Xanadu Weyr - Candidate Barracks
A long, low ceilinged room opens off the entrance hall to the arena. One wall is slightly curved, set against the outer wall of the arena itself. Cots are set in two rows along the length of the room, each with its own small press at the foot for personal belongings. Wide windows are spaced along the outside wall, letting sunlight in, while other lights are available for the night time hours. It's always warm here when there are eggs on the sands, and candidates seldom need more than a light blanket.
It's just verging on evening at Xanadu. The shadows have started to lengthen, and even though the sun still sits high enough in the sky to provide plenty of light, it's clearly on its downward descent. Most duties are finished for the day, leaving candidates and riders alike with the evening to spend as they will. Which is probably why a young man who works in the caverns chooses this moment to come bursting into the candidate barracks, shouting at the top of his lungs, "IT'S TIME, IT'S TIME!" The hatching? Dinner? The end of the world? Those are questions the candidates will have to answer for themselves, because the well-compensated young man is out the door almost as quickly as he arrived.
Maorin has been laying cross-ways on his cot. With nothing better to do, looking at the rest of the room in an upside-down fashion, legs dangling over the other side, seems to be where it's at for the teenager. Or maybe he just likes the blood rushing to his head. But then there's /bursting/ happening. Both through the doorway and possibly from his chest. He shifts and jerks upright on the cot though…and then promptly groans and holds his head. "Oh..whoa. Too fast. Too..fast.. /Please/ tell me it's time for the frilly dress up party?"
Quillan was chilling on his cot, lying on his stomach and oiling his two little firelizards. The rude interruption though snaps both blue and green younglings out of their snoozy daze, and Quill himself's head snaps up so he can gape, wide-mouthed, at the shouter. "Time… time for… are the eggs cracking?!" He sits up as his firelizards flutter off to safer, less shouty places, and looks blankly at his fellow candidates. "But there's no humming?"
With his downtime, [Zak is spending trying to convince people the need for a new companion. Kitties of course. Chatting it up with some candidate from Black Rock hold the pair of them look up suddenly as the dooms caller comes bursting in. "Time? What what?" he stands with a cast of his gaze this way and that. "Time for what?" is asked with suspicion because certainly he hears no humming and his own small flying mouth is sound asleep on his cot without a care in the world. But the lad is gone quickly to leave him confused with the others,
The TIME has COME. For what? Don't ask questions. Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself. What's relevant is that it's time. Janaya had just gotten back from her rider shadowing today. She'd taken off her shoes! She was plucking at her shirt and attempting to decide whether she wanted to try to change before dinner or not, and then… the announcement! She blinks, turning that way. "What?" she asks the… empty doorway. "…shards." She looks around to the other candidates, hoping one of them will somehow mysteriously have an answer. "…dress… up?" And here's her, fresh from mud-flat sweep-riding. Sweat and muck, a great combination! She glances to Quillan, and takes a barefooted step toward the door before the rest of it catches up. "They'd be humming." Right? Surely they would. Something is happening, and whatever it is… "We'd better find out." She plops down on her cot to put those shoes back on. Those smelly, mucky shoes.
Zhianna falls out of bed, literally, as another candidate in his hurry bumps into hers and nearly knocks it on its side. "SHELLS!" is screeched as she finds herself on her butt on the floor. "Whats giung on?" is next as sleepy eyes watch all the scurrying going on about her.
"Candidates!" comes the barking voice of an older brownrider who strides purposefully into the barracks, after giving the young man's message just enough time to settle and cause chaos. Someone is orchestrating this thing, although just who's behind all of this trouble will remain a mystery for the moment. "Gather your things." He'll pause just long enough for people to make some progress on this assignment, and then, "And leave them on your cot. Take nothing but the clothes on your back and head to the bowl. There's an emergency." It might sound a little like he's reciting lines, but for a man with no acting experience he's doing a rather admirable job. Just to drive the point home, he barks, "NOW!"
"Sure, why not? They can do what they want, and if they /want/ to have a frilly party..well. I'm prepared." Just /how/ Maorin is prepared…he doesn't say. But the barking of orders does get his attention, and the teenager seems to sober just a bit at the mention of an emergency. After all, he's already rolled off his cot and started digging in his things. Things which get dumped. "Right..right.." He checks to make sure he's actually /wearing/ clothes though, before mouthing 'emergency' at the other candidates..then turns and hustles right on out.
"What? Emergency?" Quillan is confused, but the activity amongst his fellow candidates prompts him to get up off his cot and gather his things… to dump them right where he was just lying. That done, he looks around to see what everyone else is doing, then follows them out into the bowl, falling in behind Maorin. Who he flicks in the shoulder.
Zak is still blinking after the departing lad who did the yelling when suddenly a barking brown rider strides in. "Oh.." this motivates him to get moving back towards his cot where he grabs a rucksack and tosses random clothing into it. Will they match? Farnath knows but he's not caring right now about that minor detail. Clothing, shoes and a random towel gets tossed into it. Next he's scooping up another bacpack which he slings over his back after shoving three kittens into it. Well…perhaps not shoving but they are used to traveling in this item for it has towels and treats inside it so they curl up contently as he slips the bag over his back. Nazneen leaps up to land on her spot on his shoulder, wrapping her tail around his neck to give him a golden necklace. He falls in line finally behind Quill. "What's going on?" he asks in a loud whisper.
One shoe. Then the other. Now she's just got to tie them… and gather her things? Well, okay, Janaya can do tha- or not. She got through tying one of them, halfway through the other, and then she hops up to join the rest in heading out with a glance back to her cot. It was nice knowing you, cot! Good luck with the fire or explosion or whatever else is (probably) going to destroy this place. "…why'd that guy say it was time, anyway? And what's this emergency?" she asks Zak… or those ahead of him, either way. They're all part of the same line and all responding to the same… whatever it is.
Most duties are indeed done for the day. Unless you're a wingrider. Wing duties tend to go round the clock sometimes, with naps in between tasks of course. So stifling a yawn, Kera hitches her satchel strap to rest more securely across her shoulder and watches the brownrider stride purposely into the candidate's domain. A quick headshake to her dragonmate and she'll go about rechecking Moncerath's straps for the coming jaunt. "Doubt it'll be very long now Moncerath." And only a few seconds later a few candidates are rushing out of the barracks, looking flustered and a couple still trying to get dressed.
If Zak still has that backpack by the time he gets to the door, he's going to be blocked by a stern brownrider who'll keep him there until he removes it, kitten and all. Sorry, man. But once his duty as gatherer of belonging-less candidates is complete, the brownrider will lead them all out into the bowl where a new company is waiting.
Xanadu Weyr - Main 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 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 two sides. Toward the southwest, a spire stretches up to high above where the everpresent watchdragon sits on a lonely peak with Xanadu's Starstones. A massive rocky spur extends to the north, curved slightly to hold the clearing and pocked with doors and windows.
The hatching arena and Dragonhealers' Annex sit to the southeast, built together into a single complex that takes up a large portion of the perimeter beneath its domed roof. To the southwest, wide steps lead up to the caverns, and almost directly south is the entrance to the Infirmary. Nestled between the infirmary and the main caverns there's a human-sized archway with frequent traffic - it leads to the Wanderin' Wherry Tavern.
Tucked near the arch, just off to one side is a tiny wood-frame shop bearing the name 'Wildflower Boutique'. Windows have been cut along the cliff in various places along the cliff. Those of the administrative offices are placed to have the best view of Xanadu's airspace - to the southwest, over the entrance to the caverns and the infirmary. Others mark the dormitories and those of lucky residents, while toward the northern edge of that spur cluster the windows and entrances to the crafters' complex.
The rest of the Weyr lies to the north and east - a broad road that leads through the meadow and the trees of the forest beyond. At the far northern edge of the clearing, just inside the perimeter kept clear of trees, a clocktower sits and proudly displays the hour.
"No frickin' clue, Z," Quillan hisses in reply to Zak, half-looking back over his shoulder as he marches out into the bowl with the others. "We seem to be moving pretty slow for an emergency. No smoke, no earthquake… maybe there's been a landslide or something?"
There's a wild herd of candidates headed this way. Maorin is among them, likely as disheveled as many of them are. It's a result of such an abrupt exit, really. He takes a quick look back at the other candidates though as they move along, nodding in agreement. "Possibly something not like..right /here/. Maybe they need extra hands for somethng that happened a ways off?"
Zak is way-laid a bit, letting the kittens lose into the barracks now before stomping outside with a frown. "This is ridiculous. What bloody emergency has got us rushing outside for something." he grumbles with his arms over his chest.
Maelle is trailing along at the back, hopping as she tries to put on a shoe while she follows along. She isn't the most alert when she just wakes up, so is slower than the average as she carries whatever other clothes she hasn't quite got on over an arm. Hair is sticking up in all directions, even short haired people have bed head. She's silent, just listening and following rather than spending what little energy she has wondering aloud what's going on.
Awaiting the candidates in the bowl (or clearing, really) is a gathering of dragons. There's Kera and Moncerath, along with the brown belonging to that stern candidate-summoner, another brown, and two blues. Enough dragons to easily carry the candidate class to… whatever is in store for them. Strangely enough, there's already six riders for five dragons, although one is already hidden beneath riding leathers, with goggles over her face and head conspicuously covered by a hood. It could be a certain diminutive goldrider, but it's impossible to say. Either way, the brownrider is still doing the talking. "Hurry up, don't be lazy," he snaps, echoing the tone of his voice in action. "All of you, find a rider and mount up. There are lives at stake!"
Janaya snorts at Quillan's suggestion. "We're not healers, 'cept Maorin and Maelle. And we're not miners 'cept you! So why us?" Just what is going on here? She eyes the clearing suspiciously as they head out. Any plumes of smoke? People with virulent splotches of red dying in mass? Doesn't look like it! Just… a group of dragonriders ready to take them away to an undisclosed location. Janaya frowns for a long moment, then shrugs and makes for one of those blues at a hasty pace to make up for dallying.
Quillan shrugs at all the questions. "No clue. Maybe this is another shadowing thing? Pretend to be Galaxy for a day?" He shrugs, then looks at the brownrider when they're given orders to mount up. Since he's near Maorin he follows FishBoy to a blue, nodding a hello to the rider before shimmying up to settle into place and buckle down.
Maelle has issues with being one of the last, as candidates are flocking to riders who /aren't/ the stern faced brownrider that interrupted their beauty sleep. So, with many going to other riders, she's left going towards that one because of her tardiness. "Sorry." She offers lamely, despite the fact she should be ready for something like this, apparently the rigours of candidacy are wearing her out more than she'd expected. Either way, she's ready now.
Kera rifles through one of her green dragonmate's packs and tugs out a few pairs of goggles and a couple of old and tattered large riding jackets for those she will be transporting and tosses them to the candidates. "Hurry and put these on, then climb up." Moncerath croons to the rushed figures as if trying to sooth away their concerns and crouches low to assist with mounting up. Kera cast a glance around before securing her own flight gear.
Zak stifles another discontented sound and veers towards another rider since he doesn't know how many can go on the blue with Q and fishboy. He picks a brown and after a moment gets mounted up.
Once everyone (including the mystery rider) is safely mounted upon one dragon or another — and there may be return trips if things get cramped — the riders take to the skies. Some might have the courtesy to at least say, "Count to three…" before they blink BETWEEN.
"Maybe," is all Janaya has to say to Quillan's suggestion, and then she's off to climb on that blue dragon - a different one, mind - and shrug on whatever flight gear's offered her. She'll probably end up swimming in it, but better that than being blown to bits by the wind or whatever else they're about to encounter. And then they're up, away, and GONE!
Xanadu Weyr - The Lonely Beach
Though perhaps nothing to write home about, the Lonely Island's beach is peaceful enough, a long stretch of white sand just big enough for two golds to sprawl out comfortably without touching. Shells, agates, driftwood, and other watery detritus litters the beach in bits and spots, just enough to make things interesting. East-facing, the beach is ideal for watching the sun rise, the view utterly unimpeded by the dense forest that otherwise swallows the island. Natural stone jetties and pockets of sand create excellent spots for fishing and swimming, while others play home to tiny ecosystems in the form of tidepools.
The dragons emerge from BETWEEN after a space of three heartbeats, bursting into the sunlight over a stretch of white sand. They spiral slowly down to land upon the grainy surface, where all passengers are urged to dismount. If any were left behind, those dragons take to the skies again and blink back to pick up those candidates who weren't part of the initial herd. They, apparently, will be at a disadvantage, as the mystery rider isn't wasting anymore time in unmasking herself. Surprise! It's Innes, who fixes the gathering of candidates with a rather nasty grin. "Congratulations, candidates! Welcome to the Lonely Island, your home for… well, we'll see how long it's your home for." Are you scared yet? "You and your team will have to survive using only what you find here… and what you've earned through your activities." It's at this point that she shrugs off the bag that she has hoisted over her shoulder. "Now, since you've been such good candidates, I have a gift for you…"
Confusion finally filters through the annoyance of Zak. "This is the emergency?" he wonders out loud with his gaze sweeping the island of white sand. Clearly they don't make emergencies like they used to. No fires, no screaming people. Just…Innes who was in congnito! Finally the rest of Innes' words sink in and he looks around at the other candidates in tea Jamz. "Team? Survive?" now he looks worried. He's not really lived out in the 'wild' before. He draws in closer to see what is in the bag.
Sand! Sea! …surprise! Janaya gathers with some of the others who've dismounted, only to blink as the mysterious masked rider reveals herself. "…shards," she mutters mostly under her breath, then looks to Zak to give him a reassuring smile. "S'okay, Maorin knows how to fish." And there's water, so they'll be able to eat! …or so she thinks, not having actually thought through details like the need for fishing equipment, or fire to cook that fish, or that they'll need shelter for if there are storms, and… all the various and sundry other details of life in the wild.
"But. Why?" Maelle asks once she gets to her feet after sliding down the dragon. Not entirely unused to the act, but she's still fighting with a shoe when she gets to the ground. Stupid back of it folded in and well, that's just an annoying uncomfortable position to be in. She /really/ is fighting with the shoe for a while before realizing that it's Innes, which she just blinks a few more times. Sigh. "How long?"
Kera assist the last of her and Moncerath's passengers onto the green's back and makes sure they are strapped in securely. "Don't worry. After the first surge, the flight will smooth out." After a quick comforting word, she settles into place as the green waddles a few paces then then dips and leaps skyward with a jolt. Taking her place in the formation, Moncerath blinks *between* after she receives the visual. Several breaths and the Lonely Island appears below. The green circles down to land and let her passengers off. Kera doesn't stay, she climbs right back up "We'll be right back with the last of them." Moncerath leaps skyward again and gains air with each wingbeat. Just before the pair blink out, Kera's med kit drops to the ground. Darn strap must have broken….
"Weirdest emergency I've seen," Quill says, standing with arms crossed over his chest beside Zak. "Teams? Where's… aha." He spots Maelle and makes his way over to join her, waving over a few other members of the Bluefin collective, too. "I'd say," he leans in to whisper to the Healer-turned-Candidate, "that we're here for as long as it suits Weyrwoman Innes." Who seems to have another surprise for them. Quill looks super enthused.
And look, there's a bonus med kit! Of course, it fell somewhere over that deep forest, meaning it's likely caught on some high branch (if not destroyed completely)… but still, aren't the riders of Xanadu generous? Innes watches Kera's disappearance with interest, her gaze tracking the falling object until it disappears from view. And then it's back to the candidates. What? Oh, right. "As long as we say," she answers Maelle with a smirk. There are perks to power, after all. She holds the bag out so that one representative from each team can get their 'starter kits'. They're tied with the appropriately colored ribbon, in case anyone gets confused. And what does each lucky team get? A knife, and some netting… which could be helpful with that fishing thing Janaya was talking about. But first, "I'd suggest getting started on a fire. It can get chilly here at night." Notice that there's no flint to be had in this starter kit of theirs. "First team to get a fire started tonight will have flint in the morning. Have fun." There's a wiggle of her fingers, and then the Weyrwoman move to depart upon a waiting brown.
Zak also watching the falling object as it makes its way down into the forest somewhere. That causes him to really see the forest and he blinks a bit. Here on the sand he's fine but… "Are there wild animals in that forest?" he steps forward to claim a bag for the orange Jamz team before taking it back to open up next to Janaya so she can see the loot too. "Fire? What about shelter?" he mutters to Janaya then. "You know how to start a fire with…nothing?" cause that's what he sees in the way of fire starting equipment. His gaze flickers towards the departing form of Innes.
Maelle is just finishing getting her shoe sorted out when Quillan wanders over, and frowns at both him and Innes echo the sentiment that they're there for an undetermined amount of time. "There's nothing to start a fire in here! This is barely anything.." She complains, having managed to thoroughly dismantle everything that was in the pack and shakes it out in case something was hiding in the bottom. Since there's nothing else, she tosses what was inside back in. "How are they going to know? There going to be someone watching us? That's creepy." The whole thing is /not/ her idea of a good experience, she liked the safety of the barracks. She looks at Quill, "You know how to start a fire?" Surely a miner knows something about .. something. Rocks that can be used like flint. You know.
Janaya steps a bit closer to Zak to look over their just reward. Netting… and a knife. Well, at least now they can stab each oth- wait, no, stabbing each other isn't the right answer. At least not on the first night. She looks back up to Innes as the Weyrwoman gives instructions! Sensible, reasonable instructions. Well, sort of. As seen permuted through a glass… which could be used to start a fire, if only they had one of those, which they don't. Janaya's eyes lift to track that brown's departure. "She's found new candidates she likes better, that's it. They'll be replacing us in the barracks - our stuff's just there to make it more convenient for them." She grins, a brief flash, then looks back down to Zak. "Aw, we don't have nothing. We've got… uh…" A glance to that forest. "Sticks! Those are great for fires, right?" Or at least, for burning in them….
"I have an idea for the fire," Quillan replies to Maelle with a nod, signalling for their team to gather around in a huddle. Sorry, JAMZ - you're not getting any tips! "You, you, and you," he points to three of the youngest candidates, "go and get some kindling. Dry sticks, leaves, anything that looks like it'll burn." The rest are asked to go find proper firewood, so it's just him and Maelle left. "I've got an idea for the fire. Your Yokai's old enough to chew firestone, right?" Because his two firelizards are barely out of the shell!
"That's exactly what it is, Janaya," are the first of Innes' parting words as she mounts up behind the brownrider. "Be good, candidates." There's a wink as she once again dons her goggles and pulls that hood up. "Or don't. Just remember, we'll be watching!" And with that, the brown takes off with the Weyrwoman aboard, circling over the island once before disappearing *between*.
Zak looks dubious but will go with Janaya's suggestion of sticks. "Sure." his brow furrows. He's really out of his element here for the moment. Perhaps he'll get comfortable soon though! "Well…lets get sticks." he spares no glance for the huddle of Bluefins as he directs a couple handy npc candidates also to go fetch. Go on boy. Fetch the stick! "Oh bother. How in Farnath's itty bitty bits can they be /watching/?!"
Sticks and stones may break their bones? …wait, no, no murder. (Yet?) Sticks and stones may make fire, at least if the stones are flint. Janaya shrugs, a glance up to the sky. "Sweep riders, or whatever. Anyway, so… you can make fire by rubbing sticks together, right?" Or so she's heard. In practice… this is not likely to work at all, let alone fast enough to beat Bluefin, but unless someone else on JAMZ has a better idea… it's what Janaya's got!
"He's almost a month? Is there firestone here?" Maelle says quietly, but looks skeptical at best. However, she's willing to give it a go if someone with more knowledge says it's a possibility. Can he chew firestone? Is there any around? It's /worth/ a try, and so she seems eager to attempt it. Innes' departure is given a bit of a glower, but beyond that there isn't anything she can do so there's no point in trying to cause an issue over it. "We have to be fast." Luckily, some of the closest candidates in their group have returned with a few sticks and leaves.
Quillan huffs. "Well, shards, that's that idea done with then." He frowns, crossing his arms over his chest again. "Ok. Maybe one of the others has an older one. All we need to do is ask them to go chew firestone somewhere, then they'll come back and light the fire. We don't need to have any here." Because why not put all your faith in a firelizard's capabilities? They have kindling, at least! "Ok, in the meantime, we'll dig a pit to put the fire in, so it's sheltered. Uh… here." He picks a spot. Any spot'll do! Then he gets down to his knees to start scooping back the sand, digging it until it's about a half foot deep, and in a circle roughly a foot wide. "So then we'll put the kindling in here, and… find some way to light it if no-one has a firelizard that's old enough."
"Sorry. I don't even think my blue will really do much I ask of him. He's not the most social firelizard." Maelle admits, so it was a reach even if the firelizard was old enough. She slumps down on her knees to help with the digging, across from Quillan as she manages to keep up with him pretty well overall. "Start piling what you find here, and go get more." She tells the ones who are still there holding the few sticks they found. Not much help if that's all they're going to bring. "Ask around if any of our group has any old enough flits too." She figures that they may as well kill two birds with one stone, even if .. well, there may not be any birds at all out there that can help.
Okay! Now Janaya has sticks. Excellent! She… kinda heaps some of them up, in an arrangement that looks vaguely like the sort of thing that people would have in a fire that had already burned halfway down, and picks two more sticks. So! Rubbing them together! She does so. It has little visible result, and she frowns. "I know I've heard about people doing this…" she mutters, and tries again. Hmmmm. …yeah, she's more likely to get fire through a random lightning strike than this method.
Maelle looks hopelessly at the hole they've managed to dig, and decidedly scoops some of the kindling that was gathered into the pit. Well, that isn't going to start a fire either. She sighs and stares at the sticks, and about then is when one of the people on her team that went farther out comes back with some decent sized sticks. And.. well, at least a LITTLE survival skills as they start attaching a string to a stick that they've pulled out of their trousers to loop around another stick so they can use that to spin a stick against the bigger piece of wood. This guy really knows his stuff, or at least, it /seems/ he does. Though, there's no progress made other than the contraption that looks promising. "Shards. Couldn't they have given us something to start a fire with at least? It's getting cold."
Quillan overheard Maelle's griping. "I'm working on it. Shards, woman." Be patient, is what goes unsaid. Then he meanders off, picking up random rocks and examining them before tossing them away. No doubt he'll be back, eventually.
Janaya's one-stick-per-hand approach is clearly outclassed by Bluefin's advanced technology, and when she glances over and notices that fact during a rest break from trying to rub them together, she frowns at it. Are her sticks even warm yet? …no, no they are not, and she sighs before tossing them into her team's heap of sticks. "Well, okay. What else makes fire?" she asks some of her fellow candidates. She gets a chorus of shrugs, and one helpful, "Lightning." …she glances up at the sky. Actually, no, make that accurate-but-still-unhelpful. So… "And dragon sneezes, but we don't have one of those, either."
If looks could kill, Quillan would be dead. Maelle just scowls at him, though it's not obvious if it's because of what he said or how he said it. But, luckily that candidate on their team is starting to get /something/ happening. Something that looks like smoke, though there's no fire at all and the boy's looking like he's tiring out quicker than it would take to actually start one. Maybe this is a night that they're just going to have to suffer through a long cold night without any fire at all. That is, unless Quillan comes up with something in his search for rocks. "Guess that's why they hurried us out of the barracks with nothing." She mutters, slumping on the ground near the hole.
If looks could set things on fire, Janaya's pile of sticks would be flaming nicely. Only, they can't. She sighs, but given her lack of a better plan, she continues her glaring-based attempt. Hmph. Stupid sticks, not being on fire. They should be on fire! So there. Stare. Glare. Hmph. …someone else on her team is approaching from the woods with more sticks, and Janaya looks away from the inept pile of firewood they've already got, which is when there's a sound in it like a feline with the worst hairball ever. Gaaakhaaaakcccgheeeeefffffptff! …and there's a smell like sulfur farts, and a flash of blue flame that singes the branches and crackles into light as a scrawny blue firelizard squeaks in fear and flees the ramshackle lumber pile to the safety of Janaya's shoulders, perching there and staring at the sticks. He didn't so much breathe fire as vomit it, followed by another hacking noise and a rivulet of spent firestone down along Janaya's shirt… but dignified of not, those sticks are crackling into life, helped along by eager candidates cheering and feeding them. Victory! Fire has come to the lonely island, through no actual skill of the candidates involved. Maybe Quillan will manage to find flint and make flame the proper way… but JAMZ and blue Kori have, technically, gotten there first.