Nobody Puts Q in a Corner

Xanadu Weyr - Craft Complex
This large area has been painted a soft cream with dark orange trim used as an accent. It's separated into a variety of smaller sitting areas, couches and chairs organized into rings and squares, tables set where they can be used easily. Recessed electric lights in the ceiling provide a warm glow, and a row of angled skylights on the eastern wall above the entrance give some natural light when bleary crafters first emerge. There's often a cart with klah parked off to one side to help with waking up or finishing that important project - or simply to be enjoyed with comfortable seating and good company.
Along the southern edge, an open archway leads to a library of books and records. There's something for every craft, it seems, from tomes of caprine diseases, to Pernese history and law, to gemstone identification, to sheet music, to sea charts and herbal manuals. There's even a few works of fiction, though none of it seems very well organized. Whatever is sought, it's probably here… somewhere. A few desks for studying are tucked in amongst the shelves, each with a lamp to illuminate the reading material. Near that archway, a long table holds a row of computers. They're connected to databases all over Pern, and are available for general use except when the computercraft requires them.
To the north, a pair of double doors open onto a grand hall, the vaulted ceiling designed with acoustics in mind. This space is used for lectures and concerts, rows of benches set up to face the front. Along one wall, instruments hang free or on shelves for anyone with the appropriate skills to use. There are often harpers here, practicing their craft.
A pair of hallways lead back from the western wall, one going to the apprentice dorms and the the private quarters for the ranking crafters posted at the weyr. The other provides access to the various workshops.


It's beeen a hectic morning in the weyr, for those shadowing the Quasar and Nova wings, riders and their assigned candidates bustling about to receive visiting dignitaries from holds around the area. Meetings came and went, some successful, others less so, but finally sometime just past the lunching hour, the very last Lord Holder was sent away on a transport dragon. One might expect that everyone would disperse and relax, but there's no rest for the wicked, as an order to report to the crafter complex's grand hall is issued in order to learn to… dance? Apparently. Though Esiae's downgraded her attire to something less formal than this morning, she's still in a high-belted green dress, one low heel clicking impatiently on the hall's floorboards, waiting for her student. This ought to be good.

Whether or not Quill's pulled the lucky card by being assigned to this session with Esiae is yet to be seen, but as he pokes his head into the hall and spots her, he's at least smiling. That's something, right? Given that there's no wincing to the smile he must have slathered numbweed upon his cheek, which is only a little bruised around the healing cut and the three little stitches helping it along. He struts his way over to Esiae, dipping into a bow when he reaches her and grinning. "Afternoon, E. I believe I'm here to ask you for this dance?" Sure, he's confident. But is he capable? Time will tell.

Defiiine lucky! Esiae certainly matches him smile for smile, but her gaze clearly focuses in on the stitches on his cheek, head shaking to and fro ever so slightly. "Shells, and here they had me believin' you'd nearly been gutted." Rumors, they're beautiful things! She does dip a little curtsey in response to his bow, but her tongue clicks against the roof of her mouth for the idea of him asking her to dance, one brow lifting. "We've got a lot of work to do before we get that far," she drawls, circling him with speculative, narrowed eyes. Oh boy. "First things first, posture. Yours is abysmal." I mean, maybe it's not, but it's not what she's looking for anyways. "Stand straight," hands grip his shoulders from behind, pulling upwards to straighten his spine, "shoulders back, feet forward, arms loose at your sides, chin up." Though she's careful about knocking said chin, she otherwise pokes and jabs and toes at the poor candidate's person as she circles before finally coming to a stop in front of him. "Now hold it." Poor Quillan.

"It was dreadful, I was going to die." Exaggeration delivered with such a deadpan expression, save for the twinkle of amusement in Quill's eyes. When he's manhandled - womanhandled? - by the weyrwoman, he's surprised at first, but is flexible to what she wants - until she pokes a bruise or two, that is. "Ow. I'm black and blue under this," he tugs at his shirt, "you know." Then his arms drop down loose again, trying to keep as rigid as he can while he's examined. That even includes holding his breath, and puffing out his chest.

"Poor baby." Esiae makes the appropriate pouty-sympathetic face for his brush with death, though it's rather ruined by the twinkling laughter behind her eyes. "Want me to fetch your ma to kiss it better?" She does have the decency to look a little abashed for having poked and prodded at his bruises, but it's quickly shrugged off with a, "If you keep your posture, I won't have to do it again." She lets him stand like that for a moment, just to see if he'll actually keep holding his breath before one corner of her mouth tweaks up in a smile. "You're gonna have to breathe if you wanna dance, but very good. Next step: arms up." She doesn't position them for him, but instead demonstrates, lifting her elbows up to chest-level. "A man's hands should only ever go one of two places: your partner's hands and lower back." Hands flick to indicate he should do both. "In formal settings, it's best to keep a small amount of distance between yourself and your partner. Otherwise old hold ladies get scandalized." Smirk. "When you're ready, we'll start with basic steps."

Quillan is quite good at holding posture, if not his breath. He slumps a little when he's forced to exhale and draw in fresh air, but quickly corrects - maybe even overcorrects himself. "Hands and lower back only? Isn't there a waist or a shoulder or something hold?" Despite questioning, he does as he's told, holding spaghetti arms up in a bad imitation of Esiae's stance. "Wouldn't want to scandalise the old holders," he says with a smirk, rolling his eyes. "I'm ready. Are we keeping a formal distance, ma'am?"

Esiae definitely spies that overcorrection; when he steps in, she takes a moment to tweak and correct things with her free hand, pushing his chest back (gently this time) and shifting elbows and so-called sphaghetti arms until it's a little less awkward of a stance for him. "Waists are only for certain dances, and shoulders generally are for women," she explains, not unkindly as she raises one of her hands to his shoulder. "Besides, if your partner's good enough you shouldn't need to hold on," is added impishly, flicking a brow-raised look up at him when he asks if they're keeping formal distance. Several answers (mostly mischievous) come and go with visible flickers in her expression, but she settles on, "For now. Now, a simple box step is the basis for most formal dancing the likes of which you'll experience - hatchings, gathers and the like. I'm going to pull you, but traditionally men lead. You'll move your left foot forwards first, then step right and bring your feet together. Then, step back with your right foot and bring your feet together. Then, step left with your left foot, together, repeat. Left-right, right-left. Ready?"

"Left foot, step right, together, back right, together, then…" Quillan repeats, but can't quite get the whole sequence out before they're moving. Poor Esiae will get her toes stepped on at least a couple of times as she leads him, but he's no dunce and does, after 5 minutes or so of being pulled around the dancefloor, finally fall into the right rhythm with the right steps, too! Getting it right for another minute or so gives him the confidence to try and take over the lead, by giving E's hand a squeeze and, well, pushing her. Not in the gentle 'I'm leading' sort of way, either, but with the over-enthusiasm of youth.

Poor Esiae? More like poor Quillan. Sure, it might be her toes getting stepped on, but she lets him know, at first with polite winces and eventually with a hissed, "Focus!" She is still teaching, after all. As the minutes pass, though, and things smooth out, the goldrider relaxes and even gives him a nod of approval. It's… short-lived, but hey, it happened! And then he pushes her, and, well, let it never be said that Esiae isn't adaptable. It takes a little skip-stepping and a hard grip on his shoulder on her part, but she keeps up with the enthusiasm well enough, laughing quietly and shaking her head. "Easy, easy," she chuckles, hand squeezing his in return. "It's not a race, Quill, it's a dance." She doesn't actually stop him, though, since he's the one that decided to take lead - it's his job to reign it in if he so chooses!

Simple steps are easy to master - or at least easy for Quill to think he's mastered. "I am focusing, or we'd be on our arses," he laughs, then winces in apology when he accidentally squishes her toes beneath his own again. "Are we going too fast?" His attempt to slow down gets him confused, and he makes his worst misstep so far to get his feet tangled, effectivel bringing them to a stop. With a grunt and a huff of frustration, Quill kicks at the floor as he drops his hold on Esiae. "That was going well." Emphasis on the past tense. "Is that all there is to dancing? I can't see it getting very… scandaly."

Esiae doesn't answer until they've finally come to a stop, though at least she's still smiling - that's something, right? "Didn't mean to make you overthink and mess up, but yeah, that was too fast. I know we don't have music right now, but imagine a slow violin song like they play, try to fix the tempo in your head. One-two-three-four," she explains, tapping the tempo out gently on her palm. "For a first try at leading, though, that was very good. We'll try again, and you'll do better," she says with confidence. As for scandal… "Ha! No. That's only one of several, and the simplest by far, but it's the ideal place to start for beginners. You can safely attend a gather or hatching celebration and manage not to be an embarassment to the weyr, if you can execute a box step," she jokes with a wink. "But then there's the rumba and the salsa and the tango, which are essentially flirtation in dance form. Those are scandaly," Esi says with a smirk, borrowing his word.

"Do they come in the later lessons, or are they strictly post-weyrlinghood for their scandal level?" Quillan grins, waggling his eyebrows at the goldrider. "This one's not too bad. Not too hard, if you can remember the steps right." Which would be the whole point of the lessons. "Are we obliged to dance at functions though? Or can we sit things out if we're not in the mood?" He holds out his arms in the correct(ish) position for her to step into, so they can try again. "I've been to gathers and hatching feasts and all those things, but never danced formally. Never wanted to, really. It always looked so boring."

Esiae giggles for his brow-waggling, eyes rolling ceilingwards in amusement. "They don't come in any etiquette lessons, but if you've the will and the mind, we can work our way there," she teases. Someday, maybe. "And no, you certainly don't have to dance - only leadership well and truly must - but I don't see why people opt not to if they find dancing the least bit enjoyable. It's an excellent way to meet someone new, invitin' them to dance with you, and there's something to be said for breaking the physical barrier straight off," she says, correcting his stance only slightly this time before stepping into his arms, one hand seeking his, the other coming to rest on his shoulder before she waits, clearly intending for him to lead from the start this time. "And now what do you think?"

And lead he does. Slowly, at first. One. Two. Three. Four. Slow, but at least it's relatively accurate? Quillan pulls a bit of a face at dancing being a good way to meet people. "What do I think? I think… I'd probably scare anyone off that I'm trying to meet, if I took them dancing first. But this is ok. With you now. It's alright." But slow. "Think I'll get to dance with you after the Hatching? Or is that not a good place for beginners to strut their stuff?"

Esiae snorts indelicately for that face, one brow quirking up at him. "What makes you say that? I mean, if you took them dancing right this second, perhaps," she says with an exaggerated shrug, "but that's the point of learning, ain't it?" And sure, it's slow to start, but she does carefully encourage him to speed up, bit by bit, hopefully without him even noticing. Then again, he might - he's a smart guy. "I'm glad I'm not making you suffer at least," she drawls with a grin, giving him a speculative look before nodding. "If you aren't otherwise occupied, sure. Don't worry, I'll make you look good," is added with no small amount of ego.

"They're gonna think me barmy in the barracks if I practice on my own," Quillan laughs, going along with the quicker pace. Practice makes perfect. Or it will do, eventually. "E, I'm suffering terribly right now. Can't you tell? Suffering so badly that I asked if we could dance again, because I'm that masochistic." He grins a crooked grin at her, continuing a few more steps before speaking again. "So if I Impress, don't I get to go to the feast?"

"You mean Fishboy and the kid who takes care of a basket full of kittens will judge you for learning how to dance? The horror," Esi ripostes, eyes widening comically before laughing with him. Both of her eyebrows tilt up for that suffering bit, but brown eyes fasten pointedly on the scar on his cheek, shoulders rising in a shrug. "I mean, I pegged you for being at least a little masochistic what with trying to tackle an armed weyrbrat and all, but if you say so. Pivot," she adds, the word at odds with the rest of the thought made clear when her body carefully shifts to the side, adding a slight rotation to the dance to see if he can keep up with that. "'Course you get to go, regardless of what happens. I just meant, if you aren't too tired and your head isn't full of dragon. Happens sometimes, that does," she says with a grin.

Quillan snorts, only just managing to figure the pivot bit out after a brief hesitation. "Candidate Z is actually a handful of turns older than me, and that brat could've been a kitten-killer. I might've been a hero, if I'd been right." Sadly, no-one cares for tunnelsnakes getting their dues. "You know I did it all in my underwear, too? I'm lucky it was just my cheek that was scarred, if you know what I mean." Beat. "Kids shouldn't have big knives. Or crossbows. And maybe my head will be full of dragon. Maybe not. But my mum'll be there, and shards if I'm dancing with her. I'll tell her you're my date for the evening if she tries dragging me up to strut my stuff."

"I use the term 'kid' loosely," Esi admits with a grin for that snort, giving Quillan time to adjust to the change before letting him take over the rotation as well. Her brows raise higher, were that possible, when he says he did all of that in his underpants to boot, gaze very pointedly traveling over him while trying to hold back a smirk. It doesn't work well. "Dunno if that makes you more brave or more stupid," she teases, clearly not meaning it. "And hey, I had a knife when I was a kid, and I turned out just fine." Well. That's up for debate, really, but she does issue an 'ah' of understanding for not wanting to dance with his mother, smirk taking a roguish turn. "Not a fan of your mum, I take it?" Shrug. "Sure, though, I'll stick up for ya. I'm good at putting on a show."

"It's more like she's too big a fan of me," Quill explains. "She'll be the one in the first row of the stands, ready to rush down at the slightest possibility of me getting in the way of a dragon." He rolls his brown eyes, and shrugs. "Over-protective. That's why I moved here, why I accepted Kiena's offer. So long's I have a dragon somewhere else, she's going to have one shardin' hard time dragging me back to Igen. I'm nearly 19, for Faranth's sake. Why the shell would I want to still live with her?" As he scoffs, he tries to get Esiae to twirl. Whether he gets the signal right or not is a whole other question.

"Good grief," Esiae replies after hearing him out. "I thought I had it bad, with my ma always hoping I'd meet a nice boy and settle into domesticity. At least she never chased after me," the goldrider says with a dramatic shudder. "Don't blame you for running, anyways." It might not be the exact right cue, but there's little else he could be directing her to do, so Esi shifts into that twirl, dress flicking around her knees as she laughs a tinkly little laugh. "Alright, Fancypants. If you're getting that confident, we can move on to the Bitran waltz." Slowing, she takes him back to the beginning, repeating the process until, eventually, the dinner hour calls.


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