Nicknames, Kittens and Candidates, Oh My

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that 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. The stone is carefully leveled 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 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. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.
There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, 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, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.

It's late evening, and the majority of diners have already eaten their fill and moved on for the night. That's not to say the caverns are empty, though; lingering pockets of people work their way through the remainders of their meals, and some - such as Quillan - are only just on their way in to be fed. He makes a beeline towards the buffet, passing by a few people he knows on the way to clap shoulders and say hi, before grabbing himself a plate and picking his way through what's available at this late hour.

Not here to dine is Zak. At least he's not here to dine for himself. In his arms is a small ordinary basket. From within the basket the sound of tiny little mewls can be heard. Sounds like baby animals of some sort. Not wanting to disturb others in the barracks who may be wanting to sleep he chooses a seat near Quillan, who he's yet to meet. "Hey there." he greets absently.

Quillan isn't the only late diner. Esiae's leaving the buffet just as the crafter-turned-candidate arrives, the goldrider offering a wave of greeting even if she doesn't know him from Adam (yet). Hair askew and held up by two crossing pens, the junior weyrwoman looks tired, but happy, humming a tune to herself as she chooses a seat at random - coincidentally, the ones near them. "Oh, sorry. This seat isn't taken, is it?" A wary blink is given for Zak's basket, then for the candidate. It takes a second, but then it clicks. "Oh, hey. Beastcrafter! From Igen. Starts with a Z." Wince. "Sorry, bad with names. Anyways, you gave me kitten advice. Did you get yourself searched?" The idea seems to amuse her as she slouches in her seat and starts to pick at her food. The kitten in question is probably roaming somewhere nearby, waiting for scraps.

"Hey," Quillan says to Zak, settling down into his seat with his plate. Clocking the knot on the lad's shoulder, he gives a sharp nod of greeting, too, and he seems about to say something when Esiae joins them. "Oh… evening, ma'am. Please, have a seat?" She seems to know who Zak is, and she asks the question he was about to. "Candidate Z? Welcome to Xanadu. Watch out for Fishboy… he's a bit weird." Quill raises his hand to circle his finger by his temple, suggesting a screw loose.

"It's Zak but you can call me that 'Beastcrafter-From-Igen-Whose-Name-Starts-With-a Z' if it's shorter for you." quips Zak in amusement. "Trust me it was a surprise but yes, I'll be here for a time. Seems I get a chance at the eggs on the sands." speaking of kittens they aren't roaming around they are right here. After rummaging through a bag at his side he sets up a small bottle on the table in front of him before reaching into the basket. He hesitates as his attention is briefly shifted to Quillan. "Wait, who is fishboy?"

Esiae only sighs for Quillan's use of ma'am, but knowing the Weyrlingmaster and his rules, she doesn't correct the candidate. Instead, she says "Thanks!" and makes herself a little comfier. This makes her amused glare over at Zak all the more humorous, surely, one slim blonde brow lifting over at him. "Don't even go there. I will call you that for the rest of your life," she mock-threatens with a fierce grin. She doesn't repeat Zak's question, but instead peers over at Quillan for the answer, trying really hard not to condone bad-talking other candidates by attempting to keep a smile off her face. It rather fails. "That's not nice." There. Chiding dispensed, she can chuckle about it. Poor Maorin.

Gerazal comes in to grab a late meal and he takes off his jacket as he enter. He moves over to get himself a mug of klah and he looks around for someone to sit with. It's no fun to sit alone. He spots a trio and moves over towards them, "Good evening can I join you three?" He nods politely to the Weyrwoman.

"Fishboy's the one with the funny face… you'll know him when you see him. He came off a boat, claims to love rolling around in fish, so… Fishboy." Quillan gives Esiae an apologetic little shrug, popping a morsel into his mouth and swallowing it down before responding properly to her. "I don't think he minds. He did tell Janaya and I that he likes big vats of fish to roll around in, so…" So, he's trying to convey that he's not being malicious about it. Or something. When Gerazal approaches, Quill looks to the empty seats around him and shrugs. "Knock yourself out, man. Plenty room here."

Zak gives a sort of challenging look at Esiae's threat though he also looks like he knows it is an empty one. After all the choices lie between a large mouthful to say or a simple three letter work such as Zak. Perhaps if he does Impress he'll change it to a super long word that no one can pronounce. As Q gives the answer he simply nods like he understood all of it. Which he most likely did not. "Oh. Well um that's unusual. To roll in vats of fish." he comments. Pulling out the first kitten in a basket it is an all black kitten which he starts feeding. "So maybe I can be Igen boy. Or Animal boy. Since I do have three kittens with me." it'll be easy to figure out which cot is his. Look for the kittens playing and stealing covers. If there is a rule against pets he's not asking. "Esiae…ma'am." he hastens to add. "You were still interested in one, yes?" as Gerazal joins them he gives him a nod. "Evening."

Esiae likewise gestures the the open seats around them, chin dipping in a nod of greeting. "Hi, Gerazal. How's the little one?," she greets before she glances back at Quillan, both brows raising this time. "Don't suppose he was being sarcastic, do you?," she drawls, but she's grinning all the same, one hand swishing to wave away his concern. She just can't actively be seen egging the candidates on. Or can she? "Well, be sure to tell Fishboy I said no vats of fish in the dormitories. Innes already wants to gut them. No need to give her a good reason." Like fish stank. As for Zak, well, if she's going to be too lazy to call him 'Beastcrafter-From-Igen-Whose-Name-Starts-With-a Z' (likely), then her suggestion is going to be, "Catboy." If there are rules about animals in the barracks, well, that's not her job. Instead, she smiles crookedly and shakes her head. "Not me - I've got Bran, and he's enough for me. I was interested for a friend, once they're weaned."

Gerazal puts his jacket over the back of one of the chair and he sets his klah down, "Thanks I'll be right back. I'm Journeyman Weaver Gerazal by the way. Nice to meet you candidates." He says as he's back to go up and get himself a plate of food. He comes back and he moves to sit down, "Nikita is fine loving her new kittens and being very responsible in reminding me to help her take care of them. She hasn't tried to get any other animals yet thank goodness, but it's only a matter of time." He hmms, "Maybe all the candidates should have animal nicknames…"

"I'm an Igen boy too, Candidate Z." It would seem that nickname's sticking in Quillan's head, and that's that. Sorry, Zak! "Are you from the Weyr? I don't know if I recognise you." He narrows his dark eyes as he peers more closely at his fellow candidate, then leans back and mops up what's left on his plate as he listens to the others talk. "Probably best not to get Fishboy and Innes together for too long, weyrwoman, or we'll be up to our eyes in fish. Aaaall the time." And that, his expression says, would be gross. "Maybe the kittens would eat them, though?" He's a little wary of the fuzzies Zak has, certainly without the enthusiasm of Ger or Esiae. "I'm alright without an animal nickname, thanks. Quill's alright. Even Q'll do. But it wouldn't be fair to go calling me Runnerboy… it might make the others jealous."

"Well Q." Zakl drawls cause now that's how Quill will be known. Q. "I'm from Igen but I main was around at night and stuff. Worked a lot with the Master Beastcrafter there." so evidently Candidate Z doesn't recall seeing Q around the weyr but he doesn't say that outright. "Kittens won't be weaned for a bit longer yet but I'll let you know when they are. You'll have to introduce me to your friend, ma'am." he tells the weyrwoman. "So he or she can visit the kittens and decide which one they want. "Just plain Zak will do." he states towards Gerazal.

"That's good," Esiae says amiably towards Gerazal, eyes scrunched with a smile. "I'm glad the kittens weren't too much of a burden, then." She snorts. "Shells, the way they're rolling in, we'll run out of interesting animal names. I'd hate to see the kid we'd have to call VTOL." As it is, with the Z's and Q's flying about, it seems they've already diverted from the animal-name track. Esiae gags for the idea of being up to eyeballs in fish. "No thank you. It's bad enough it wafts up from the fishing ships in summer. It'd fog up the entire weyr." She might add more, after another bite of food, but then Quill makes that quip about 'Runnerboy' making everyone else jealous and she snorts and ducks out of the conversation lest she spew bits of redfruit on everyone. Someone took that really poorly~. It's all she can do to weakly nod when Zak tells her she'll have to bring her friend around. "Can do," she squeaks.

Gerazal continues to eat as he listens to the candidates and he snorts a little bit, "Wishful thinking." He comments and nods to Esiae, "Yah no big strain, they haven't destroyed anything yet, but I've been on top of their training, I have a pretty well trained bronze firelizard and kittens aren't too hard yet." He smiles at Zak, "I'll just stick to regular names, I was just teasing I hate almost every nickname I've ever been given. The only one that I like it Gera and only N'talya calls me that for the most part."

Esiae gets where he's coming from. Quillan double-clicks his tongue at her, and winks. "Exactly," he says smirkily. "Anyhows, other than Fishboy we've got Jan, Mae, Lu, uh… now there's you, Z, and a whole other bunch of single-syllables who I can't remember right now." Gerazal's dislike of nicknames gets a little frown from Quill, then a grin. "Dude, you're totally a Ger. Or a G. G-man. Everyone's gotta have a good nickname." And he has an empty plate now, which means he can turn in for the night. "You want one too, weyrwoman? You know where to come knocking. Third bed into the barracks on the left, I'm there all night." He stands up, plate in hand. "See you later, Candidate Z. Later, G-man… weyrwoman." Who has yet to get a nickname. Each in turn is given a nod, before he walks off to deposit his empty plate with the others, then out to the barracks.

Nicknames are good. Distinguishes each other from the masses of candidates. Head bent down Zak only looks up at the breathless squeaked answer from Esiae. There's a brief look of concern but it seems that the jr weyrwoman isn't going to expire right before their eyes so he looks back down again. By now he's fed the black one and has replaced the now sleeping kitten in the basket. Time for another one. A grey one is now in his hands and loudly ( as loud as a month old kitten can be) demanding food like his sister got. Glancing up as Q leaves he gives a distracted nod of farewell. A bro nod. "See ya later Q." then he's quiet as he feeds kittens.

Once the danger of spraying everyone with redfruit has passed, Esiae returns to her slouched position, though her shoulders are still shaking with suppressed laughter as she shakes her head over at Quillan. "Terrible," she says without meaning it, meeting that wink with a comically suggestive brow twitch. "Oh, I'll come knocking, alright," she drawls, miming a punch of her fist into one hand: knocking his lights out! Still, she seems to enjoy the repartee, chuckling as she waves him off. As Zak dedicates himself to his work, he might find a large brown tabby kitten taking up occupancy on the chair on his left, but Bran is quiet, and will likely go unnoticed in the long run excepting curious peers at the noisy babies. "I've gotten a few nicknames in my time - Esi, most recently Zee - but nothing particularly clever," she says with a nod to Gerazal. "There's just not enough syllables in my name, I think." Alas. "What other nicknames have you had? Promise not to use them, I'm just curious," she adds, just in case!

Gerazal shakes his head a little bit, "No respect I tell you no respect." He looks over at Esiae, "Gerry…I hate Gerry. It's just always rubbed me the wrong way. Although I'm not too thrilled with G-man at the moment."

Esiae chuckles and shrugs for his 'no respect' comment, brown eyes rolling good-naturedly. "They're young men, what more can be expected of them? I certainly can't say anything - I never backsassed a weyrwoman, but I gave people flak in my day. If they bother you too much, let me know," she says diplomatically. Her nose scrunches over at him for 'Gerry,' though, head shaking at the nickname. "Yeah, no, that doesn't suit you at all. G-man is at least neutral, but Gerry, shells. Sounds like someone's old uncle."

Gerazal nods as he eats, "Creepy old uncle at that. They won't bother me. I'm sure I can find stinky socks that need to be darned if they get too bad."

Esiae flashes him a grin and a nod, but before she can say anything (such as listing a frighteningly long list of terrible chores she has lined up for candidates to rattle off on a whim), a bronzerider appears at her shoulder and taps it politely to get her attention. "Galaxy Wingleader wants to see you, ma'am," he says, offering a Gerazal a nod, too, before the goldrider dismisses him. "No escape," Esi sighs as she rolls to her feet. "It was nice getting to talk to you a bit, anyways. See you around, Gerazal," she says, politely using his whole name as she flicks him a wave and follows the bronzerider out of the caverns.

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