Sink or Swim

Xanadu Weyr - Docks

The main dock of Xanadu Weyr has a T shape, the central pier extending out and then splitting into two branches. That central dock extends slightly past the branching, making a square often used as a staging area for supplies or simply as a spot to sit and relax.

Pointed away from the main beach, there's the dock where ships moor. The fishing vessels who make their home here are joined by trading ships and the occasional personal craft, bobbing on the waves.

In the other direction, there's an area used by the dolphineers. There's a shack with supplies, extra fins and breathing gear hung against the outside, and a large raft moored to the dock near a ladder. It floats low in the water, easy to clamber on or off, and on it is a Dolphin Bell, the rope dangling into the water to let the dolphins summon their crafters.

It's early afternoon out in the lake and the warmth is on the winning side as the breezes are calm. Most of the boats are out at sea so it's a perfect time to get the Candidates outside for a little bit. Sitting on the edge of the dock is L'gan, digging through a large bucket along side another man watching curiously. The other man laughs and points at a particular object with and the bronzerider nearly loses it. "Aw, man. I'm saving that one for the Candidates. Where's Risali at…" Something dark moves under the waters surface, coming close to the dock, then it circles and vanishes into the deep below.

Another mundane task, assigned to the candidates, has Metan bored and inattentive to the task at hand. He should be doing what he was asked to do - only he doesn't remember what that was. So he stands, idle on the dock, hands shoved into his pants pockets and gaze angled towards distant clouds.

Skipping lightly, happy to be again on such familiar territory, Zaria moves to look into the bucket that L'gan is digging through. "Is that bait, Sir?" she asks curiously, squinting to get a good look. The movement under the water catches her attention briefly as she runs through a mental checklist of what kind of marine life it could be, her knowledge from her days working her father's Fishing boat a huge advantage to her here. She sighs a little bit, "I should have brought my pole down with me." she mumbles to herself.

The man joining them all looks over to Zaria with a grin, and he chuckles a bit, rubbing his hands together as he leans over the dock and motions at the surface. "There's plenty of time for that, Candidate, but today wouldn't be a good day for fishing when you're here to spend time with them." He pushes himself to his feet, using L'gan's shoulder as a brace as he rises and pulls his hair back into a quick runnertail. "Alright. Welcome, Candidates! I am Dolphineer Journeyman Shion and that little adorable terror of the deep there is Tikki. We're going to be spending some time together today and if you're not afraid to swim, might be able to get a little more up close and personal. Dolphins are curious creatures, so don't be surprised if his friends come out and join us. First, any personal belongings you don't want lost you might want to put aside. There's a small stack of buckets over there if you want to claim one for that purpose. The inlet likes to eat things. Second, if you can't swim, don't pretend and let us know now. They like to give lessons, and lastly, if you're feeling unwell, don't take any chances. Let us or the rider know and we'll get you medical attention. We're here to have a nice fun leisure day. Any questions?"

"A leisure day?" Metan asks, eyes casting down to look at that shape beneath the water. "Tikki?" He seems so prepared to refuse this opportunity, his crooked smile no where in appearance. A glance is given towards Zaria. "You swim with these before?" he asks, moving to shuck off his shirt. His footwear is abandoned. He's prepared to dive in the sea in his pants. A glance is given to Journeyman Shion and then he does that - dives right in. He doesn't surface immediately. Is he drowning?

"Brilliant!" Zaria exclaims before she reins it in a little bit. Clapping her hands in anticipation, she begins to strip off her clothes, revealing some small clothes perfect for swimming, a strip of linen banding over her barely there chest and a pair of short shorts. She looks over at Metan as she wriggles out of her leather trous, "With shipfish? I mean dolphins." she shoots an apologetic look at Shion. "No, I've seen them enough times though at Black Rock hold and out on my father's fishing boat." And then she follows Metan's lead and runs to the end of the dock, taking a much practiced leap into the air and performs a dive that leaves only a few ripples behind her, very little splash.

L'gan closes his eyes just in time for the candidates to make their splash and he grins, moving his feet into the water. The bucket is pushed back from the edge and just out of the way for safe keeping. Then, a look of suspicion washes over his face. His relationship with buckets is unpredictable. He pulls it back into his lap, shaking his head with a frown, then watches the water just in case. "Is the whole pod in today or is it just a few stragglers?" A wave of water is sent over the docks, claiming the bronzerider as it's first victim of the day. The candidates didn't count since they jumped in willingly. A dolphin surfaces, splashing water with his snout before turning in a circle and vanishing under the surface. "You sure you wanna do that, Tikki? I might not share this bucket then."

Metan's in the water… and then Zaria. Eventually, the man surfaces some disant off the dock. He angles his body into a floating position, using his arms to keep him afloat as the rest of him works at staying above the current. He'll let Zaria take the lead here, though he does lift his head enough to eye Tikki.

Zaria doesn't resurface until several long breaths later and much further off. She raises her head from under the water and shakes her short do out so that wet lightly ginger colored locks are sticking out in all directions. Treading water, she swims back in the direction of the dock and where the dolphin is. She holds back respectfully but she takes careful measure of the creature in the water with them. She is clearly at ease in the water, her somewhat gawky movements on land are replaced with practiced ease, it's obvious she's been swimming most her life.

"Tikki has been working hard lately so he and a few others are lingering around Caspian, the rest went out to sea. I figured we'd let him play a bit. All work and no play makes for a mischevous dolphin and mischevous dolphins like to take things to a whole other realm of chaos. Isn't that right, Tikki?" Wut. Who. Me? The bottlenose resurfaces at the dock, nodding his head quickly before splashing his human and laying on his side as he glides under the water. Shion mutters under his breath, scratches at his dark whiskers and pads on heavy feet over to a large bin. A few items are pulled out and he lines them up on the edge. "Here, Tikki. Teach these Candidates some things." Tikki grabs the rope ball and moves down the way, pushing it towards Metan. Wanna play, pretty boy? I gotchu.

Metan's swum back closer to the dock, knowing he can't push his inattention too far in an organized event. Chores are an entire other matter. He looks to the dolphin and the ball that moves his way. "Uh, what do you want? Me to throw it?" Because that's what the male candidate does. He scissor-kicks forward, grabs the rope ball, and lugs it away from him - only it happens to splash unfortunately close to Zaria's swimming form. "Sorry!" he shouts, looking sheepish as he throws his hands through his damp hair and grins crookedly at the other candidate.

Zaria exclaims loudly when the ball lands with a splash right by hear head. With a giggle, she waves a hand at Metan, "No worries!" she calls as she picks up the ball and tosses it in the direction of the Tikki. She has some force behind it and arches it up high.

Tikki turns his head to watch Metan throw the ball, clicking the whole time his snout follows it's trek towards Zaria. "Weak throw!" he croaks out before whistling at Zaria, rising out of the water to catch it and take it back with a splash. Shion shakes his head at his partner and offers a crooked grin towards Metan. "He says that to everyone! Then complains when you throw it too far." Shion settles himself back down on the docks with a heavy thud, holding his hand out to L'gan for the bucket.

"I'm sorry- did he speak?" Metan asks, only now catching on to the fact that Tikki may have such capabilities as speech. "I'd heard- but, no. I didn't believe it." He shakes his head and moves back over to the dock. He heaves himself out of the water, settling on all fours on the dock to shake his mane of hair free of as much water as possible. He sits then, kicking his feet over the side of the dock to watch the dolphin move in the water.

"You heard right. Dolphins are capable of speech. They can't do long drawn out sentences at his age, but he knows enough words to get his thoughts across. Including colorful ones because the apprentices think it's absolutely necessary for some reason." Shion shrugs, and takes the bucket handed to him, digging about. A fish is freed from his bucketparty and it's held out to Metan in offering. "He hasn't had lunch yet. Make him do your bidding for it." The Journeyman laughs loudly, deliberately pointing to Tiki to clicks back in return. Oh, two can play this game…

"I know how to train animals," Metan says to Shion, eying the fish now in his hands and then out towards the water and the bobbing head of the dolphin. "However, were I to ask someone to get one of my creatures to comply for them untested, unapproved, they'd likely do nothing." He leans forward, tossing the fish out towards Tikki. "Dolphin," he commands it, "I think you should eat." He casts a sly glance up at Shion and winks, adding, "If they are intelligent, it's best to make a friend of him much like you would a child, right? The fun 'uncle'?"
Zaria finishes off some laps and comes back towards the docks, catching the last bit of what Shion is telling Metan. "Ohhh, can I try feeding him too?" she calls. Watching Metan trying to reason with the shipfish, she stiffles her giggles and then treads water closer to the dock to be able to receive some fish herself.

"Dolphins are very much like people. You can try to train them all you want but in the end, they're going to do what they feel is right. These guys, they're free. They work with us by choice and not because they're ordered to do so by the Crafthall. Their pod leader encourages it." Shion digs around the bucket and shows a particularly strange one to L'gan who peers in, flinches, then leans in a little closer. "Their pod leader is like the crankiest gold dragon in the world. Her influence is in her temper and experience, she commands through respect she's earned and it's not something she was born with. I don't argue with Nida, and Nida doesn't have patience to argue with anyone. Though, if you make a friend out of him, Nida might turn a blind eye since you're keeping him off her tail." L'gan pulls a fish out and with Shion's approval, leans over and hands it out to Zaria. "Uncle!" Tikki yells out, then dips under the water.

"Interesting," Metan murmurs, listening with half an ear at the details shared his way. He'll toss food towards Tikki in a shared fashion with Zaria before he makes his excuses and wanders off. He'll have some things to consider from his interaction with Shion and the dolphin.

Zaria takes the fish from L'gan and then pulls herself up onto the dock again and holds it in her hand as she stands on the edge of the dock. "Oh Tiki?" she calls out. "I got a yummy fish here." she may have giggled at Metan's analytical manner, but she seems to feel like she is talking to a puppy. Leaning out and holding the fish out at the very end of her reach, arm outstretched over her head, she says in a loud voice. "Can you reach it there or is it too high?" She watches the surface of the water, trying to guess where the dolphin may reappear.

Tikki reappears from under the dock itself, belly up as he zooms out. A quick dive and turn around, then the dolphin glides back to the peer. He pushes out of the water just a little, gently taking the offered fish and swallowing down. Anyone who has food is alright in his book! Bonus if he doesn't have to try too hard. He gets closer to the dock as close as he can, resting his chin on a ramp low enough to be inches above the surface. "You want a rub down, don't you, you spoiled dolphin!" Shion snorts, kicking some water Tikki's way. "Not spoiled!" All lies, but how could anyone believe that with that sweet and adorable face? He wiggles his tail just a bit, letting him slide up on his belly but not so far up the ramp where he couldn't wiggle down if need be.

Zaria laughs out loud when Tiki pulls the fish so gently out of her fingers and then claps in encouragement. "That was great!" she calls. As the dolphineer mentions a rub down she moves to the side slightly to allow the dolphin access up onto the dock. Stooping down, her knees in her chest, she reaches out and touches the very top of the dolphin's head, very gently at first. "Wow! Not at all like a fish! No scales or anything. And not slimey at all." she marvels softly.

"Sometimes they get slimy but it's not all that bad, the slime is just conditioning for their skin. There's a lot of tiny fishes that swim with the dolphins and feed off of the slime so it's not all that bad." Shion shrugs, putting the bucket between himself and the bronzerider, pushing back just a tiny bit. He turns to L'gan, then peers back into the waters, tilting his head from side to side as though he's hearing a little song. There might even be a little bit of humming while he inches back from the edge of the dock just a little… Then he abruptly shoves the bronzerider into the water with a wide grin on his face. "There ya go! You stalled long enough. I know you know how to swim!" For a moment, there's only a bit of foam hissing to the surface and L'gan rises up, resting his forearms on the dock with his long hair covering his face. He blows water off of his mouth, then proceeds to shake his head as hard as he can, hoping to get the Dolphineer in the process. "How did I know you were going to do that? Jerk." Tikki? He saw it coming, trilling his own amusement as he holds still for Zaria. "More rub!" he croaks.

Zaria listens intently to Shion and nods her head a little bit, "That's facinating." and she seems to truly mean it. She watches as the dophineer gets the better of the bronzerider and laughs heartily as he is tossed in the waters. "The water's fine!" she calls after him jovially. At Tiki's words though, she is enchanted by the large mammal and resumes her rubbing with more vigor. Fingertips are rubbed into the flesh on the back near the dorsal fin and then down to the pectoral fins, moving both hands over the rubbery surface of the dolphin's body.

Tikki? He loves a good rub and while he gets plenty of rub downs from Shion, his party isn't as sweet and nice as Zaria is. L'gan turns around, staying in the water but he rests his arms on the dock, kicking his feet out in the water but not without keeping a close eye on his friend. Another shadow emerges from down below, quickly darting off into the darkness. "Looks like some of 'em are back," Shion mutters as he peers out over the lake with his hands shielding his eyes from daylight. "What's that, Shion?" Tikki gives Zaria one last little trill and he wriggles his body, scooting himself backwards off of the dock and back into the water. Friends are back! "Oh, what's that? I didn't say anything, Legan." The bronzerider scowls and frantically tries to get back onto the dock but it doesn't last long, as the man is roughly pulled down into the water's surface. Shion laughs, gathering the toys and brings them over to where the Candidate stands. "Here. They're all going to want to play. They love the rope balls and weighted rope rings. If they like you, they'll take you down with them to fetch in the shallow parts."

Zaria giggles and moves back a little bit as Tiki makes his way back to the water. She stands on the docks and looks at the other gathering bodies in the water. About to take a rope ball from Shion, her stomach decides to take that exact moment to loudly proclaim how empty it is with loud gurgles and rumbles. Putting her hands over her mid-drift self consciously, she blushes a little bit. "I need to get some food, I missed breakfast cause I slept in. Thanks you so much sir," she says as she bows in Shion's direction. To the bronzerider in the water she offers a deep bow as befits her station of candidate and salutes formally, maybe with a hint of irony, "Sir!" she calls with a smirk before doing an about face and grabbing her clothes on a run as she heads back to the Caverns.

L'gan stomps his way down the pier, nodding his farewell to Zaria as he moves onto the lower docks and looms over Shion with his hands on his hips, staring with a scowl on his face. He reaches out to shove the Dolphineer over but he's too slow, as Shion uses his momentum against him and forces the rider to fall right back into the water. Shion laughs and begins to clean up with the help of Tikki. There's plenty more to do.

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