Meltdown!
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Xanadu Weyr - Clearing

A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.


It's late afternoon in Xanadu, workers clocking off here and there. Karona comes from the meadow, not watching where she's going, eyes glued to a piece of paper. A letter? Perhaps. Likely she's been reading it since leaving the forge, if not before. There's a sudden squeal of delight, at some word read, and she folds the letter up, putting it in her pocket. Eyes scan the clearing, face red. No-one saw that, did they?

Iessrien totally saw that squeal. The Breakwater holder gives the woman a vaguely dubious look, just slowly shaking his head as he wanders out of the barracks. Hair grown a little over-long wisps across his forehead and over his eyes, tugged out of place by the wind. He brushes it aside with slender fingers, hands soon tucked into jacket pockets after the latter is carefully buttoned, even the section at his collar which is usually left undone. There is the briefest flash of metal at his throat, the boy still wearing that rectangular charm from his turnday, though he's letting his collar cover most of that silver chain its on. His garb, and indeed Iess himself, are spotlessly clean, the boy likely having scrubbed himself raw since the return from the wilds. Dark clothing and hair only serves to brighten pondwater eyes, nearing the hue of the sky than the lake, though still duller and greener than both. Making his way toward the barracks, he drops into an easy, walking slouch, straightening after a moment as he heads for the caverns.

Karona's shifting eyes /spot/ Iessrien, and she lets out an undignified, but quiet, "eep", then clears her throat, schooling her face into sternness. More or less. A hand goes to the pocket with the letter hanging half out of it, and she shrugs, moving towards the caverns. She falls into step beside Iessrien, then picks up the pace slightly, so she's walking ahead of the holder. So competitive today, pettily so. Almost like she wants to be confronted. Is she that hard up for friends that Iessrien is the only one she can share her squeal-worthy letter with? Her clothes are different to the ones she wore on the survival camp, much much cleaner than those were by the end of the camp, but in the same style - long sleeves, long pants - with a jacket over the top.

Alas, Iessrien is not looking terribly friendly as this exact moment, though he does lower dark lashes, glancing sidelong at the smith when she falls into step beside him. He continues at an even pace, seeming neither in a hurry nor interested in being competitive; she's a /girl/ after all. If he notices that hand going to her pocket, he makes no mention of it, merely watching Karona pull ahead without the slightest hint of interest. Is he curious about the sudden uncharacteristic squealy? Possibly. Would he ever admit it? Absolitely not. Thus, even a greeting is withheld, the holder boy merely hunching back his shoulders slightly against the cold and ocntinuing into the caverns without a word.

Karona snorts at the holder boy, glancing back at him as she approaches the caverns entrance. At the non-competitive reaction, she frowns, turning completely around a few steps later, looking… possibly offended. Certainly not happy. "Augh, /boys/. Aren't you even /curious/?" she demands, though she gives no clarification as to the subject of said curiosity. Right. /Boys/ are the problem here. Suuure.

Iessrien's attention has wandered, or at least begun to, the boy having glanced off toward the tavern briefly, though Karona's snorty draws his gaze back, pondwater eyes narrowing on the woman ever so slightly. "..About what?" he doesn't really feign innocence, eyebrows inching together for a second before shoulders jerk slightly into a shrug, "If you want to go around making strange noises, be my guest. It's none of my business." His tone might be just this side of haughty, nose lifting just a little in the air as he continues on toward the caverns, maintaining that even pace, despite the smith's having turned around to eye him.

Karona auuughs! "Boys!" she complains, throwing her arms up in the air. "I have no idea /how/ you lot make it to adulthood, honestly!" she snorts, though she does at least step back, seeming to move off. When Iessrien passes her, however, she turns back, and chases after him. "Did you ever read that letter?" she has to ask, /she's/ got no shortage of curiosity, at least. A lot of nerve though, asking that, after her treatment of the holder.

Iessrien shrugs absently, not bothering to watch Karona even with having overtaken her and then being chased after, his own words rather off-hand, "And /I/ have no idea how /you/ managed it." Insults, he can totally sling them back. There miight, beneath the cool exterior of nonchalance, be a lurking smirk, just twitching faintly at the edges of his lips, but his face remains otherwise composed in an expression of mild disinterest. "None of your business," is muttered smoothly in reply to the smith's own interest, and Iessrien continues walking.

Meltdown! Karona dissolves to coughing and spluttering, /staring/ at Iessrien. "OH, come on! Give me something to work with here!" the smith calls, following the holder, then picking up the pace to walk alongside, then in front again. Walking backwards in front of the other candidate. "FINE! If you won't tell me, I'll tell you about /my/ letter." she decides huffily, as though that wasn't what she wanted all along. She pulls it from her pocket, and waves it in the holder's face. "Or perhaps I shan't." she taunts, though it's doubtful she'd follow through on that.

Iessrien's pace doesn't slow, though Karona's coughing and spluttering might earn a brief sidelong glance. One thin brow arches slightly, but the holder apparently has no intention of giving the woman anything, not even a breadcrumb's hint of something to work with. Nope, he's just going to carry on /walking/. At least pondwater eyes do flick in her direction when she's talking, no interest evident, merely a trace of attention spared, out of what shred of politeness he can must. That, at least, might count as something? He's not outright ignoring the woman. Yet. The letter is eyed with marginal distaste, the taunting earnign only another vague shrug, "..Okay. Whatever."

Karona scowls at Iessrien, but she doesn't stop walking, still backwards. Occasionally she bumps into someone, and there's an "Oof!" or a "Sorry!" tossed over her shoulder, but her eyes, sternly narrowed eyes, don't leave Iessrien. "News from my father." she begins, apparently even /more/ determined to share whatever news, after Iessrien's noncommittal response. "Very good news!" she continues, excitement - genuine - sneaking into her tone. "He's met someone! Mother of an apprentice who was struggling, a widow. They're getting married!" she says, practically squealing now. Most exciting news ever? She seems to think so. Such a girl.

Iess ignores the other candidate's scowl, though his lips do twitch into something more of a smirk once the girl actually bumps into someone. "You should watch where you're going," is offered in again that offhand manner, the holder's lashes lowering a fraction more. As for the news, he maintains a straight, mildly disinterested face, merely shrugging his shoulders yet again. "Uh huh," he continues on into the caverns, a muttered, "I'm not sure why you expect me to care." Because in all likelihood? He doesn't. Not even sparing a further glance for the woman, he'll head inside, just rolling his eyes at the near-squealy and tossing an irritated, "/Girls/," at her, along the way.

"AUGH! Boys, you're all impossible!" Karona declares, glaring at Iessrien, as though he's personally to blame for all boys, everywhere. "You're /supposed/ to be happy for me!" she points out, as though it's /obvious/, even though Iessrien really has no reason to even care what happens to Karona. Doesn't the woman have any /friends/ to bug?

"Why?" Iessrien sounds as if he doesn't really care to hear an answer, not even pausing, "I don't know you, nor do I care to. I care even less for your father." Blunt, and to the point, is the holder boy, though the smirk lingers, just a trace of it on his features. He really does like to irritate the smith, doesn't he? Any glaring or blame directed his way simply slides off like water on glass, the young an entirely at ease with being impossible, as Karona has put it. And possibly a little smug, to boot. Tsk!


Xanadu Weyr - Caverns

A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.

A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, a big archway the largest and that leading outside. Shallow stairs to the west lead to the offices and administration area while tunnels to the east lead to the infirmary, kitchen and resident's quarters. Southwards, a sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs and southwest is a wide tunnel, carefully roped off to avoid accidents.


Karona steps aside after one too many collisions with people passing by, but Iessrien doesn't escape that easily. "You… you're /proud/ of it? Boys! UGH!" she shakes her head, and stalks over towards the serving tables - which, come to think of it, may be Iessrien's destination also. But the smith seems not to care about the holder just now. Seems not to.

Iessrien totally looks like he's following Karona to the serving tables, absently tugging hands from pockets and straightening slightly in the warmth of the caverns. Fingers are brought to his collar to undo the buttons there, just enough so that silver charm hanging at his throat is visible. He does not yet remove his jacket, though, heading instead for plate of whatever meager fare they happen to be serving today. By then the smirk has diddipated, the boy likewise ignoring Karona, possibly intentionally as he instead wrinkles his nose at the food. He'll eat it anyway, though, taking a cup of klah back to a table and setting the dishes down before unbuttoning the rest of his jacket and draping it over the back of his chair. That done, he drops down into a chair with a lazy sort of elegance, one knee crossing above the other in that half-sprawled way boys sometimes sit. He might jerk his head to nod greetings to a few other holdbred candidates, but otherwise lets his gaze drop to the less than delicious offerings in front of him. Sigh. Time to eat.

Karona mutters under her breath the entire time she's at the serving table, and walking back to a table, and yet, it's still Iessrien's table she sits at. Has she just not seen the boy? The plate is eyed with, well, not /quite/ reluctance, but hesitation perhaps. "So… that thing round your neck, where'd you get it?" she asks, without even looking up. Strange woman, Karona. She really needs more friends. Or, just friends.

The holder had been ignoring any and all mutterings. Iessrien might have noticed the smith's whole ..lack of friends thing. Though, given the woman's temperment and attitude towards him thus far, he doesn't seem terribly inclined to offer his own. Still, as fork with something nondescript and mush-like is lifted, the holder boy does pause, gaze flicking to the other candidate when she sits at his table. Food is brought to mouth silently, and subsequently chewed. He doesn't talk till he's swallowed some klah and given her a narrow, slightly appraising look. "Turnday gift," is the short reply, without hostility in any case, said more absently than anything. At least he hasn't told her to go away; he isn't at that point yet.

Karona tilts her head at Iessrien, thoughtfully. "Oh, yeah? Which turnday?" she asks, then attempts to guess: "Well, you must've been at least twelve to be searched… so I'm gonna go with thirteenth turnday." she guesses. Is that guess for real? Who knows.

Iessrien might actually have answered, attention just vaguely on Karona, though his gaze has returned to his food, which he eats slowly and with perfect manners, even using knife and fork appropriately. It isn't so much that he's trying as that it's simply habit. He /is/ a holder's son, after all. At the woman's apparent guess of his age, eye flick irritably to the smith, and then he goes back to eating, not even bothering to dignify that with an answer. Not he /is/ ignoring her.

"Not thirteen." is Karona's guess. "Fourteen, then?" she follows up with. "Older? Give me a hand here, I'm not an expert on the aging process of boys." she snorts. Ignoring? Him? Ignoring /her/? Well, clearly she's just not being obnoxious enough! But, slowly, she does pick away at her food, making progress on that. She glances to Iessrien's plate now and then, and picks up the pace if it needs it - eating /just/ faster than the boy. So competitive. "Who's it from?" she asks, waving a fork at the chain.

Iessrien relents, if only because the woman seems to be trying so very hard here. Again his gaze flicks over, just briefly, pondwater blues considering Karona for an instant before shifting away, back to the less than appetizing-looking food in front of him. "Sixteen," he talks over her snorty, again that offhand tone, as if tossing words out without care if they're heard or not. He doesn't ask her age in return, either not rude enough, or still lacking in interest. There's a lowering of eyelids, for a moment, at the question of who the charm is from, voice a little less thoughtless as he replies simply, "A friend." His own eating ..pace does not chance, taking a sip of klah, utterly unhurried. Maybe he can savor that oh so delightful mush on his plate or something. It can hardly taste /worse/ as it sits there.

Karona leans back in her chair, and eyes Iessrien. "I'm guessing you don't really want to talk." she states, dryly. That's all she says, focusing on her food. Not even a 'happy turnday' or 'congratulations for making it through another turn alive'? Not even that.

A brow arches slightly at the woman, Iess glancing over again, though instead of a sarcastic response, he merely shrugs his shoulders and takes a bit of food, chewing and swallowing, and then taking a deliberate sip of klah before he speaks. "Not particularly to you, no," the answer is honest, if nothing else, though he does briefly eye her from beneath lowered lashes, "I'd reather talk with people less rude." Yes, he's totally accusing /her/ of rudeness. Still, the holder is apparently willing to settle for a sort of truce, if not outright friendship. It's.. progress?

Karona narrows her eyes at Iessrien, but at least there's no snorting? "…people less rude… As I recall it, you were the one ignoring me." Truce? But she has a chance to be right! It is perhaps not surprising that she lacks friends.

Iessrien doesn't appear fazed by the accusation in return. Was he expecting it? Quite likely. "If you're rude, you should come to expect people will ignore you," pointed out again in that same offhand tone, his attention returning to his food, eating without slowing or increasing pace, at least pausing once or twice to let the warmth of the klah mug seep into his hands, but otherwise appearing uninterested in the conversation with the smith. Alas, manners he has in eating are not extended into politeness towards her.

Karona just snorts, poking at her food idly. "Hmph. Point." she admits grudgingly. A hand goes to the letter, and she frowns. "If you'll excuse me…" she begins, but doesn't finish, already rising from her chair, empty plate abandoned. She heads out to the clearing without a single glance back, presumably to find someone who'll at least /pretend/ to be thrilled with her news.

Iessrien doesn't look up, though there might be a slight browraise in surprise as the woman actually /concedes/ to that point. Huh. The abandoned food /is/ eyed, but he's not about to chastize her; unlike the smith, Iess minds his own business. Even if he might wrinkle his nose slightly once she's gone. Still, eating continues, the holder probably eventually striking up conversation with some pretty girl or other nearby.

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