Are You Good With Animals?

Xanadu Weyr – Garden


An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place. On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.

Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also eluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic. The two paths leading away from the entrance have come full circle, wrapping around to meet each other on the other side, yet still continue on to the far left and right. One path leads off deeper into the surrounding woods, while the other wider; cheerily decorated with brightly colored slabs of painted stones.

It's a lovely morning in the Xanadu gardens. The gardener girl is already busy, and smelling somehwat like a tuber. and Cenlia is on her hands and knees beneath the shrubbery, her head and shoulders hidden by the foliage while the girl pulls up weeds and tosses them into a nearby bucket. Her four firelizards are playing nearby, and there are a number of empty pots stacked beside a bench, apparently sorted by size and depth.

Thea enters the gardens, head turning this way and that as she walks. She's stooping to peer under bushes and peeks around trees, obviously looking for something or someone. The sound of firelizards at play draws her attention towards Cenlia. At least that back end sticking out from under the bush -could- be the gardener's? It likely not many folks Thea -isn't- looking for, so by the process of elimination, it is deemed worthy to find out. Wasting no more time, she strides that way. She's a goldie on a mission!

Re're has a small pot in his hand, a rather spindly plant contained within, the poor thing looking a bit cramped. Looking left and right, the brownrider is hesitating, glancing once again at the plant that appears to be an actual flower, and not merely a weed. And then, he's following after Thea, doing a bit of searching of his own, as if looking for some help.

Cenlia doesn't notice other people in the garden just yet - she seems to be tugging at a rather stubborn weed, using her shovel to loosen the soil around it. With a final tug, the plant comes loose, and Cenlia sends it flying out of the shrubbery, in the direction of the bucket. The girl rustles about, moving branches and leaves out of her way.

Thea sidesteps the flying detritus, discarded weeds, branches, leaves, what-have-you and steps near enough to aim a poke at Cenlia's side. "Hey girl. You should've been born a an Old Terran mole." She steps back just as quickly. Gardeners. When they startle, things happen. Thea knows.

Re're keeps the plant gently in his hands, pulling it closer to his body to keep it safe. As Thea stops, he stops short too, looking at Thea, and then in the area that the flying weeds came from. "What?" He asks, confused, finally noticing Cenlia down there, perking up a little, and holding the plant out, as if the gardener will know better what to do with it.

Something is poking Cenlia in the side! The gardener girl acks, and flails, or tries to. Possibly, she is attempting to fight off the shrubbery, but a moment later the girl's head pops out from between the branches, and she blinks at Thea. "Oh, hey," Cenlia says, "A what?" She ducks under the branches and slowly backs up out of the foliage, dusting leaves and twigs out of her hair. The gardener spots Re're, or rather, that spindly plant, the girl's eyebrows drawing together as she frowns at it, saying "Think ya need a bigger pot," by way of greeting. Seeing people in the garden, the girl's firelizards trill loudly, though they're a bit late. But the bronze firelizard, Charmer, has spotted a goldie! With a happy croon, the flit swoops over towards Thea, landing nearby and waggling his tail. He lets out a cheeky trill and half-opens his wings to show off that goldeny-bronze hide, and scutties closer, stretching his neck out and posing for the goldrider.

Thea's head turns at the sound of that voice behind her, "Oh, hello! Didn't see you, I'm sorry." She gives the Rider a sheepish smile and a baffled gesture towards Cenlia, "Plants. I'm death to them, but Cenlia here can do wonders." The scrabbling Cenlia is grinned at from a safe distance as she answers with amusement, "A small furry critter that used to dig in the dirt and burrow under bushes. Like you're doing now." She spares a quick fingerscritch for Charmer, "How's my favorite bronze doing, huh?" Then it's back to business. "Here ya go." And she hands Cenlia a folded document.

"I.. I told my daughter I'd find someone to plant it in the garden. She got it from her grandfather, at Western.." He explains, wrinkling his nose as he looks at the spindly plant, and then back at the gardener, holding it out a little more, hoping that Cenlia will take it off his hands. But then, with Thea offering a folded letter, the brownrider is looking a little sheepish, pulling the plant close to him again, hurriedly shaking his head at Thea. "No, no ma'am.."

Cenlia tilts her head at the description of a mole, "Hunh," and then eyes the folded document warily, unfolding it and with a raised eyebrow at Thea. Little bronze charmer crooooons at Thea. And then tries his little posing trick on Re're. Cenlia also glances at Re're, saying, "I could put it in a bed, or in the greenhouse. We got plenty of space, since the herbs're all planted." Cenlia looks as if she'd much rather have the plant than the document, but she takes a look at it anyways.

Thea shakes her head at Re're with a wave at the document. "It's not important. She can help you now." Encouragement in her tone for the man. She waves a hand at the paper, "Keep it in a safe spot, Cenlia. It's that paper I avoided signing." Then a snicker, "Well, a duplicate anyway. Took it to D'son several days ago, but he told me you'd already managed to wangle a signature out of him. He signed it again anyway." She winks, "Poor man. Has no idea what he's signed himself into." Her lips twitch into an amused half-grin, "I hope he can handle your uncle. I'm sure we'll be seeing him one of these days."

Re're looks confused between the Weyrwoman and the Gardener, the brownrider shaking his head, and then offering the plant back to Cenlia once more. "I.. I think she'd like it best in a bed, so she could see it all the time." He contemplates, before looking from one to the other again. "I.. I'll let you two be.." He murmurs softly, settling the spindly plant down, giving it one last look, and quickly excusing himself.

Cenlia pockets the paper and grins at Thea, but the gardener's attention is immediately drawn back to that poor plant Re're has. The girl nods to the man and takes the pot and glancing around a moment and then tilting her head at one of the more sparsely-planted areas. "Got some good spots over there," she says, heading that way and trying not to trip over Charmer who's scurrying between the goldie and the gardener, crooning for attention. Cenlia rolls here eyes and mutters, "Shardin' nuisance," but the girl is still grinning as she pulls a small shovel from her toolbelt and kneels beside one of the flower beds.

Into the garden wanders a certain Rider by the name of E'gin, passing Re're as he walks towards Cenlia and Thea. He's muttering to himself in a whiny tone. "If I see anyone- Shells!" He looks at the pair talking and for a moment it appears he won't come any closer but prompted by some unseen force he edges closer. "Uh, um, ma'am?" This is directed to Cenlia after a quick, furtive salute to the weyrwoman standing there. "Mazunth wants me to a-ask you if you are good with animals?"

Thea just stays where she is as E'gin approches and Cenlia's planting, "I can vouch that she is," Thea calls over To E'gin. "She's pretty good with ovines and runners." There's a bit of a giggle, "Trundlebugs love her too." She nods sagely. It's true. Her expression is one of profound honesty.

Cenlia loosens the plant in its pot, very gently turning it over, and then giving E'gin a frown, "What?" The girl makes a face at being called 'ma'am' and she glances at Thea and then mutters, "I ain't goin' /near/ no ovines or runners!" She backs up to the edge of the flower bed, giving both riders suspicious looks. She doesn't say anything about trundlebugs. In fact, the girl probably has one or two still in her hair from having been underthe shrubbery. "Only things that hang around me are trundleugs," she adds, though little bronze Charmer chitters and sits on the girl's foot. /He's/ no trundlebug!

E'gin visibly wilts when Cenlia makes that face. Her declaration that she will avoid ovines and runners in the future causes him to look downright glum. He brightens a bit at her next words, "They…do?" He follows her, one step for every one she backs away from him, peering about to spot the elusive trundlebugs. He doesn't spot any right away, however and he looks despondent. "Now Mazunth will be upset." The look he gives the gardener says, 'You know what that means.' It matters not if she doesn't. He thinks she does.

"Really?" A smirking Thea nearly chokes at Cenlia's avowal. "Might be hard thing to accomplish around here. They seem to find you with no encouragement at all." She flashes a glance as the despondent E'gin, taking pity on him. "Tunnelsnakes seem to find her attractive, too, E'gin." Thea encourages the Rider, waving a hand at the firelizards that orbit Cenlia on a daily basis. "And she's got four firelizards." Her head tilts, "I think she qualifies." Is that a quiver of laughter in the goldider's voice? "What does Mazunth want her to do with animals?"

Cenlia eyes E'gin warily, since she doesn't know him and thus isn't sure if he's just messing with her. "Flamin' ovines," Cenlia mutters, seeming even more wary when he mentions the dragon being upset and gives her a look. As far as she's concerned, anybody asking her about animals is up to no good. The gardener girl glances around, just to make sure said animals aren't lurking in the shrubbery or something. Then she looks downright horrified when Thea mentions tunnelsnakes, the gardener blurting out, "No they don't!" She makes another face and says, "If ya want somebody who knows about runners, could go ask Rogawani. Think he's got one. I work with plants. Nothin' else." Though Charmer seems to think differently, crooning and nuzzling at the girl's foot. When this doesn't work, he turns and tries his waggle-dance on E'gin.

E'gin darts a nervous glance at the weyrwoman with a tiny shrug, "Nothing at all." He looks back to the gardener, ignores her denials and the expression on her face. He's just in a little world all of his own making, he is. He stands straight and tall, proclaiming proudly to Cenlia, "Manzunth says that you'll do then. He likes 'em to be good with animals is all." He gives a little nod to emphasize that point. He doesn't quite seem to know what to do next and for a few minutes he wavers, "Ah, ma'am gardener, Mazunth and I, we'd like to know if you'll stand as a Candidate for the clutches of Xanadu Weyr." He pulls a Candidate's knot out of his pocket and offers it to her.

Thea's just sniggering and snorting away over there, yes. "You have to admit, for a person who works only with plants, you manage to spend an awful lot of time with animals, though, Cenlia." She shakes her head, "But, see Mazunth is asking -you-, not Rogawani." She manages to stifle it enough to catch Cenlia's response. Curious now…

Cenlia blinks at E'gin, "What?" looking halfway incredulous. That certainly wasn't what she was expecting. An ovine stuck in a tree, maybe. Somewhat dubiously, the girl asks, "Ya sure?" The girl glances at Thea, and makes a face, saying, "Yea, when they ain't tryin' to bite me or run me over." But she's eyeing that knot again. It has to be a joke. Her expression doesn't change as she takes a step back into the flowerbed, careful not to step on any of the plants, but looking as if she doesn't believe him.

E'gin nods emphatically as he takes a step forward for every step back that Cenlia does. "Please say yes, Ma'am. If you don't Mazunth will be sad-" he stops, amending, "Well, he's always sad." His face earnest, he continues in a rush, "But! But he'll be sadder. He picked you!" He flashes a rather desperate look Thea's way, then back to the gardener, eyes pleading and that knot is still held towards Cenlia.

"Uh, Cenlia, they don't give those knots out to pranksters, no." Thea's trying to get control of her desire to laugh. "You'll have to give E'gin here a bit of a break." One finger touches her temple on the side the Rider cannot see her gesture. "E'gin was in my Candidate class. He's always had a soft spot for critters." She tips her head to the side, "I don't know, but another Search dragon may not come your way again. Never can tell." A look towards E'gin, "Now don't push her. It has to be her decision."

Cenlia's expression doesn't improve. If anything, E'gin's desperation makes her even more wary. She looks at Thea again, asking, "He serious?" indicating E'gin, for the moment attempting to back up some more but encountering too many plants to do so safely. The girl holds Re're's plant in front of her like a shield, and if the plant weren't is such bad need of re-potting she'd probably have fled at the first mention of animals. However, Thea's explanation gets another surprised look from the gardener. Especially that gesture, which her Cenlia raising an eyebrow. "Huh," she says, glancing at E'gin again and then at the knot. Finally, though, realization seems to dawn on her, and Cenlia actually manages to look startled, saying, "My Uncle's gonna have a fit." And /that/ thought actually has her grinning a bit as she reaches a hand out to accept the knot.

E'gin seems both relieved and elated to have the knot accepted. He bows with a little flourish to Cenlia, "Mazunth and I are honored to welcome you to Candidacy at Xanadu." He turns on his heel and bounds off, only to skid to a stop and skitter back. "Oh - almost forgot! The rules are: no sex and no leaving the Weyr without a Rider." He trots off and when he is almost to the Meadow he turns around and calls, "Oh there's one more: no alcohol." And he heads off with a foolishly pleased smile upon his face.

Thea gives a little wave to the fast-disappearing E'gin before turning back to Cenlia. She manages to keep herself in check, but just barely. But the words about Cenlia's uncle set her to snickering again. "At least he'll be relieved you'll be under more supervision." She is smirking until the moment she realizes something. "Oh shards. If you mess up, he'll be coming after - me!" Because guess who is Cenlia's supervision now? Yep. Thea.

"Shards, I hope Rogawani was right," Cenlia mutters, holding the knot and examining it carefully. Charmer trills loudly and flutters up to her shoulder, where he stretches his neck out to nose the white knot in her hand. The girl absently scritches the flit's head as she watches E'gin leave, making a face when he mentions no alcohol. "Guess I ain't gonna be able to take Satoris up on that drinkin' contest after all." She sighs, having been looking forward to that. "Rogawani neither," the girl sighs, but then has to grin at Thea, "Shards, you'll prolly get to meet him. I really could impress a dragon?" The words are said jokingly, but Cenlia can't hide the slight hint of disbelief in her voice.

Thea shakes her head, "I guess you won't be able to do that for awhile, Cenlia." Her smile returns just long enough to hear the gardener's next words. Uncle. Great. "Let's hope I don't." She rubs her temples, her life has become complicated of late. "Should be go getting your stuff and moving into the Barracks, Cen. I've got to get some work done." She heads off with a wave, turning to call, "Congratulations." Might be premature, who knows? But she's saying it anyway.

Cenlia waves to the departing weyrwoman, and just shakes her head, waiting until Thea is out of sight before she unpins her dirt-stained farmcraft knot for the pristine white candidate knot. There's a brief, odd look on her face, as if she doesn't quite believe it, but then she remembers the pot in her hand and quickly gets back to planting it.

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