The Candidates Need More Chores, Apparently

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow Ridge

The meadow continues its gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes. Each hill seems to grow a bit higher, a bit steeper, as eventually, the meadow works up to a large ridge, the top flattening out at its new elevation.
From the top of the ridge, the view is certainly something to be admired - higher than the majority of the trees, one can look out over the rest of Xanadu Weyr proper. The houses in the lower meadow - each roof a different color - and the clock tower peeking upwards from the its forest surroundings are all visible, as is the cliff that houses the Weyr Caverns themselves. And yet, the ridge also holds an amazing view of the night sky - horizon to horizon - unaffected by the light pollution of the more heavily traveled regions.
Settled upon the ridge is a rather distinctive looking building - nearing three stories tall, circular grey walls have carefully been erected, and a large dome is settled upon this solid foundation. Large panels make up the roof, aside from one section which remains open, and from which the telescope the struction houses peeks out. Sitting adjacent to the tower is a long, low building, meant to serve as offices, record rooms and dorms for those who man the observatory, as well as providing a handy platform for those who seek to use smaller, hand-held 'scopes.

Spring has sprung, creeping green tendrils throughout the weyr and warming things up from the frigid temperatures Xanadu was experiencing a month ago. As the sun begins to sink in the west, the approaching evening promises to be pleasant, and the ridge boasts a couple here and there, meandering on an evening walk. Matrin is sitting at the base of the observatory, long legs stretched out in front of him, just enjoying the play of colors across the sky and the symphony of frogs that greet the coming night.

With people coming into the barracks, Iforian has packed up his basketful of puppies, covered by a blanket to ward of the coming chill of a beautful spring night, along with a gruel of milk, finely chopped meat, and cereal and a small bottle of milk that's been appropriated from the kitchens by tossing out Fl'ynn's name (and claiming that it's something for the rider). He pauses for a moment when he sees the older candidate and straightens his shoulders, almost as though he's daring the other man to say something about his basket and what's in it. The tall man makes his way to the top of the ridge and settles the basket on the ground, folding his legs to kneel beside hs burden and unpack the gruel and milk before spreading the blanket out to start freeing weakly wriggling puppies and set them on the blanket, now ignoring the other man as he gets to work trying to feed and tend to large puppies that still should be in the care of their dam.

Iforian's unspoken dare is entirely lost on Matrin, as he languidly folds his arms behind his head and shifts around to get more comfortable against dirt beneath and stone behind. His attention is all on the gradual play of light and dark across the sky, the way way the clouds seem to catch fire, and it is only when the first tiny squeaky peeps from the pups start that he blinks and abruptly looks over. "Iforian," is his greeting, and though the tone is dryly amused his expression is only polite. "How…" he trails off, a tiny crease touching his brow as he presses his lips together. "Many of them are there?" It's pretty clear he's changed his question in the middle there, dark brows arching.

"Matrin." The broad shouldered man offers a polite enough nod over at the other man and shrugs at the question, "Thar's five a' 'em." Iforian is all business as he goes about trying to pry open the jaws of a little female that's much smaller and less active than the others so that he can try to get her to take the nipple of the bottle, "Found 'em up by th' clock tow'r th' other day with Jeniosa." He frowns when the little female just chews on the makeshift leather nipple he fashioned from the finger one of his work gloves. He doesn't notice the largest pup, a hearty male, staggering off of the blanket to make his way over towards the other candidate. The miner is too focused on trying to get the nearly limp puppy cradled in his arms to do more than just gnaw and sneeze when a little milk dribbles down her throat.

A nod confirms the other man's greeting, though there wasn't any uncertainty in the way Iforian said Matrin's name. The count of five just makes him nod and he watches the process of the work glove with blatant incredulity. "You and another candidate found five tiny, unweaned puppies and your solution was to… keep them? Try to nurse them yourselves?" Just thinking about it makes Matrin run a hand through his hair and shake his head. "Jeniosa is a beastcrafter, right? But still." He pauses to glance down at the approaching pup, who he matter of factly scoops up and deposits back on the blanket. "No offense meant but I am glad I'm not sleeping - or not sleeping as the case may be - with you in the barracks."

Iforian frowns, "They ain't 'zactly tiny…" The puppies average about two and a half or three pounds each, after all. He shrugs, "Th' dam obviously ain't been round in a while an' they was half starved." He offers an encouraging little coo to the puppy that's finally started to nurse, juggling puppy and bottle to free up one hand and be able to give her firm strokes down her back, "Fl'ynn was thar. Said it'd be a good project." He nods and shrugs a shoulder, glancing down at the more lively puppies and leaning over to shift the others so that they can get to the dish of gruel and start eating their own dinner, "Yeah, she is." He shrugs again narrowing his eyes to glance over at Mat, "They ain't no worse 'n a wher pup 'r a firelizard hatchlin'."

They look tiny enough to Matrin, or so says the brows-up disbelief on his face. But then he shrugs too. "I am not suggesting you should have left them to starve of course, and if a dragonrider said it was a good project, well there you go." Not that he sounds all gung-ho about it himself, but he'll go with live and let live. "I didn't say they were worse than either of those things, but I wouldn't be a fan of having a wher or firelizard hatchling in the candidate barracks with me either. At least these should be grown enough to find new homes before the eggs harden." He shrugs again, a smooth roll of shoulders as he re-crosses his arms behind his head. "No skin off my nose if you choose to spend your limited free time this way, but I feel like I'm busier than ever and I like to sleep at night, that's all."

Technically, what Fl'ynn said was that it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission and claim them as a project in the meantime, but that's beside the point. Iforian shoots another narrow eyed look at the other candidate and settles down to be a little more comfortable, "They's too quiet, anyway." The big male prooves him wrong by choosing that moment to give a little trilling growl at one of his siblings, earning a quick look and frown from the miner-candidate, "Thar's plenty. Ya ain't gotta fight." He shrugs again at the mention of finding them new homes, "I s'pose. If'n all a' 'em survive…" The runt really isn't looking good…

"I find it hard to believe that they are silent. It isn't like I haven't been around puppies before," Matrin remarks. But there's no malice or narrow-eyed squints at the miner, just a casual statement of fact. His eyes have found their way back to the art in the sky which is quickly waning, but he pauses to straighten a bit and look at Iforian when he says that last. "Either they are a lot of work and are small and may not survive, or it's no big deal and they're big enough that they aren't much work and should be able to find homes soon." It's just his opinion but stated pretty bluntly, albeit with a softening gesture of one hand at the end. "Like I said, do what you like of course. It just seems-" but he trails off and shakes his head - no sense in restating his point. "I suppose they are cute, at least."

"Didn' say silent. They's just too quiet." Iforian shrugs, reaching over to scritch at a pup that has apparently eaten its fill and wandered to his side to flop over against his leg, "Le's just say tha' I'm glad thar's somebody tha's got a free day an' c'n watch 'em when I can't." They're a lot of work right now… He shoots a wary look over at the other man, though his expression softens when he admits to them being cute, "Yeah, they's cute." And pretty helpless, other than that one big male that's had enough to eat and has decided to wander back over in the direction of the older candidate once again, intent on investigating this new person.

Matrin takes on that vague frown again, glancing down at the pups but making no move to handle them. "Too quiet, as in not doing particularly well, hmm? Well at least you have a beastcrafter involved, I'm sure she knows what she's doing. And Keziah is a former beastcrafter as well, though I am not sure how much she knows about canines, she might be able to lend a hand." That's about as involved as he's getting, though he does pick that adventurous male up as he pushes to his feet. He plunks it back down in the midst of its siblings with a gentle hand before squeezing behind Iforian on his way out. "Good luck with them. But speaking of too much to do, I have a class to teach in the morning and I need to finish preparing. Have a good night." He glances at the puppies one more time, then shakes his head as he heads off.

Iforian nods and sighs, "'Specally this li'l girl." He lifts the puppy in his arms who seems to have managed to get as much milk outside of her as inside, "She'd barely move when we found 'em, an' she still don't talk hardly none." The adventurous male complains when he's plunked back down among the others, but soon playfully attacks a sister that's trying to sleep. The miner-candidate looks thoughtful at the mention of Keziah and nods, "I met her b'fore, an' played with her li'l girl down at th' beach a while back." So maybe he can exchange help with the puppies for babysitting? He nods, scritching the runt again, "Yeah, thanks." He gives a quick little wave and settles back on the grass to let the pups crawl all over him as much as they like as he watches the stars come out and cuddles the pup that he's getting more and more attatched to, even though she's not doing nearly as well as the others are, "Take care."

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