Boats and Sanity

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.

The tide is, in fact, going out. Not that it makes all that much difference to most of the boats tied up on the docks, save for some gentle bobbing on the waves, because - while it's not entirely dark yet - it's late enough in the evening that most of the sailors have decided that it's time to repair to the tavern (or other places, but mostly the tavern) instead of sticking around here. There is, however, at least one person still here, and that… is D'lei! Not that he's up to all that much, apparently, just sauntering his way along the docks and glancing at various vessels in what could be the world's most casual inspection except for the fact that he's not actually a docks inspector. So maybe he's looking for one to steal? Who knows!

Make that at least two people! Mwa ha ha. Because Rhodelia also makes an appearance, not long D'lei. Spring may have sprung, but she hasn't given up her cozy winter sweater just yet, especially as this evening stroll seems destined to go onto the actual dock. She clears her throat before getting too close to the bronzerider just in case she was stealthier than she had thought. "So is that a boat? Or a ship? I always get them confused."

And where there's two people, there's… well, there's two people. It's not actually that significant. D'lei tilts his head to the sound of a cleared throat, though it's less in a surprised way and more that it tells him she actually wants his attention for some reason or other. "Heh." He grins, with a glance back over to the… "Boat. It's only got one mast." As if it's a perfectly simple and straightforward thing. D'lei looks back to Rhodelia again, and arches his brows. "Why, you thinking of taking to sea and want to make sure you're doing it properly?"

Rhodelia peers up at the mast that really isn't that impressive considering it's a small vessel and in dock so the sails aren't even up or anything. "Huh. So two masts makes a ship? Or three?" The details, might be important! As for why, she shrugs and sticks her hands behind her. "Maybe… I was a pretty bad apprentice, but maybe I just didn't find the right craft. But then I'd have to find a boat big enough to fit Inasyth on and that might be just a bit difficult…"

"Three, actually," D'lei says, before his mouth gives a sideways quirk. "Though, if it's big enough, nobody cares how many masts. Once she's out on the ocean for a long-haul journey, well, the captain can just call her a ship and throw overboard anyone who tries to argue." He's (mostly) joking, and then he gives a laugh for Rhodelia's explanation, followed by a not-actually-serious nod. "Could be, could be. They do say the sea has quite an allure, and all…. mmh. You could just build the boat around Inasyth? Deck over her back, a rudder-tail, sail-wings… and a lovely impressive figurehead for your prow."

"Don't give her ideas!" Rhodelia gives a horrified whisper but it's too late as along the dragon grapevine, Inasyth's plotting has already started, a picture of herself in just such a boat with her own head as the figurehead… the gold-boat apparently powered by champagne bubbles more than any wind or wings. Or maybe it's farts. It's hard to say. "What brought you out to look at ships? Er… boats."

D'lei just laughs, like the reckless sort of troublemaker he is that gives dragons terrible ideas that he won't have to be the one dealing with the consequences of. Probably. Unless the Good Ship Inasyth goes very off-course, possibly in a dramatic scenario involving a hurricane or something. As for himself? "Heh. Curiosity, I suppose?" He gives a bit of a shrug. "Who's coming through these days, whether I remember any of them…" His mouth quirks. "Whether the fishing-boats still smell like half-rotten herring."

If the Good Ship Inasyth ever does set sail, dramatic scenarios of all kinds are just about guaranteed. And courses? What courses? Rhodelia toes at a bit of rope, carefully coiled and not connected to anything at the moment, just waiting for the need. Her nose wrinkles at the thought of half-rotten fish. "It might be your lucky day then. I don't think any of these smell that bad. Maybe a quarter-rotten at worst. Did you do a lot of work with the boats with the tech-craft?" She doesn't know exactly what all the tech-crafters do, or seacrafters for that matter, but maybe some of the wiry magic is done onboard a boat.

"It might, at that." D'lei grins, then gives a shake of his head. "Nah, these boats -" he gives an airy wave "- I just recognize from when I was Weyrleader." There's a wry quirk of one corner of his mouth, a vague referent to complicated emotions, but they're not enough to disrupt the steadiness of his tone. "There's a few bits of tech you get on vessels - radios, running lights, that sort of thing - but most of what I know is just because my ma's a sailor."

Rhodelia ahhs at the revelation of how the boats could be familiar. "Well, if I remember right, that one," She points to a nearby boat in a massive yellowtail carved for a figurehead and the rest of the boat painted in garish yellows and blues to match. And pretty unmistakeable boat. "Still has a captain that always has at least 50 problems to report, no matter how clear the skies or calm the seas. The running lights are the green and the red ones, right? Figured glows wouldn't be bright enough."

D'lei's gaze follows to where Rhodelia indicates, and then… "Heh. I think he's the same one who also broke the door to the tavern… and tried to claim it was our fault because he was just going there to check on his sailors." Unless, the slight furrow in his brow notes, he's actually thinking of someone else. Which he might be, but. "…I certainly don't miss that part of things," D'lei says, with a crooked sort of smile, and then nods. "Yeah. Especially out in fog, it's as bad as flying through clouds."

"That's the one!" Rhodelia snaps as he hits the nail right on the head. "And a few of the sailors decided to bolt out one of the windows instead of getting cornered by Captain Spiderclaws-in-the-Craw on their restday-eve." From the grin, it's not like Rhody can really blame those poor seacrafters. "I'd think the sailing in fog would be worse. If conditions get too bad, dragons can between on home. Ships… they don't have that luxury." A shiver for the poor potentially fog-lost ships, even if they're hypothetical at the moment.

That as- er, captain. "Right," D'lei says, grinning back with the sort of humour and amusement that is best had for something that is not just past but - if it were to happen again - no longer his problem! Such a wonderful thing, that. Unlike sailing in fog, which… "Yeah," he says, with a more somber expression as he nods. "A dragon's more likely to sense someone else nearby, too. With ships… heavy enough fog, even if you hear something, you're likely to think it's someone across the deck. And if you've gone just a bit off-course… well." His grimace accompanies a gesture of hands bumping together.

"Better hope you got some dolphins nearby?" Rhodelia nods towards the dolphin bell as D'lei's hands re-enact a bit of a shipwreck. "Cause heavy enough fog, would have Galaxy doing more Search than any actual Rescue…" Again, she shudders and wraps her arms and sweater around herself just a bit tigheter even if the air isn't all that cold.

"Yeah," D'lei agrees with a nod. "If Galaxy even knows to come out…" He gives a small shake of his head. "At least when there's a storm, you can plot the course trouble took. With fog, it's just a vast expanse of maybe-fine maybe-not. Even if they manage to radio, it's not like they're going to be able to give you landmarks or anything." He grimaces a little, then half-smiles. "I spent a while in Galaxy, too. And in Monaco's sea-rescue wing, before I came here."

"Don't know how the dolphins do it," Rhodelia peers over the dock edge into the water as if just mentioning them could summon the aquatic mammals. "But glad they do! Galaxy always had the coolest drills when we did shadowing. Although Comet does seem to know a lot more cool places across Pern. Do you miss it? The rescue wings?"

"Sonar?" D'lei suggests with a crooked grin. "Not that it helps us poor humans. Every time I try to shout underwater, I just get a mouthful of wet and start coughing so hard I can't listen for the bounceback." He siiighs, like a petulant child, then follows it up with a moment's grin and then a more thoughtful, pensive look. "Mmh. Sometimes?" D'lei glances away, up toward the sky. "I've been following along some of the drills again, just… well. Really, just to prove I can." He smiles wryly. "It's… funny, kind of, how that job can be so boring and so exciting, often within moments of each other."

Rhodelia tilts her head as she ponders. "Maybe you could get Garouth to bugle underwater? With his mouth shut. That might be loud enough to get some vibrations… Or just befriend some dolphins yourself. I hear they like fish." Hopefully not the quarter-rotten fish that smelled like they were on one of the ships! She nods as he explains the exercise. "How's it going? Feel good to stretch your wings again? At least if sweeps are boring, there's at least a little change of scenery. I'd trade some days when stuck in meetings with some of the holders…"

"…seems worth a try," D'lei agrees, and then pauses for a moment, just long enough to make space for the distant snort from his dragon that is probably not actually loud enough to carry. Still, be assured, it's there. "Might want to wait on the dolphins, though… let the water get just a bit warmer." He grins, as he glances out to those waves, then back to Rhodelia again. "Heh. I mean, some of those holders could probably make it boring even if you conducted your meetings with them strapped on Inasyth mid-dive." His grin widens, and then… he hehs. "Yeah. It is. Even if it's just the training," a wry half-smile, "since I don't have healer approval yet."

"You could feed them from the dock. Or a boat though, if we're just sticking to befriending. Though I guess if you're befriending, might as well steal some of those flippers over there and see how far you could swim," Rhodelia points her thumb of her shoulder back to the dolphineer's supply shed. "And don't tell the pesky healers. If wing duty is not approved yet, I think they'd frown on grand theft dolphin. Probably." Darn healers blocking most the fun!

D'lei just shakes his head. "Even if you're on the dock, you're going to get wet. Dolphins splash, especially if they like you." He grins, just for a moment. "I could tell the healers it was therapeutic. Really, they're not worried about the body side of things at this point, they just… want to be sure I'm, y'know, sane… and not likely to go loopy at some inconvenient time in the middle of a crisis or something."

"I'll keep that in mind," Rhodelia files that mental note away, probably better than she ever files actual files. "The dolphins do work with the healers a good bit. It really could be therapeutic. When its warmer." She holds out her arms as if imaginging the coming summer. "Have they seen this place? Loopy… seems like just a regular day. Maybe that's why they're taking their time. Trying to process of eliminate what might just be Xanadu and what might be a real concern?"

D'lei nods his agreement… then laughs. "Yeah, could be it. Way I figure… it's sort of hard to prove either way, you know? So if they assume you're sane, whatever odd things you do are just being eccentric, but once they've moved you over to the crazy camp, well. Anything and everything's just evidence to support it… and how exactly do you go about proving that you're actually of sound mind?" He grins, though, even if it's followed by a wry twitch at one corner of his mouth. "Especially when the patient isn't actually all that fond of talking to mindhealers. Which I think they see as yet another sign of madness."

Rhodelia hmms as she considers, looking over at D'lei. "Have they had you talking to Ajral yet? She may be a mindhealer, but she's also one of us." The us, clearly being dragonriders. "Although, probably would need to wait until after her Naveanth takes to the sky." The last is more of a whisper. Proddy greenriding mindhealers might not be the best judge of anybody's sanity.

It takes a moment for D'lei to think on that one, and then he shakes his head. "The name's familiar, but… don't think I have." He gives a wry smile, because there are a lot of mindhealers, and they kind of all seem to have various degrees of prying questions with peculiar ideas about the answers. But. "Maybe I'll see if I can get a referral… once the weather's warmer." Not that it actually has anything to do with mindhealing, but… D'lei grins. "Wouldn't want to go up in the skies and catch a chill on sweeps, after all."

"There are definitely some strings, that could be pulled…" Rhodelia smiles a bit at that. "Besides, who better to know what stresses a rider might face than a mindhealer that happens to be a rider too? But yeah, the sky looks a bit sketchy for the moment. Best not to test one's luck… unless you were going to Bitra. Then test all the luck?"

D'lei nods, considering and with a trace of reluctance that has him just as happy that there's a reason why that conversation with Ajral is contraindicated for at least a little while. It's not that he doesn't want to get a clean bill of mental health, it's just… well, it's complicated, and also personal. But. "You're more likely to get lucky if you don't go to Bitra," he says, and grins. "Questions of cheating aside… if you want to win at cards, don't play against the experts."

"Or don't go to Bitra just for the cards," Rhodelia gives a wink. "They have good… drinks! Or the little sausages wrapped in pastry! Or the fancy little cakes about this big!" she holds her fingers just an inch apart.

D'lei laughs, and nods. "Oh, yes. And if you look like you might be interested in playing cards later, they'll give you an extra drink and the snacks to go with it, just to make sure you… feel welcome."

Rhodelia fingerguns at D'lei with a grin. "There you go! Also, wear the right dress and laugh a lot and well… folks don't expect that you actually know what you're doing. I did spend a good couple turns as a bartender after all. Picked up a few tricks besides just some cocktail recipes."

D'lei hehs, his smile a bit lopsided as he nods again. "Just so people see what they want to see… and if you're good enough at it, they don't realize even after you've given them what they don't expect." The smile quirks a bit further. "I'm sure you use that face where you pretend you're interested in someone all the time in meetings."

Rhodelia mmmhms while twirling a strand of hair around her finger. The face she knows all too well, practically a master at it! "At some point I'll get too old to use that face but… they don't keep the lights that bright in there. Would ruin the ambiance after all."

"You think?" D'lei asks, smile crooked. "I mean, maybe all those grandmothers are genuinely interested in hearing about boogers and bugs, but… I'm pretty sure they're using some of the same techniques, just adjusted for number of wrinkles."

"A well placed thumb lick to the cheek always serves to throw someone off their game, make them seem like a kid again," Rhodelia nods as she's seen some of those cunning old ladies. And definitely wouldn't bet against them! They got turns of experience after all.

"See, by the time you get there, you'll have it all figured out," D'lei says with a brisk nod. "I think…" He pauses there, sweeps his gaze along her assessingly, then grins. "Mmh, now I'm not sure. Would you go for old but spry, or a cane to rap shins with?"

Rhodelia has absolutely no hesitation on her answer. "Cane all the way. Never know when someone might need to be tapped. Or could use it to break out into a surprise dance number!" She shuffles a little in a bit of a horribly done soft-shoe, but at least she's got enthusiastic jazz hands to make up for it. Inasyth would be proud (mostly cause Ina is always proud, but especially proud for this).

D'lei laughs, and nods firmly. "Right. I shouldn't have doubted myself… or you. Of course you'd go for versatility. Keep the options open, just in case." He grins. "Besides, then they underestimate you, so the tap-and-or-dance comes as even more of a surprise."

"Maybe I should just bust out that routine some point when a meeting gets exceptionally boring. Think folks would be too busy picking jaws off the floor if I start tapdancing in the council room to notice that I tap danced my way out of said room?" Rhodelia can dream, at least, and give a wistful sigh for said dream.

"Absolutely," D'lei says, with the fervor of someone who has been in those meetings. "I'd regret not getting to see it, though… not enough to actually be there for the meeting myself." He grins. "Though, I might be convinceable to come in with one of those giant hooks and pull you off, just for the plausible deniability."

"I mean… you just have to convince them you're the weyrsecond and then you'd fit right in? How hard could it be?" Rhodelia gives a bit of a shrug. "But then, if you're too convincing you might actually end up with a fancy knot and then have to sit in on even more meetings. They. Never. End." Cue a very dramatic sigh. "Could definitely use the giant hooks to pull some of the holders away when the alloted time is over and they haven't finished saying their piece…"

D'lei opens his mouth, and then he closes his mouth again, and then he shakes his head. "Nope. Can't possibly be a weyrsecond. Questionably sane, you know, and definitely not a reliable source of anything. Also, I have an allergy to meetings. Well-documented, it'll be in my medical records as soon as I break into the infirmary and add it." Which, really, will provide yet more evidence of his mental instability… or maybe just that he fits right in around here. "…I'm not a majordomo either. I mean, you could definitely use one, but… I'd be even worse at that than at 'second."

Rhodelia raises an eyebrow a bit. "I mean… I'm not hearing anything we couldn't work with. Sometimes you need a convenient scapegoat to blame when things go wrong. Scapegoats don't gotta stay in the meetings and they usually get drinks after for the 'sacrifice'." She even does the finger quotes there. "Taking one for the team and all that." Rhody has made the whole taking-blame-for-conveniently-misplacing-documents-or-misscheduling-meetings an art after all. "But you know, wouldn't want to jeopardize your health after all."

D'lei raises his own eyebrow right back. "I thought the point was to get you out of those meetings, not just to give you the vast satisfaction of knowing that someone, somewhere else, is enjoying the fact that they're not." He grins, with a slightly sharp edge to it, an awareness that he is, slightly, intentionally, missing the point. "Though, even at the risk to my health… I think I can definitely enjoy not being in those meetings."

"The meetings go sooooo much faster once people are relieved to know they're not having to work with that guy," Rhodelia explains as if its a fact. "And I mean… I'd rather be stuck in a short meeting than the ones that threaten to drag on past dinner. Because that is surely not good for anybody's health."

"I dunno," D'lei says, consideringly. "Sometimes that just means they decide to try to catch you later, for a private meeting, so they can be sure of having it without that guy threatening to intrude. Do you really want the holders showing up on your doorstep wondering if you've had a chance to think about their proposal?"

"That's when living so close to the feeding grounds is good. Any holders show up on my doorstep, have Inasyth duck behind the barn and do her best impression of a blooding green. Works all the time. Most the time…" At least in Rhodelia's head anyways since she hasn't actually had a chance to put that theory to the test. "And, I don't know about you, but… I'm thinking dinner might be a lot more appealing than boats right about now."

"Mmmh. That'll probably scare off most of them, yeah," D'lei acknowledges. "Though… the ones it won't are the ones you really, really don't want trying to have private meetings with you." He makes a bit of a face, as thoughts tangle somewhere ambiguously between joke and not… then laughs. "Dinner does sound better than boats, yeah… even if the fish here is only a quarter rotten. I'm pretty sure, if we ask nicely, the kitchens could manage something that's not rotten at all."

"Ewww, gross," Rhodelia is appropriately horrified at that and shudders and gags at the thought of the ones that wouldn't scare off. "Now I'm gonna need something to wash that thought out of my head. Last one there's a rotten fish!" And she doesn't even wait, but takes off towards the kitchens. Surely they'll be able to scrounge up something edible and not rotten.

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