An Unpleasant Olfactory Encounter

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 late morning in Xanadu, and thankfully the sky is clear. The gardens are busy with candidates, applying very fresh - that is to say, rotten - mulch, under the watchful eye of the Weyr's gardeners. "No, not that plant! /That/ one!" "Hey, you, you're doing it wrong, here, like /this/!" candidates are told, though some seem to be faring quite well, former gardeners perhaps. Faring less well is Karona, who has elected to show up for work in full smith protective gear, gloves especially. Even so, there's a look of perpetual disgust on her face as she grudgingly carries out her chore, wheeling a big 'barrow of mulched rotten fruit and grains in. Some falls on her shoe, and she grimaces. "Ew ew ew ew ew." she complains, though she keeps walking, keeps working.

"..Ew," is repeated from some spot near the entrance to the gardens, Iessrien having wandered down the main path, thumbs hooked lazily in belt loops, nose wrinkling delicately. He's dressed rather appropriately for the weather, shirt and pants loose and light, hair swept back away from his face, though a feathering of strands manages to brush slightly over his forehead anyway. Pondwater-blue eyes survey the activity going on, flicking from gardeners to candidates with a sort of grim sympathy etched into the sharp lines of his face. "Shells, how much of this crap is there?" is mumbled as he eyes the planting beds with distaste, and makes a wide arc around them, keeping to the less smelly areas of the garden. Karona and her.. attire are noticed, and perhaps there's a vague flicker of recognition, because on his way past the holder jerks his head to her briefly in a nod, and an absent, "Hey."

Karona doesn't recognise Iessrien at first, simply replying with a nod and a "Hey." herself, though at least her constant 'ews' have stopped? She trundles on her unpleasant way, then stops, and glances back to Iessrien. "You're that holder boy, aren't you? Would've thought you'd gone home by now." An opportunity to stop and chat! It's almost with /glee/ that she abandons the wheelbarrow - pawning it off on another candidate - to talk to Iessrien. His white knot apparently isn't noticed, and Karona tends to keep /well/ to herself in the barracks.

"And you're the girl with the water, and the firelizard," lips twitch upward at the corners, Iessrien taking in Karona's appearance, slowing to a stop when the girl does, and standing well upwind of the compost beds. Lifting his shoulders in a slight shrug, the holder boy smiles thinly, "Some dragon decided I ought to stay for awhile, see if I could catch myself a lifemate." He doesn't sound particularly enthused by this prospect, absently lifting a hand to flick at his knot, then nodding toward Karona's, "I see you're in the same lot. Surprised I haven't seen you around the barracks." Then again, he mostly sticks to hanging with other holder boys.

Karona tips her head slightly. "Guilty as charged. Wonder where he's got to now…" she murmurs, then shrugs. It's not that important a thought. "Oh? Congratulations… I suppose." she glances back towards the pungent compost beds, and grimaces. But, it's not /all/ bad, right? Right? "That I am, yes, last time standing for me, unless there's another clutch laid in the next turn." she states matter of factly. "Though I doubt anything will come of it. Spending my afternoons working towards a craft promotion, that's much more useful." As for beeing seen around the barracks, Karona shrugs. "I tend to keep to myself, though that didn't stop the sleeping thunder from taking the cot next to mine." she grimaces. She does look a little tired, actually. Stuck by a snorer in the barracks, poor woman.

Hand tucking back to hook a thumb in a belt loop, Iessrien wanders over to a nearby tree, letting shoulders drop back against the trunk, leaning there in careless fashion. Gaze lazily drifting across the garden, the holder boy shrugs faintly as well, "I think the congratulations are best saved for after the hatching," lips twitching again. "You've stood before?" eyes flicker back to Karona, lashes lowering as he considers the woman, "I guess that is," commented about promotion. "Can't imagine doing something like that myself," he ponders, head giving a slight shake, a lock of hair falling briefly acrss his brow before he puffs a breath out to blow it back away from his eyes. There's a quiet chuckle about the sleeping thunder, and a wry, "You could always move cots? I don't imagine sleeping near that is doing you any good," not outright saying she looks tired, but his tone might imply it.

Karona chuckles lightly, and nods. "True, true, after the hatching. Me, I won't be around then, back at the Harper Hall for some time with my father, probably. It's what I did last time." she shrugs. "Yeah, I've stood before. At Fort, few turns back. There wasn't a dragon out there for me." She doesn't seem too disappointed, though. "I miss the pool tables though, I think that's what I'm going to get with my.. some marks I've just made. A pool table." she decides, with a slight nod. The woman shakes her head slightly at the suggestion to move cots. "It's not /that/ bad yet. I can always move if it gets worse. But we candidates can't exactly pick and choose, if I had my choice of chore I wouldn't be in these gardens today. It's… character-building, I guess they call it. I just prefer to grit my teeth and think about how it will all be over soon." Although 'soon' is still some time away, the eggs haven't been there long.

"You're craftbred?" is asked absently, Iessrien's gaze drifting to pick out leaves in the treetops, studying them with a lazy, idle sort of fascination, before his gaze flicks back to the woman, "Pool?" brow lifting, "If you can find a table, I'm a fair hand at that game." Shifting slightly to get more comfortable where he's leaning back against the tree, Iessrien ponders the gardens again, "Me, I'm going to travel once this is all over. Pol and I, we'll hitch a ride on the first trader caravan out of Xanadu, and travel all the way up the coast, maybe bribe one of the captains to take us across the Azov. My father's had dealings with a lot of seacrafters lately," lips tilting wryly, "Might as well use some of that influence for something." Because Faranth knows, he isn't apparently using it for anything else. As for her refusal to move, he lifts his shoulders in another shrug, "Suit yourself," the snoring's not bothering /him/ after all, and if she wants to put up with it, he's certainly not going to bother about it, commenting wryly, "What they call character-building I call a load of manure," and smirking very slightly.

"I'm… complicated-bred." is Karona's response, frowning slightly. "My… /mother/, she's a rider." And not held in high esteem, judging by the woman's cold tone. "Weyr-bred through and through, generations of riders going back." she shrugs, apparently not thinking much of that. "My father is a harper, but his parents were holders, at Fort. He pretty much raised me til I went to craft. We lived in a Weyr, so I guess I'm sort of, hold-craft-weyr-bred?" Complicated-bred sums it up much more succinctly. "I guess mainly craft-bred, been in it since I turned twelve." Those are some pretty formative years, right there. "Well, what's influence for, if you don't use it?" she does grin, nodding slightly at the plans. "Travel, eh. Sounds interesting." she says, though she doesn't seem all /that/ interested. She has her plans, travel doesn't fit them. "It's a lot /like/ manure, I suppose, in that … it stinks? Okay, not the best metaphor. But the things have got to get done, and candidates have got to be kept busy, I think. So we don't get into trouble. So… we get to do the residents' work. Only the mornings for us crafters though, I get to go do real work after lunch." she grins. After a glance around the garden, she adds, "Lunch and a shower."

"Huh. Seems like it," he comments, on the woman's breeding, Iessrien's gaze flicking back to her, "This is my first time living anywhere outside the holds." He doesn't appear too terribly out of place though, apparently having adapted rather quickly to weyr life, any unease about his current residence well-hidden, at least. The question of influence has him flashing back a slightly wicked grin, "Exactly," the smirk growing, "A lot of people don't seem to understand that." Though admittedly, he doesn't exactly go around flaunting his holder blood either; it's not that impressive in comparison to, say, his older brothers. Stinking manure eanrs a laugh, sunshine-soft, "Guess so. Glad I only have this sort of thing once in awhile. Not looking forward to heading back into chores tomorrow, hopefully something inside. That doesn't smell so bad," nose wrinkling again as the breeze shifts just a little, carrying the scent of rotten stuff toward him. "Shells, I hope the weyr got back at the trader that dumped this lot here. If it had happened in my father's hold, the caravan wouldn't be able to trade again anywhere along the Azov for the next hundred /turns/." He's exaggerating, obviously, managing not to make a face as he watches a gardener roll a wheelbarrow past.

A passing candidate shoots Karona a /look/, and the woman looks guilty… for about a moment. "…how are you adjusting to Weyr life? I was /raised/ in Weyrs - and a Weyrhold - until I turned twelve, spent the /next/ twelve turns at the hall, and a few more since. I still find it… a little much, at times. I've no idea why I keep getting searched." 'Keep'? It's twice. Twice she's been searched. That's hardly constantly. "Mm. Never thought I'd say this, but I prefer /watching kids/ to … this. I'll bet that trader's been dealt with though, /surely/. Well. I can dream." she shrugs. "The indoor chores are the best though. I can't /wait/ for my next day off, but most chores aren't /that/ bad. Just the smelly ones, or the messy ones, or the gross ones." She shudders.

Iessrien glances around, looking as if he might be considering a less fragrant spot to idle, but the wind shifts again, breeze carrying the awful smell away once more. He slumps back against the tree trunk, shrugging absently, "Mmh, as well as can be expected, I guess. I thought the weyr would be different from the hold, but it's just as limiting. People are just as.." lips pursing as he searches for the word, "..full of it." Whatever that means. "Not much more freedom here than at the hold either," and at this he does wrinkle his nose, "Almost makes me miss it. At least there, I could do something about it," puffing out a slightly exasperated breath and just shaking his head. Poor spoiled holder lad. Lips twitch upward at the edges and he has to agree, "I'd rather watch the littles than be out here," hand gesturing to encompass the rest of the garden, "It might be nice, if it didn't stink, anyway." His tone is wry, vague amusement flickering over his face, "I don't think I'd mind a mess so much. But the smell.." pained expression not entirely serious, suddenly holding a finger up, "/Not/ as bad as latrine cleaning, though. I don't envy whoever got saddled with that."

Karona tilts her head slightly at Iessrien, then shrugs. "Yeah. People are people, wherever they are. The Hall is a lot stricter though, I've found. I mean, obviously, we're there to learn, and they expect a certain seriousness about the craft. You can't hope to progress if you don't take it seriously." she grimaces slightly. "…I didn't make journeyman until I was in my twenties. /Early/ twenties." she specifies, but still, it's a few turns older than many. "Mostly it's cause we're candidates though, I think. Some of us will be the next generation of riders, we're held to higher standards." She snorts. "Higher even than /actual/ riders, if you ask me." She rolls her eyes. The mention of latrines has her making a disgusted face, "Bleah, yeah… hope not to get that. Sometimes you get lucky, and some candidate got in a whooole load of trouble, latrines duty is one possible punishment. Certainly makes life a little more tolerable for the /rest/ of the class." she smirks.

Tucking his thumbs back to hook into belt loops, Iessrien lets his shoulders relax against the trunk, head tilting till he's all but being held up by the tree. "Guess you're right," he lets out a breath, followed by a low chuckle, "I wouldn't want to end up in a Hall, shells. If it's worse than here," head shaking slowly, "I guess I knew it was going to be strange. Kind of disappointing, though, that some things are so similar." He doesn't go on to explain that, instead lips twitch into a sly smile, absently adding, "The girls are prettier though." Doot. Another nod and an, "Mmh," about the candidates, "I should.. probably start thinking about what happens if I walk off the sands with a dragon." And there again is that sunshine-soft laugh, a little sheepish now, "Can you believe, I've been here sevedays, and not really thought about it? I haven;t even written to my father to tell him I'm standing." His nose wrinkles just a little, "Knowing him, he's likely to send someone to fetch me back home. Can't have one of his sons going rider on him." His lips tilt a little more, back into that near-perpetual smirk, "If I had to bet marks, I'd say Pol would be the one to get himself into that. Can't say I'd feel too sorry for him, but maan, that's an awful job. Won't ever take a drudge for granted again after knowing that they put up with, let me tell you."

Karona shakes her head slightly, sinking back against a tree. Yeah, she's not going back to work any time soon. "Well, they don't expect people to /go/ to the hall unless they're serious about the craft." she does note, with a shrug. "Anyone can bang a bit of metal with a hammer, the smith craft is for the specialised skills, and access to forges. You could say the same for any craft - anyone could /do/ it, if they wanted, but for the best results, you have to join a craft." The smith candidate shrugs slightly. "Some things are worth the price. For what I know, I can deal with a little strictness." she states. The subject of impression has her frowning. "I… I try not to think too hard about that. I started to get my hopes up the /last/ time. Silly me. But I have to admit, the prospect of impressing, it is… fascinating. My brother's a rider, he visits. Should hear him go on and on about Prisath, like she's the greatest thing to ever happen to him. I guess… I want to see what /that's/ about. Kind of."

"Mm, yeah, I guess they don't," eyes flicking from Karona off toward the flower beds, absently regarding them as he ponders, "I don't do so well with strict." Lips twitch slightly at that, but the holder boy merely relaxes, watching the garden idly as he comments, "My parents wanted me to go into a craft if I wasn't going to marry. Harper lessons be damned, though, I was having none of it." His laugh is a little wry, mostly musing to himself before his gaze returns to the other candidate, stating simply, "I'm only doing this once. After that, I'm going to travel, see the edge of the horizon, all that crap." A pause, "..If I impress though," very briefly catching his lower lip between his teeth, "..I don't know." Another pause, then a more sheepish chuckle, "I guess I'd better get to finding out."

Karona chuckles slightly, and shakes her head, "You should stick around after the hatching, see what the Weyr's like without that white knot. If you've a choice in the matter, that is. Weyrlings don't get to travel." she snorts. "I… I'll be going away for a short time, if I don't impress, but I'll be back. Xanadu's forge is a big draw for a smith, best in any Weyr, and, well, I do sort of like it in the Weyr. Less strict. Though riders can be a bit… odd." she says, taking a brief pause to look this way and that before finishing the sentence. Wouldn't want any riders to overhear, ahem. "I do want to impress, sort of. I don't know many candidates who don't. That's why we said yes, right? But… if it doesn't happen… I'm not going to dwell on it. I've got my craft, I can still make senior journeyman within the turn, and then master eventually."

"Not sure I'll have a choice," he admits, bringing a hand up to run back through his hair, the dark strands shoved away from his forehead falling right into place again. "Mmh, from what I've heard, it's a couple of turns at least, before we're allowed to leave the weyr, if we manage to walk away with a dragon," lashes lower to consider this, "Afterward though.. there's almost /nowhere/ a dragon can't take you." And there might be a spark of /something/ in Iessrien's eyes, quiet brightness in pondwater-drab orbs which has his voice quieting just slightly. He settles his arms lightly over his chest, one foot brought up, knee bent, heel against the tree's trunk. "Riders are odd, I'll give them that," he nods agreement after a little while, "I.. don't really know why I said yes." The sheepishness lingers faintly in his expression, shoulders lifting a little as he gives a shrug, "To piss off my father, maybe. I really don't know. But.. I'll see it through anyway." Determination, that's something, at least.

Karona has a good long stretch, in a vain attempt to conceal a yawn. She's not tired, really! "I wonder how long before the eggs will be hard enough to touch." she ponders, with a slight frown. About choice, Karona smirks. "Well, least if you impress, your father can't drag you back to get married or craft or whatever he wants for you." And riders can go anywhere, there's also that… "But… not sure riders have /that/ much freedom, I know my mother /loathed/ being stuck in one place," 'or one partner' she mutters under her breath, "but she couldn't exactly go roaming on her own with the dragon." Karona smirks at Iessrien's reason for accepting. "Good man! My mother will only be /proud/ if she learns of this thing though." she wrinkles up her nose. "I'm hoping she doesn't hear, and I am /definitely/ changing my name if I impress." The determination seems to get an approving nod as well. "Good trait. Stick it out, that's my motto."

"No idea," Iessrien murmurs honestly, "I've heard the eggs.. they get into your head. Somehow." He doesn't sound at all thrilled about this prospect, but shrugs a little, "It think it might just be stories they made up in the holds, like the ones about dragonriders being so much more loose than everyone else. We'll see, I guess." He has to laugh though, sudden grin easing the sharp lines of his face, "Hah, true enough. I'd love to see his face if I impressed. Shells, now I want to.. I really want to." A smirk twitches the edges of his lips before he just shakes his head, "Doesn't seem likely though." An eyebrow arches at Karona's words about freedom, Iess canting his head to the side, "Nopt sure what your mother did to get stuck in one place, but even I know dragons can between pretty much wherever," any under the breath mutterings either missed or ignored, "I don't see why I couldn't go almost anyhwere. Dragonriders aren't exactly unwelcome in most places." That he knows about, anyway.

Karona actually looks disappointed when Iessrien says he's heard of touchings. "Oh. You know about those, huh? Yeah, yeah they do. I've touched a few, it's… weird." she shakes her head slightly. "Hey, if you impress, can I be there when you tell him? That sounds like something to see." If he doesn't find out and watch from the galleries, that is. "Bah, sure she's /done/ plenty, but she's not stuck cause she's punished. She /does/ go everywhere, but she has to come back to the Weyr, she can't just go off on her own. Her dragon has needs or somesuch, food and numbweed. Dragons eat a lot. Honestly, only thing keeping her from running off, and she /still/ fostered my brother soon as she could." she snorts. "She rides transport though, every now and then I see a flash of brown in the sky and hope it isn't her." she wrinkles up her nose. Sometimes it probably is her mother.

"What's it like?" Iessrien asks the other candidate, in regard to the eggs, glancing at her thoughtfully beneath lowered lashes, and then smirking slightly with a faintly shrugged, "Sure. He'll probably be at the hatching, though. Wouldn't that be something. Hopefully, I won't impress, uh.. green. I'd probably never live it down," looking for a moment, slightly pained there. An eyebrow arches toward his hairline, the holder boy perhaps a bit bemused as Karona explains her mother. "Hrm, I am somehow failing to see that as stuck," sudden quiet laughter, "Shells, if I could travel anywhere and then return to my own bed at night, that'd be /perfect/," his eyes once again sparking with something.. not quite making it into his expression, though a slight grin does tug at his features, "I thought everyone fostered? Shards, even /I/ was fostered for awhile. No way my mother had time to run a hold and raise children." He shakes his head a little more, though doesn't ask about the woman's mother, merely shrugging and turning back to regard the garden, "I won't miss all of this if I impress. Hopefully, candidacy is worth it."

Karona shakes her head slowly. "It… defies description." she says, with a long-suffering sigh at the approach of a gardener. No doubt to make her get into the stench again, good times. "Green's not so bad, my brother rides green." she says, with a warning in her tone. 'You /better/ not be implying things about my brother.' "I suppose I'd want green, nice and small. Maaaybe a blue, a little one. But not a brown, no way. That's just too much dragon for me." she says, but she's already pushing off from the tree, eyeing that gardener. "I just want to go back to work in the forge, I mean full time. It's what I'll do if I don't impress, and it's what I'll eventually do if I /do/ impress. Always room for another craftrider." she says. "Well, it's complicated… Our father was called back to the hall shortly before I turned twelve, he'd raised us but… he had to be there. My mother didn't even /try/." But really, she wouldn't have had the time. "Brother was fostered, I joined a craft soon as I was able. Just how it worked out." she shrugs. The gardener is near now, and does not look happy. "…but looks like break time is over. I'll see you round, yeah?" Karona says, giving Iessrien a wave, as she moves back to the more 'fragrant' area of the garden.

Iessrien arches a brow at the other candidate, then lifts his shoulders in another absent shrug, "No, I suppose they're not so bad. not for me, though. A holder's son can't impress a green," lips twitching at the corners, though really, there's no law that says it /can't/ happen. "Brown is a nice, steady color," he muses, "or bronze. Even blue.." but not green, apparently. Tsk, as if he'll have a choice. "Huh, well, good with that," he chuckles, inclining his head to the woman, and pushing away from his own tree, straightening his shirt and tucking thumbs in back pockets. He just shakes his head as Karona tries to explain her family situation, raising a hand though with a, "Yeah, I'll catch you in the barracks latler," and offering her a smile before he's wandering off further into the garden, eyes flicking here and there to make sure no one's about to rope /him/ into any of this smelly work.

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