this has already crossed his mind. "Everyone else is so … shardin' grateful. Like it's the one thing they've ever wanted. It isn't like that with me. My life was never about dragons til I started apprenticing here. Even then, I never thought of them much, or wanted one. If I hadn't impressed, I'd be alright. I think that's what makes me different from them." His head vaguely angles to one side. "What did you have to deal with?"

The brownrider would feel ashamed for having admitted he wished he hadn't impressed, if he wasn't over it, if he didn't come to terms with what life was after he impressed. In the meantime, he looks rather at ease in speaking of such thoughts, observing over his breakfast meal how Ka'el's responses were reflected in his body language. "Aye, reckon t'was the same with me… reckon I felt I would've been better off or some such thing without Zhaoth. T'was narh somethin I be wanting or aching fer, ever." Lan pulls the mug to his lips to take a sip of klah, letting the warmth blaze down his chest, washing away the chills of his cooling sweat. Putting his mug down, he regards Ka'el, shrugging a shoulder, "Be it that I wanted ta own me own ship and sail the seas. T'was my life long dream ta sail 'n soon as Zhaoth came ta me, tha was no longer an option. A dragonrider be hard pressed ta own his own ship when he be having a dragon." He tilts his head down, "Twas hard fer me to accept tha. Seemed ta me as if all tha I be workin fer, was gone." The brownrider looks up, "Then, ta be dealin with a dragon who be narh caring so much bout wha ya wanted ta be, who be pushin me hard, t'was a real struggle. I had a rough time, got inta fights, especially with Zhaoth. We'd be clashin all the time 'n I questioned why he picked me all the time." A shrug, "T'was only near the end of weyrlinghood that we be finally getting it right, that I be accepting the outcome of impression. I reckon I had ta see that while one door closed, another opened."

Ka'el imagines how it would be to fight with Kanekith. A hardheaded dragon butting heads with an equally hardheaded weyrling. It'd be one huge headache of an experience! And it's definitely one that could still be in the works. Their partnership is young yet. Just two months old, in fact. They've a lifetime ahead of them to disagree, and it's not an unlikely thing to happen, considering both draconic and human personalities. Ka'el remains quiet as he listens to Ers'lan, absorbing his every word as if he'll be tested on the subject matter on a later date. He is, after all, the first rider he's had a chance to really…talk to. He nods every now and then, brows furrowing at the talk of lost dreams. To have wanted something for so long, only never to achieve that goal. Is that his fate as well? "How'd you know that Search and Rescue what was you wanted to do?" he questions, feeling as if he's asking far too many questions, though that doesn't seem to be enough of a fact to stop him from doing so. "I mean, from wanting to sail a ship to doin' sweeps over a weyr and bein' in charge of its safety…seems like a big jump to me."

Ers'lan finishes up with most of his meal, some of it still left on his plate, but, his appetite has been satisfied. Pushing the plate aside, he draws his mug forward, considering the question that Ka'el asks of him now. First, he shrugs, "Reckon t'was cause of the wreck I be in. The Windy Waters went down in the Azov, rogue wave hit us, 'n only a few of us be surviving." His lips turn down at the memory, recalling a traumatic moment of time in his life, continuing on, "I reckon I failed ta save me mates, iffin I could at all save myself, I should have be saving them." A faint shrug, "Suppose tha 'n the fact that I was physically fit be enough. T'was better than the option of transport. Reckon I could narh continue with me craft either." A lick of his lips before he takes another drink, brow lifting as he sets it down, recalling further, "The wingleader at the time be askin me iffin I be interested too, reckon that helped." He gives a long drawn sigh, "Tis nuthin like sailing, tha be sure." The man taps his fingers against his mug, contemplating, "But, tis something satisifyin in trying ta keep folk safe."

"A wreck?" Ka'el echoes, brows lifting as he quiets to hear the tale of the Windy Waters and its demise. So, a personal experience shaped Ers'lan's decisions, did it? "What happens if…after weyrlinghood, a rider doesn't know what he wants to do? Like you said, sometimes y'can't go back to your craft, if you were an apprentice or whatever before. And…what if you don't fit in any of the wings?" He contemplates this, but then after a moment, waves a hand. "I'm not meanin' me, either. I.. I'm pretty sure that by the end, I'll have an idea of where I belong." He hopes, anyway! Being a dragonrider was never in his plans, so who knows just how many more times those plans of his may make a change. He glances to one side, eyeing a group of messy haired teens who look as if they've rolled straight out of bed for breakfast as they joke and jostle with one another on their way to the serving line. The good ol' days of carelessness! Oh, to be worry free. Or, mostly worry free.

"Aye," he responds to the reiteration of the wreck, unbeknown to Ka'el, the man hardly says a word of it anymore, not even to his weyrmates who have chosen to spend their lives at his side. He doesn't detail the wreck, other than it was hit by a rogue wave in the Azov, as what more does there need to be said about a ship breaking up in the water and sinking with most still aboard her? His blue eyes look down into his mug, some many Turns ago that happened, "Ten turns ago it was." That long, yes, he was only nineteen. He drops the topic however, in the opportunity to discuss the what ifs with Ka'el. "Reckon ye be posted ta a wing iffin ya have not been approached by a wingleader nor be askin yerself ta join a wing," he answers, smoothly, "A dragonrider owes the Weyr some service who be puttin 'em through weyrlinghood. Long as ya work, I reckon it don't matter what," he runs his fingers along the handle on the mug, "Ye be a smith, before impressin, aye? Nothin says ye can't continue that." Sailing was another matter, since it required time spent on the oceans, which meant, a man could not be land bound, which dragons often made a man. There's no fooling Lan, despite Ka'el insisting he's not asking about himself. Maybe he even follows Ka'el's gaze toward the jostling and joking teens, smirking upon returning his gaze to Ka'el, "Ye can still have fun lad, reckon, between the boundaries of weyrlinghood aye. 'N dun be trying ta kiss no weyrlingmasters, I dunn recommend tha."

Nineteen and witnessing the death of so many people. Two turns from where Ka'el is now. Death? He has been privileged thus far to know nothing of it. Not in human terms. Death to him is life for his lifemate. The death and butchering of some animal for sustenance. The loss of human life through accident or murder? He is fortunate to know no such hardships or heartache. Or, some may say, unfortunate to not have the experience of loss. How then will he deal with it, for death is never avoided by anyone for too long? Ers'lan himself is a grand example of that. "Anything but Transport and Delivery…" he says offhandedly at the talk of owing the weyr for its services. "That seems to be the most boring of them all to me. To work as a runner in the sky. If I'm going to do something, I wish it to be worthwhile." He smirks a little at the thought of smithing. "By the time I'm done with this, I won't even know what a forge looks like anymore. But, you're right. It's what I wish to do, still, even if it means starting over." He lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck, touching fingers against and through his cropped hair just as advice is given of…no kissing werylingmasters? A brow arches, and he gives him a quizzical look. "Which ones did y'think were kissworthy? V'dim and his ancient lips?" He cracks a grin. "They're all old! I wouldn't be caught de-.." Oh wait. Isn't one of his weyrmates one of them? He seems to freeze in place at the realization of this, then quickly backtracks. "They're not all old. A majority of them, yes. But then there are ones like Keziah. She's amazingly…youthful. And nice. And very helpful. But I won't be kissing her. I promise." Scout's honor!

Death was not something anyone could avoid for long, for parents die, siblings die, freak accidents happen and friends die, loved ones could die. It happens, eventually to all. And for Ers'lan, it happened too soon and he spent Turns trying to get over it, perhaps, not even now being able to properly cope with the loss of his friends, as by the gleam of saddness in his blue eyes when speaking of the wreck. Still, that was long ago and it seems he's not the ball of sorrow he once was, for he easily bursts out into laughter for the admission of the youth in regards to Transport, "Dun let Fl'ynn hear ya say it." A wink, as he sits in a little further, as if to whisper, "But I be thinking the same thing when I be in weyrlinghood. I could narh imagine it. At least with Search and Rescue, it can be a challenge, can make yer heart leap up inta yer throat, gives ya some purpose." He thumps his fist on the table as he says that, grinning, proud, before his features grow serious, "Ta know, ye be giving value ta another's life more than yer own, tis narh something every man nor woman can do. One day, reckon it could all be over," he flings his hand to gesture, drawing back around with one finger upraised, "But I reckon, the chances of dying fer someone else be worth more than old age." Not that anyone -has- died from heroic rescues in the last ten turns or so, but the possibility was there. And as for the weyrlingmasters, he chuckles again, "Ahhh, yer the one I be worryin bout. She gives a might good kick ta the groin, 'n knows how ta swing a frying pan." He shakes his head in amusement over the age, "Jus take it one day at a time, ye hear? Ya dun narh need all the answers right now. Ye have a few turns yet."

Ka'el visibly winces at the mentioning of Keziah's skills with frying pans and her aiming prowess when it comes to kicking. "Good to know.." he says, his face still looking a bit pained just from the imagined scenario alone. Yikes! "Search 'n Rescue seems to me like the wing that has the most… purpose." He pauses, thinking over the word. "Nah. That isn't right, is it? They all have their purpose. I guess I mean, that one seems the most purposeful to me. Dangerous but rewarding, still." He grins a bit, though the look goes vaguely slack on his face as his mind goes notably quiet. The background music has stopped, and somewhere Kanekith begins to rouse. Ka'el blinks out of his stupor, head shaking slightly as he brings himself back to the present. "You're right. We're in this thing for…what, two turns? Suppose I won't know everything there is to know in only two months." He begins to rise, pressing a palm against the table top. "Kanekith is up, and I should head back. .. Would y'mind it much if I spoke to you again sometime?" he asks after a moment of hesitation. "When you're not off savin' the weyr?"

‚ÄúTrust me, she be knowing how ta use 'em both… tested 'em out on me first," oh the comical hour in which he was hit in the face with a frying pan and knocked flat on his back and out of this world for a time. He'll never forget that, a moment that actually, ironically, endeared Keziah to him all the more. It makes him grin, a hole in his mouth a reminder of how strong she could be, as a missing tooth was the price to pay for that night. As for the remark of purpose, Ers'lan nods, "Aye, reckon I narh be a good Wingleader iffin I say Galaxy be the only one with purpose. Reckon they all do, aye." He agrees with Ka'el's correction, "Each person be feelin rewarded in their own way. Tis mine ta be satisified with makin sure no one be freezing needlessly out thar, or be stranded in waters of Azov… where as Fl'ynn, he be satisifed ta keep us all fed." The last of his klah is swallowed, which is rather good timing, since the weyrling looks to be in need of returning to the barracks and thus, frees Lan up to carry on with the rest of the day. "Tis good seeing ye again," he follows up as Ka'el rises, laughing at the last, "Aye, of course. Best be off with ya, pushy dragons dun like to wait." He knows, because he was punished many times from Zhaoth during those long Turns as a weyrling.

Ka'el should put more stock into Transport and Delivery. As much as he enjoys eating, some of that food is imported from other places! He'll have to give Fl'ynn and his wing a thank you one of these days. "If you can, you should visit the barracks. Your brown might like seein' Marel and Mur'dah's two. Plus, it'd be a nice change from the routine." Not that the routine is ever boring, especially with the random practices and lessons that are thrown in every once in a while. "Idrissa would be happy to see you," he notes, his expression shadowing just slightly. "She's been .. ah. Well, she'd be happy." The shadow passes and his smirk reclaims dominance as he steps back and away from the table. "Good day to you, sir." A wave is offered before he turns to slip out before any of the kitchen staff can snag him to just do "one more thing".

Ers'lan's brow turns up at the invitation to visit the barracks, "Reckon I just might," seemingly curious not about the weyrwoman's children, but about Idrissa. He's taken on this protective thing, having saved her how many times from danger, it's only likely that he is acting brotherly in his concern for her, "Ya can tell Rissa I be dropping by then, iffin that would help." He may not know what's going on, but, heck, if he could help out, he would. "Good day to ye a well," the man offers behind the weyrling's wave, pushing himself up off his chair with a groan and a stretch, "Alright alright Zhao… I be coming…" musing over how his brown -still- chides him if he's not on time.


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