Wanted: One Winston

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.

It might only be a couple of days since, fire started, Team JAMZ was rewarded with a flint to keep or share as they please, but a couple of days can be a particularly long time, especially with little else to do other than, you know, survive. It's only polite to break up the tedium now and then, don't'cha think? That's Esiae's logic, anyways, the junior clinging hard to her dragon's straps as the gold crashes in for a landing just off the beach. Hopefully nobody was fishing - they're about to get washed ashore in a wave of displaced water! Laughter precedes Esi's plunge into the shallows, an affectionate hand patting her dragon's side before she slogs to shore, hands to her eyes against the bright late summer sunshine. "Candidaaaaates. Come out, come out, whereever you are! I bring gifts."

Quillan wasn't fishing, but he /was/ swimming. Or doing something in the water, anyway, until a dragonsplash washes him ashore. He rubs the salty water from his eyes before getting to his feet, sand clinging grossly to every wet inch of him. But his proximity to the water's edge means he's there when Esiae gets to land, and he greets her with a sunburnt frown and arms crossed over his chest. "Are the gifts a lift home, by any chance, weyrwoman E?" Someone's got island grumps!

Janaya isn't dead yet! She considers this a good thing. Even better yet, so far as she knows, nobody else has won the dying-first competition. Some contests are far better mutually lost than won! The fire contest was a good one to win. The finding food contest… well, there's been some badly cooked fish, some partly rotten or underripe fruit, some chewing on leaves and pretending they're the worst salad ever… none of which quite count as a proper victory, but neither are they defeat. When the summons comes, she's out in the woods looking for the fabled actually-ripe fruit, which… she hasn't found, but she did find what looks like a walnut! Maybe it even is. Who knows? Either way, it's clutched in her hand as she comes out from amidst the trees, smudged with dirt and speckled with bites from stinging insects. Junior Weyrwoman here! "Gifts?" Cave-Janaya like gifts.

Esiae is utterly unrepentant for everything. The wave. The sand. The predicament. The walnut. She beams for it all, but focuses on Quill's sunburnt arm-crossing first, brown eyes twinkling. "That would be gift, singular, candidate Q," she replies, "so no. Sorry." She isn't, terribly, but shh. "Besides, think of all the character you're building out here." Grin! Cave-Janaya is eyed, gaze flicking analytically over her bugbites, but she nods and confirms, "Gifts. Don't even have to do anything fancy this time, though bravo on the fire. Not even gonna ask how many sticks you had to rub together to get that one going," she drawls as Sony ambles to shore, sluicing water. Carefully, a pair of damp satchels are retrieved from the gold's person, one handed to each candidate. "Standard trail mix, dehydrated fruit and meats in equal parts," she says, emphasizing the last two words none too subtly. Whoops. Someone's heard about the black market on fish!

"They didn't rub sticks," Quill snorts, giving emerging-Jan a look. "They stole my idea and got a firelizard to light it. My idea." He's sore about it, and isn't scared to hide it. But then there are satchels, and Quillan blinks at them with wide-eyed wonder. Real food?! "Meat?" Mana from heaven! He has to hold himself back from running to the weyrwoman's side, and even then he's there in a flash to take one of the bags, which he opens up immediately to examine the contents. "Meeeeat!"

At least none of the bugs were carrying virulent diseases… as far as Janaya knows! See: not being dead yet. She snorts dismissively for the construction of her character, then eyes Esiae and her gold for these alleged gifts. Where's the presents? And… she rolls her eyes at Quillan. "Well, it was my firelizard. If one of yours could have done it, you'd have got there first!" But they couldn't and they didn't, sothere. At least the flint's been shared between the teams, both in physical form and by exchange of sticks-on-fire. She comes up just about as eagerly as Quillan. Tell a candidate you're judging her on competition, and odds are she'll start to compete! …or at least pretend she's competing. She starts to reach out, then pauses, looking at Esiae suspiciously. "You sure there's not… some sort of trick?" Would they be told if there was?

Either Maelle doesn't have the energy to get up, or doesn't care to expend it for what seems like the longest time as she sits outside their makeshift shelter. It's gotten better over the past day or so, but it's still not that great. She is also smudged up with dirt, sunburn, and a couple cuts from trying to climb up trees and not doing such a great job of getting back down, but she's still alive. Pushing herself to her feet as Quillan seems /oh so very excited/ to see what's in the satchels and the fact there's one being handed to someone on her team as well she decides to go see what's up. Quill's gripe is given a grin, and she offers a really shoddy salute to the Weyrwoman. Tired, the beds here aren't getting any softer, and with only one dragon it's doubtful they're leaving so excitement is quelled.

Esiae lifts a brow and glances between Quillan and Janaya, a little smile playing around the corners of her mouth, but all she can really offer the young man is a shrug. "She does have a point. Perhaps if you had rubbed sticks together, you might've beaten them to the punch." Well, probably not, but she's only teasing anyways, the laughter in her eyes becoming physical when Q examines the contents of the satchel. "Yes, meat." Shoddy salutes beget shoddy salutes, apparently. The one offered back to Maelle equally bad, but only because Esi's that kind of a person. It's Janaya she speaks to though, mouth opening to immediately deny that it's a trick before hesitating. "Wellll. Yes and no. Do you want the good news, or the bad news?" Oh boy.

"The only bad news worse than being stuck here would be that Pern's gone to shit while we're stuck in our island bubble," Quillan grumps, while waving Maelle over to show her their new goodie bag. Look! There's fruit, meat, nuts and stuff… he's very happy to show it all off to her. "You know how to cook properly, right, Mae? I'm only good really at sticking stuff on sticks." Which is effective, sure, but certainly not gourmet. "Though I guess," he says after a moment of thought, looking up at the weyrwoman, "that if Pern has gone to shit, we'll have to repopulate the planet."

As far as manners go, Maelle's still ahead of certain others, given that her fellow candidate actually saluted (if shoddily) and Janaya didn't. Nor does she now! Because… ha! She knew it. Janaya briefly grins with victory before it settles into a scowl. "Bad news." Tell her how horrible things are! Like the end of the world and… repopulating it? "Ewwww," she says, wrinkling her nose at Quillan. "It has not ended, and that's not the emergency, and no." Because no! "It's… uh…" Yeah, she has no actual idea, so dshe turns her attention back to Esiae. "…well?"

"I can cook, but.. well, this stuff is all dried. Which is good, but not for cooking." Maelle says and digs around in the satchel before deciding to close it up so nothing gets lost. Janaya is given a scrunch of her nose at asking for the bad news first, but it's probably good to start with it anyways. The talk about repopulating Pern, well, she isn't interested in any of that either. "I think I'd need to see for myself if the world ended. Even if it feels like there's no world outside this beach lately." She says, sounding a little down about being stuck out here for even longer. Tucking her hands into her pockets, she waits for Esiae to say what exactly this bad news is.

And that's where Quillan is wrong, things can always get worse, though she does indulge him just a bit, eyes going wide. "You've heard, then? A meteor hit dead center of the Southern Sea, we're all doomed." Which is why she's here, delivering finger food. Riiight. Still, she snorts hard for the implication that they'll have to repopulate the planet, head shaking over at the sandy candidate. "You'd like that, wouldn't you?," she sasses amusedly, "But no. No repopulating for any of you. We've decided that instead of flying you back, we're going to pull you back to the mainland on a raft. A raft that you're going to make yourselves, as one great big team." See what happens when you dare the universe to make it worse? "Hence the food. It'd be just plain mean to make you work and forage, so that's a jump start." Beam! Isn't she so nice?

Quillan blinks. And again. It's taking a little while for that revelation to settle in. "…. you're going to what?" Doesn't the weyrwoman realise how much this particular desert-dwelling Igenite hates the sea?! "We're going to drown. We don't even have any woodcrafters amongst us! We're all going to die, and then you won't have candidates for the eggs, and then what'll you do?!" He crosses his arms tightly over his chest, trying not to look at panicked as he sounds.

Doooooomed! Janaya eyes the seawater - which doesn't seem to be coming up to meet her - then looks back to Esiae for the real story. A raft! With their limited (aka entirely lacking) knowledge of construction. Quillan's got the objections, but Janaya actually grins. "Aww, come on, it might be fun! It'd definitely be epic." And… quite possibly fatal, yes, but that's just a part of being epic. "I'm sure they'll check it before they actually drag us off… right?" A glance to Esiae. This is a well-thought-through plan and not just a further excuse for getting rid of candidates to replace them with better ones, right?

Maelle just looks at Quillan. You know that look, the one that bespeaks of 'calm the hell down' without even saying it. She purses her lips at the prospect of making a raft, though adds, "There's at least one woodcrafter in Bluefin that helped with the making of the shelter…" Though, it's a young one and the shelter looks like it's not quite up to snuff - so that bears poorly for the building of a raft. "You do know how to swim, don't you?" She asks Quillan, though since he was out there swimming when Esiae arrived, she's pretty sure she knows the answer. "I doubt they'll let us die.. even if the raft falls apart." You know, because.. it's good to have hope even in failure, right?

Esi just sort of kicks back and seems to enjoy the tide of reactions (this is, perhaps, the reason she's here, and not a lesser peon who surely could have been employed to break the news), eyes glittering as she offers Janaya a faintly approving nod. "I think it'd be great fun," she agrees, but then, this is also the weyrwoman who fought a tunnelsnake and explodes things. There's much to be desired of her in the sanity department. "But no, Maelle's right. Even if we probably could replace you in time-" an amused glance for Q "-I'm rather fond of you guys, and don't have time for that kind of paperwork. We might let'cha flounder a bit though, just so you don't half-ass the job." A wink, and a beat, and then, "Not gonna ask what the good news is?"

"Yeah I can swim, but I'm no FishBoy. He'll be in his element." Quill snorts, giving the women each a dirty look. He's not scared. Really. "Can't you just take us home like normal?" But his plea's half-hearted, because he already knows what the answer will be. He scuffs his toes in the sand, then tries to brush off some of what's stuck to his legs. "Is the good news that you've brought us portable baths, or something? I'd kill for a shower."

Janaya glances back to Maelle as she mentions that woodecrafter, and nods. "So there's one expert…" She, uh, may be overselling this guy a little bit. Not, to be honest, that she's even entirely sure which one he is. Still! What could go wrong? At least Janaya doesn't say that out loud, just rolls her eyes to Quillan. "Well, if we're talking about elements… you better not explode the raft. If it falls apart, I'm blaming you!" As opposed to, y'know, any of the rest of unskilled construction and lack of quality materials. She grins, then looks back to Esiae. Blink. "…you mean there's good news besides the food?"

"I don't know about that…" Maelle is talking about the 'expert', but then who knows if she can pick the kid out of the bunch of Bluefins. She just laughs at Quillan's suggestion, since /he/ just got out of the water and overall looks relatively clean compared to herself and Janaya. "Are you secretly a girl?" She wonders, but doesn't linger on the question for long at all before she's looking at the satchel of food they were given and wasn't /quite/ so bold as to say the exact question Janaya does. "What /is/ the good news?" She wonders, again making sure that the satchel of food is nice and tightly shut so it can be dragged back to camp once she finds out.

Esiae snickers quietly for the various hopes and questions, head shaking side to side. "Nope, it's better than that." Better than a bath? Better than food? Perhaps 'better' is a relative term. "I brought you guys a hatchet." Pulling it from the back of her belt (though, since it wasn't obvious, shh we'll call it magic!), the junior extends it outwards, lips quirked up on one side. Ta-da? "Sooner you get the raft built, the sooner we'll come for ya, yeah?" There's an end in sight! As for her, news dispensed and gifts dispersed, she sets to clambering back up onto Sonyxaeth's back, flipping them a little wave as the gold makes to take off. "Just try not to take too long. The eggs won't wait forever," she says, voice loud and sing-song as Sony turns and prances back towards the water before taking off, so as to spare them all faces full of (more) sand.

Quillan steps forward to take the hatchet, because it's a Man's tool and should be handled by a Man. He lets it hang loosely by his side as he watches E go back to Sonyxaeth and disappear, before he turns to the girls and grins, conspiratorially. "I say we call their bluff, stay here and fail to build a raft until the eggs start cracking, and then they have to come and pick us up." The hatchet gets a little experimental swing in the air, before he starts wandering back up the beach towards the treeline without another word. A Man with a hatchet must go chop things!

"I think at this point the hot springs would start taking off layers," Janaya muses to Maelle, then looks back to Esiae as she reveals their good news. A hatchet! Danger and destruction, definitely a good sign. Janaya grins, and steps forward like she might compete with Quillan for that, but (a) she's puny and ill-suited to wield it and, more significantly, (b) she's got her hands full of food, so he takes it. His plan gets a tilt of her head to listen, then a dismissive snort. "No way." She shakes her head. "The longer we wait around, the more we need to eat rotten fruit and slimy fish. They may have fed us once, but I'm not gonna bet on them doing it again!" Not if they're slacking off, anyway! Those who control the means of food-production control the candidates.

Maelle doesn't even bother to come forward for the hatchet, as she also has a bag of food to bring back to their camp. "I'm with Janaya on this one. I don't want to be here any longer than we have to. You better be going to chop trees and not just go screw around with the hatchet and make it blunt." She really has /so/ much trust in her fellow teammate, doesn't she. Who knows, he might come across a spider and throw it at it and run away flailing his arms. Really, his masculinity is truly in question with her, though she just rolls her eyes at him. "I'll bring this back to the camp and come help…" You know, and make sure that he isn't going to follow through with his plan. Bag in hand, off to camp she goes!

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