Claims to Fame When Fortune Runs Out

Xanadu Weyr - Hot Springs
The warmth that flows from this cavern is almost overwhelming for some, the steam rising from the shimmering pools as thick as the morning fog that rolls in off the ocean. Numerous pools are scattered here and there with ribboned walls that are natural in their construction. The water has a somewhat green cast to it, but it is merely a reflection from the ethereal light which is the glow down here that was so noticeable from the tunnel leading here. People can often be found down here washing themselves or just relaxing.

Situated along the walls are various racks covered in fresh towels ready for those who step out of the warm waters. A set of shelves have been installed towards the back wall, allowing people a place to put their belongings while they rest in the pools, and despite the white color that these have been painted, they are cast with that eerie green glow. Then, it's obvious. The ceiling of this cavern is covered in the fluorescent phosphorous matter that glows are made off. The mossy substance almost glitters and appears quite lovely.

A sloped tunnel leads back to the main caverns, a single branch carved out along it to detour down into the laundry room. It allows the passage of people, but even more importantly, it allows for metal pipes wrapped with insulation that run along the ceiling to carry heated water back and forth to where it's needed.

Rare is a day that doesn't find candidates in need of a bath by the end, at least with summer in full swing at Xanadu. Thankfully, with the hour drawing toward 'late,' the Hot Springs isn't a mad crush of bodies-bodies-bodies looking for a little square of space to scrub in. While there's a burble of conversation and splashes that drifts through the steam-filled cavern from those still using the space, from one of the smaller pools, there's only a softly hummed melody, more haunting than cheerful. Tej seems to have lucked into having the pool all to herself! That might have used up her luck though, as her sole companion, a freshly oiled green firelizard, seems to have appropriated the small stack of towels balanced on her sandals as the perfect spot for a nap. The woman's calculating gaze on said firelizard might be an indication that plots of extremely small scale are afoot to eventually reclaim aforementioned towels when the time comes, but until then, she'll keep scrubbing - in this case, with a washcloth to opposite arm, scrubbing in some kind of scented exfoliant. After a dip of cloth into water, Tejra shifts the step closer to pool's edge to apply more of the scrub onto the cloth from a jar in her small basket of bathing supplies ritually brought to and from the barracks, much like any other candidate with their own private stash.

The redhead's luck is running out, because this delightfully person-sparse pool is where Izobet turns up to wash off her day of chores, and maybe spend some quality time with this woman who she doesn't know. "Hi!" she greets Tejra as she slides into the water and turns to make sure her things are within reach before she gets too comfortable in the hot water. "My name's not actually Tunnelsnake, but don't tell anyone, okay?" Why she would divulge such serious information to Tejra is anyone's guess. Especially since she doesn't think to say what her name actually is. Or why it matters. Maybe this is her bid to impress the older woman?

There are many reasons that Tejra can sound entirely sincere when she shifts her pale gaze to the younger candidate and intones, "I wouldn't dare." It could be because the harper has a long history of not much caring what a person's actual name is, or because she's been markedly one of the more aloof candidates and therefore not likely to engage in barracks gossip - at least, nothing so mundane as Izobet's actual name, which there's even odds she's happened across on her own. Whatever the case, Tejra's not inclined to linger on the younger girl's unprompted disclosure. That she's at least been paying attention to whatever gossip happens in her vicinity readily becomes clear when she asks, "Were you on craft duties today or candidate?" It might just be that there are few enough crafter-candidates in the class that exercising this default bond makes for easy conversation, or maybe she's seeking to truncate any further sooper sekrit divulging in the faux privacy of the hot springs. Just because you can't see the other bathers through the fog, Izo-Bet-Ya, doesn't mean they can't hear you!

Obviously Izobet's eyes are incapable of actually sparkling, because this is real life (lol). But she does seem earnestly invested in the idea that Tejra is aware that she's not just a candidate. Even if her answer is a slightly weary, "Candidate. I'd rather be out on the water with Sarmo, even if he's still mad at me. Except he did say he's enjoying his vacation from me for now." Izobet sounds more proud of herself than she probably should be for that, but only seems to realize after she's said it that it might not look good on her to Tejra. "He's just like that, though, he doesn't actually hate me." Smooth save! Quick, change the subject! "I heard someone say that you're, like, the oldest candidate ever. Is that true?"

Some might argue that here where pretty people are so plentiful, actual sparkling is possible. The lights could catch them just the right way~ Tej might just not be in the right light because her eyes are decidedly not sparkling, but she does allow a wry smile and commiserates, "Mine make similar comments." Of course, her duties probably have less in the way of direct supervision which one might imagine would reduce the headaches she gives her higher ups, "And I was barely arrived when the knot came my way." That bemused remark might be more to herself than Izobet. With all this very casual replying, it's likely that the Too-Tough-To-Chew candidate doesn't take offense to the question, though it might be hard to prove it when the redhead lowers her voice, tipping her head just enough to imply sharing a confidence and answers, "It's true. It's my claim to fame. Just like yours is being the fiercest tunnelsnake wrangler east of Great Bay." She says it so casually and with so straight a face that it might prove difficult to discern if she's just relating what she's heard and believed or making a joke. CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE, Izo-Bet-Ya!

"I REALLY wanted to touch the eggs," is Izobet's excuse for accepting a candidate knot as readily as she did even though Tejra hasn't asked about that at all. Maybe thinking about her Journeyman keeper is making the younger candidate a little defensive for the sake of the man who isn't here. "Oh, no, no." She's going to call that bluff immediately. "I've never been within a dragonlength of a tunnelsnake. And I never want to be." She's looking at the water now, like one might appear now that she's spoken it into existence. "I hope your claim to fame is that you never gave up and your dragon finds you before you're too old. Just like I hope mine is that I find a dragon and a dolphin to be my friends. I bet they'd be great friends." She's definitely fantasized about this before now.

Tej, the Oldest-If-Not-Most-Jaded Candidate on Pern, must earn some kind of universal karma credits for not taking the opportunity to suggest that a dolphin might just look like dinner to a dragon in the face of those rainbow-sunshine-sparkles dreams. The fact that her mouth only opens and then closes with a slight flaring of pale eyes that she even goes to the trouble of hiding by turning toward her basket as she rinses her second arm under the water is nothing short of spectacular self-control. All those years at the barre paying off at last~~ Instead, she decides to participate in that earlier bit of conversation Izobet had with herself, asking over her shoulder, "And did you yet?" Touch them. The eggs. Presumably. Maybe Izobet's other conversational partner is the one who's supposed to fill in the specifics there. As for the younger girl's sweet declaration regarding what she hopes Tej's claim to fame will be… Well, if it finds its way to the heart Tej must have to qualify for candidacy to begin with, it doesn't look like evidence of such is forthcoming now or ever. At least Izobet doesn't have to talk about tunnelsnakes with Tej anymore, so… yay?

Still slightly wary of the water and whatever water-breathing tunnelsnake has a grip on her imagination, Izobet works on washing herself while thoroughly distracted. "Did I- Oh! Yes! They're not at all what I was expecting. Terrifying, really. But in a good way." It's a thing! "Mostly. Can you imagine if that's what it was like to touch a wherry egg? Or a firelizard egg? Or a firelizard? Or a dragon?" She shudders at the thought of getting that much feedback from touching any assortment of other things and beings. "Are they all like that?"

"I hear it can be like that, touching a dragon, or not touching a dragon, if it's yours. Depends on the dragon. Have you met many here yet?" THEY'RE SPECIAL, IZOBET. ASK ANYONE. Tej's wringing out her washcloth as she speaks, laying over the handle of her basket before she's making sure she's thoroughly rinsed, swirling limbs in the water, sinking down to where her chin skims the top of the water. "Eggs are as varied as life. I once said 'as people,' but the more eggs I met, the more I understood the scope is wider than that." She doesn't seem terribly concerned about Izobet grasping what she means. "If you stand again, you'll be able to compare." This isn't to say she doesn't think Izobet will get her gossamer dreams of joy and perfect love of the dragon-human-dolphin trifecta, but as one who's stood an embarrassing number of times, it's possibly offered as a silver lining should those dreams SHATTER LIKE EGG SHELLS ON HATCHING DAY. "They're still growing. That's what the weyrlingmasters everywhere remind the candidates. They're just babies and sometimes their minds do interesting things with the tidbits they gather." It's probably just so the weyrlingmasters don't have to put so many candibebes back to bed after egg-inspired NIGHTMARES.

"Noo," says Izobet about meeting dragons, a little wide-eyed. "I talked to Leirith the first time I saw the eggs. She and Risali gave me my knot. But." But it wasn't like touching the eggs, she's probably thinking to herself. "Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing who's actually in all those eggs, whether one of them likes me or not. People babies take so long to know who they are, but it seems like you know pretty quick with dragons. And dolphins, I guess. But dragons can just talk." And apparently Izobet finds this utterly fascinating.

Aaand with the mention of 'people babies,' Tej is oooout. Sure, it takes the redhead another moment to shift so that she's moving to the side of the pool, so maybe the connection isn't obvious, but it doesn't take her long to get to the wall and pull herself out of the water. "You should meet more of the dragons," the older candidate recommends as she performs a feat of wonder, in the nude, with aplomb, snatching the bottom towel out while leaving the still sleeping firelizard in possession of her sandals and hand towel. Hold the applause~ "Or not. Some might not want to know what fate might befall them." That's not ominous at all, of course. The Harper makes quick work of wrapping herself in her towel, before crouching to rearrange things in her basket enough that the small towel remaining and firelizard can both be deposited over top of some of the things in there. There's a groggy protest from the beast but not much more. That accomplished, sandals are all Tej needs before she's heading for the shelves to change into her walk-across-the-Weyr clothes, calling, "See you back at the barracks, Tunnelsnake," quietly over her shoulder with a little finger wave at the girl.

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