How to Carve a Pumpkin

Elysian Field Hold - Esplanade
Two rows of stone columns are attached to one another by their arched tablature, creating a series of archways nearly covered by verdant vegetation growing rampant amongst them. The worn stone archways are heavily entwined by vines that drape down from the tops. Small trees and bushes are set in planters and niches made for them amidst the paving stones. Some of those cobblestones are ancient, while others newly placed among them to return this place to civilization. The profusion of trees and vines retain something of the wilderness which once claimed this hold, though even there the plants are carefully selected to be those which encourage human life; well-pruned fruit-trees are heavily laden with edibles in season, and ornamental foliage lifts the spirits at any time of turn.
To the north of the courtyard is a large, low dome, only about a single story in height. It might be a natural hill were it not for the scattering of colors made by the panes of glass set into it to collect the light. It's ringed by porticos, shelter and shade from the blistering heat of summer and the cold of winter, and tucked between them is an ornate archway of stone. The vines permitted to grow elsewhere have been cleared away from the glass and the intricate carvings that surround the polished wooden door. Though time-worn, some of the shapes can still be made out, simple patterns and designs of various leaves and floral motifs.
To the southwest, a tower rises for three stories, the ancient stones still standing after turns of neglect and now refinished with pride. The steps leading to them are cleared, there's been glass set in the windows, and a railing encircles the roof where one may look out across the wilderness, to Xanadu Weyr or the Sea of Azov.

There's a nip of coolness to the air, a chill in the breeze that's still mostly counteracted by the sunlight. In Elysian's courtyard, rows of tables are set up. Some of them have food, light snacks of redfruit and roasted chestnuts, but even more of them have the utensils but not the things to eat. Actually, they're a bit funny-looking for eating - knives and spoons, yes, but no forks and no plates. There's a bonfire being built up on a flat piece of stone dragged in for that purpose so as to not mar the courtyard, and people are gathering, mingling together. Soriana appears with Luraoth, up in the sky overhead, and descends on a slow swoop toward the ground.

"Hold on! Nearly there. Keep it steady.." These words are not spoken for Kanekith, for he is an expert flier that needs little encouragement or reminder of such. No, Ka'el is speaking to the armful of passengers that Kanekith is carrying. Residents of Xanadu who jumped at the chance of riding the Weyrleader's mighty bronze! Little did they know that show-offy Kanekith takes every chance to show off. So! Zigs and zags later, the bronze makes his way down to the ground with a splay of wings and outstretched feet. His landing is quite gentle despite his large girl, and Ka'el gives him a pay on the neck for his efforts. "Bravo, Kanekith! Everyone alright?" Most are. What a ride! One or two…look a little green. Those people are helped off first. "Careful. Watch your step. Maybe a bit of water will help?" Please don't vomit on his lifemate!

Luraoth gives a nicer ride. Well, assuming that aerobatics aren't the goal! Which… sometimes, they are! Luraoth has only a few passengers besides Soriana. There's Skyler, bundled up in two jackets and a fuzzy hat and clapping his hands and they come in for a landing, and there's a few people from kitchens and nursery that she picked up over the course of gathering herself for today. None of them look queasy, though. The green… well, that'll be coming as other riders arrive, either for their own sake or transporting others. Soriana unfastens herself, then Skyler, and hops her way down from Luraoth's back with her son. "Here we are, then!" A few of the holders who've watched the landings give a ragged cheer. It's friendly enough, but not exactly coordinated. Things are still coming together. In fact… there's something coming right now, a wagon down the road with bright orange gourds tucked in carefully with bales of hay.

“There are you are. Alright, yes?” says Ka’el once the queasier of the riders have happily found steady ground again. He helps the others off too, grinning as he watches people begin to meander forward with curious looks. Tables of food! But also a table with no plates. And ooh. “What’s that, mum?” points a little girl, having caught sight of that wagon with the bright orange load. Ka’el takes a moment to loosen Kanekith’s straps for comfort’s sake. He won’t be riding him again for a while anyway! And, once that’s done, he searches for Luraoth! Easy-peasy. She’s the biggest dragon here! He heads her way and is only stopped three times in the process for hellos and introductions. He eventually does get to the gold and her rider, waving a hand to her and the bundled up Skyler. “No vomiting, I hope? I nearly had one, I think.”

Moncerath bugles to annouce her arrival, then drifts down in wide laze circles. She takes her time landing, allowing Luraoth and Kanekith to drop their passengers before she spots where she will land and backwings to touchdown gently. "See, no one got lost, and no diasaster." Chuckling to one of her more grumbling passengers, Kera helps them down after they're released from the straps. Smiling as they stop to thank her and Moncerath for the trip, she nods agreeably "Welcome." her dragonmate gets an affectionate scratch along her eye ridges before Kera loosens the cinches, allowing the green to breathe a bit easier. When it's just herself and her dragonmate, she starts tugging off the heavy jacket and leaves it one of the green's packs. Two blurs darts overhead "Bout time you arrived." This to her lizards as the duo track her down "What, thought you'ld miss out on all the food?" Grinning as Moncerath's neck becomes a perch, Kera chuckles and shakes her head "Silly brats." Turning away from her winged family, her gaze drifts around, nodding and offering greetings and smiles to friend and strangers too.

Luraoth tucks her wings in, but she's still a pretty easy landmark to find as she watches the crowds of people and dragons. She's likely giving reports to Soriana as well, which explains why the Weyrwoman's doing so well at waving to various people as they arrive. There's Al'cas, hi, and there's Kera, and… oh, hey, here's Ka'el. She laughs. "None at all. And… nearly, you say? So Kanekith's hide is still untarnished?" She knows what's important here… at least to the bronze. As for the rest of them… the bonfire's caught and is being methodically fed tinder to help it grow, and a few of the Hold's children (with maybe some Xanadu ones who've made quick friends) are running out past Kera to meet that wagon of pumpkins coming in to be carved.

"For now," says Ka'el who looks back at Kanekith, unsurprised to see him swaggering towards the fields, doing his best to make those holders gawk in awe. Yes. Be awed! He's in no hurry, so please gaze upon the splendor that is his (un-vomited-on) hide! Ka'el shakes his head, then turns to give the place a once-over. That wagon of bright orange is getting closer. The bonfire's lit! And … there are kids running around everywhere. Fire and kids. What could go wrong? "The people here went through some trouble for us. We'll have to find the Lord and Lady holder and give our appreciation. Especially if there's pumpkin pie…" he says, looking hopefully about. He doesn't see any of that, but he does see Kera! He grins broadly, waving. "Hey there, Kera!"

Kera isn't paying attention at first, her gaze off in the distance looking from one dragon to another as if trying to determine who may or may not already be there. Turning back in time to see a small army of little ones flocking her way, she takes a step ack, then another but the hoard is quick and soon overtake the greenrider. Chuckling, she gets a ruffle in on one of the passing kids, her gaze following them to see the approaching laden wagon. Oh, pay attention, somone is calling. Turning quickly at her name she grins and sends a quick wave "G'afternoon sir." Looking around, it doesn't take long to spot Soriana with Skyler. "Hope you didn't put his running shoes on today. I had trouble keeping up with him as is, he's so fast on his little feet aready." Chuckling a bit, she looks around, nodding and offering greetings to new faces.

Saeth emerges from Between with a burst of glory and a happy series of dragon noises! /Now/ is when the party starts! The blue finds a spot to land, spiraling down toward the ground as his rider throws her fists up and lets out a holler. When Bowyn finds her way off the dragon's back, she rushes toward the group shouting, "PUMPKINS!!" She loves pumpkins. The smell, the goopy insides, the taste, the carving…the pumpkin gut fights. /All/ of it. The first familiar face she comes across is Kera, followed by Soriana, and she grins at both of them with an excited, "/Hi/, are we carving now? Is there a contest?"

Another has arrived to the festivities and slightly belated but for good reason. Ujinath has had to fly straight from the Weyr, pacing himself carefully less he tire too soon in the hour long or so trip. Not that he minds, he likes the change to stretch his wings and his passengers (at least the younger ones) certainly enjoy the view. Circling to land, he is cautious, taking it slow and gentle once he finds a spot on which to do so comfortably. Rumbling, his head lifts to scan the grounds, taking note of familiar dragons as his wings fold tight and neat against his side and one leg lifts up to help the little ones now scrambling to unfasten their safety straps in their excitement. "Slow down! How many times do I have to warn you two not to hurry!" Kiena mutters to her daughters, Ezzie and Ellie as she carefully unbuckles herself and turns to make sure neither of the girls go for a long-distance tumble. Helmets and goggles are gathered and stored, riding jackets too and though it's a slow process, both twins make it to the ground and so does Kiena herself. "Stay close to me," Kiena gestures to her girls, taking one hand in each of hers despite Ezzie's complaints about it. Too bad! "Be patient. Greetings first and then you can go and play." Off into the crowds Kiena goes! Only to pause as Bowyn goes rushing by and both girls almost tug her off balance in hopes of following. PUMPKINS!

There are definitely some gawkers for Kanekith. Sure, Elysian Field Hold gets dragons, but it's not often that they get bronzes, and certainly not ones as magnificent (in his own mind) as Kanekith is. Skyler's looking around too, but the dragons aren't nearly so interesting to him as the new place and new people. Soriana nods to Ka'el. "We will. I don't… see them just yet…" But they're surely somewhere, right? "We'll find them!" And give greetings and thanks and talk about the crops and herds, because that's what one does with farming holders. The kids here are certainly seeming… active. Are they going to trample Kera in a stampede? …maybe, but… no, there she is, she came through the other side safely. "Ebee!" Skyler says, and burbles. Soriana grins, and looks to Ka'el. "Does he even have non-running shoes?" Because as near as she can tell, there's always… PUMPKINS! …oh wait, no, that wasn't what came next. Well, yes, it is. Priorities! "The wagon's there!" Soriana says to Bowyn, and points. It's arrived! Maybe they'd planned to have it a little closer to the carving-tables, but since this is where the people have come to meet it, this is where it stops. "Seems like it's time to me!" Ellie and Ezzie - and the kids scrambling up onto the wagon to pick gourds - seem to agree.

"All shoes are running shoes, sorry Kera," answers Ka'el, nodding in agreement to Soriana. "But at least with three pairs of eyes watching him, there's a less of a chance that he'll go running off, lost to us in a sea of gourds and pumpkins," he says, laughing. Skyler greets his green-riding friend, and Ka'el turns his eyes to..the wagon! Wait, no. The Bowyn! who he can't help but notice arriving. He nods to her, waving a hand before glancing to the wagon again. It has kids crawling all over it now! Like ants. Minus the twins, who for now are being kept by their mother. "Think so.." he answers, nodding. "Hopefully there's enough. I forgot how many children holders have. And…for those of us who've never carved before, is there a remedial class? A beginner's course?" He asks the general whole, looking fora 'First time Carvers, go here!' sign or something. There isn't one. But there is a man with a red, scruffy beard near the wagon, waving people over to come claim a pumpkin for themselves. "Y'won't find any rottin' ones, here!" he shouts. "And if ye do, well..they ain't come from me!" Guffaw!

Kera seems to consider for a moment then gives her head a tiny shake "I'm not sure I would go that far. It's not that easy to run in floppy sandals." At least the greeny thinks so. She wiggles fingers at Skyler "Hello big boy." a couple of faces made at him before she smiles to Soriana "G'afternoon Weyrwoman." Looking over to the swarm of littles picking the wagon clean, she chuckles spotting Kiena's twins among the growing hoard, which means the woman has to be around somewhere. And then Bowyn's voice cuts through "Hi Bluehawk! Hmm, I'm not sure if there is a contest or not. Oh!" She looks between the others curiously "I could go for a pie eating contest though. There probably aren't enough for that though." Listening to the Pumpkin man hawk his goods, she looks back "I'm not really sure how we're supposed to go about this. Should we pick a little one and help them? Or just grab a goard and slice it up?"

Bowyn salutes the goldrider as she rushes off toward the pumpkins, bypassing children being led by their parents with a cackle. Suckers! Wait a minute, all of the people around these pumpkins are children! The bluerider thinks fast and, to save /some/ face, hijacks a small child standing next to her and picking his nose so that she /looks/ like she's helping him pick a pumpkin instead. "OK bud," she mutters to the confused little man being held at arm's length, "You've gotta help me out here. Find me the biggest, best pumpkin and I'll get you a treat." Nevermind this kid is probably three or four turns old and confused as anything about why there's a random stranger holding him in the air, but soon enough she lets him go and gives him an encouraging shove in the general direction of the pumpkins. Hopefully no one saw thir top secret exchange. While the kid starts looking at the bright orange gourds, Bowyn slowly wanders back toward Kera and the Weyrleaders with casually folded arms and a smile on her face. Every minute or so she glances back over to her accomplice to make sure he's doing his job. Biggest. Best. Pumpkin. She looks to Kera and says, "Ooh, pie eating contest? Hmm…" consideration, "No I should dedicate my time to carving. Definitely."

If Bowyn wanted cover, she had only need to ask! Kiena would have gladly foisted either of her girls off and even be nice and give her Ellie rather than Ezzie. As it stands, the bluerider can only hold on to them for so long before she can't hold them back (or just grows tired of it). "Go on then and pick one. One each!" she stresses and gives a small sigh of relief when the girls scamper off to join the hoards of children gathering. Watch out little-guy hired by Bowyn! You've competition now. Freed (sort of), Kiena steps back to the group of adults and familiar faces, offering a little wave while her other hand rests against the now slight curve to her stomach even under her jacket. "G'day to all of you! … and what's this about pie?" she asks with a crooked smirk.

"I think some of those pumpkins are bigger than he is," Soriana says with a glance from wagon to son. Redbeard the Farmer can be proud! Even prouder if he's brought enough for all the kids. "…heh. They do have an entire hold's worth of families." Remedial lessons? Apparently, not so much. "Can't imagine it's that hard," Soriana says. After all, look at the kids they have doing it! Some of them only a couple turns older than Skyler, and… being conscripted into helping blueriders? Or, no, wait, the bluerider is helping them. Or… uh… Soriana blinks back to Kera. "I'm sure you can carve your own, if you'd like." Good news, Bowyn! The kids are just the excitable ones who rushed in first… and are scrambling around on the wagon as she returns to act casual. "Pie… wouldn't that have to come after? I mean, they've only just gotten the pumpkins here, isn't there… stuff… to do before it's pie?" Soriana is not a cook, she just knows that those orange gourds don't look much like pie… yet. Someone's going around setting out bowls for pumpkin-guts on the carving tables, which… might be related. Hopefully? Because apparently people want pie! "Hi Kiena!" Soriana says to the other bluerider, and laughs. "Nobody's told me anything about pie." Not reputably, anyhow, and for once, she's not the one organizing this party. That's up to the Lord and Lady Holder here! Who… they'll find to thank at some point.

Skyler is .. far too small to go picking out pumpkins. Whoever shall get one for him? Ka'el watches as children are helped to search through the wagon for the perfect gourd for them. Small. Large. Fat! Lopsided. "Good day, Kiena," he greets the bluerider before pondering the question of contests. And pie. "If there isn't a contest, then we should make one amongst ourselves," concludes Ka'el, grinning to the group of familiar Weyrfolk. "The most skillfully crafted pumpkin! And we'll appoint…someone to be the judge. Perhaps the bearded fellow who brought the load? Or any Holder will do. I'm sure they'll all be fair and unbiased." He grins, scoping out the tables, some of which are being claimed by both kids and adults who already have their pumpkins. "Quick then, let's claim a table for ourselves before they're all taken and we're left to carve on the ground! I'll get a pumpkin. Two." One for himself, one for Sori. Skyler can share! "Anyone else need one?"

Kera grins as Kiena approaches "Afternoon Kiena." Smirking slightly at the questions she steps back as if she may be in danger. "I was just saying the last place one should stand is between yourself and a pie. If your stomach was up to the task that is." Her gaze is caught by Bowyn when the other woman slinks closer "Bit young for you isn't he Bowyn?" A quick head tip towards her nose picking acomplice choosing a pumpkin. Grinning at the little taunt to her frined, she mock frowns to Soriana "What? But he said there would be apple pie." Kera's quick to point a finger of blame towards her Weyrleader "I think he did. I was too distracted with chasing down this little wildman through thr forest." And again she makes as if to pounce Skyler and swopp off with him again. Pausing in her atctions, still grinning "I'll come choose a little one. And I'll agree to a little inner group contest, as long as no one 'signs' their gourd." Meaning no cheating Ka'el. Then she's trying to weave her way through the kids around the wagon to pick over what's left.

"Hey Soriana and well, no worries about the pie… was just what I overheard now that I'm not trying to wrangle the twins. Surprised they didn't just jump before Ujinath came to a complete stop," Kiena mutters with another smirk and chuckles, only to eye Kera. "Hey now! I eat a lot these days but I swear I'll not gorge on pie — or anything, really. You're perfectly safe!" Honest! Just ignore the way she grins a little toothily. "Hello Ka'el and you too, little Skyler." Kiena gives a small wave to both and then glances towards those tables. "I think that sounds like a sound plan! Suppose it wouldn't hurt if I gave a try at carving then too… Are either of you going to grab one?" She looks between the Weyrleader and Kera, as Ezzie and Ellie are already trotting back with their 'prize' pumpkins which they can barely hold in their arms.

Bowyn considers the proposal of /creating/ a contest and the suggestion of the bearded man as judge. "I kind of want to be the judge, but…then I can't participate. So forget that." Also probably not everyone is ready for her level of pumpkin scrutiny, anyway. Her partner in crime has found a pumpkin and is arguing about it with another child when Bowyn looks over at him again, the bluerider springing into action with a, "Oh look at that, tiny toddler fistfights, better go break it up!" As she runs toward the children she's saying, "Hey hey hey, that's enough fighting! That's mine!" Pillar of maturity, that one.

Soriana grins to Kiena about the enthusiasm of children. "That's what straps are for?" she suggests playfully, then laughs and shakes her head a bit as a contest starts coalescing, planned or no. "First you'd better get those things carved! Can't compete with what you haven't got." Which means, step zero… getting pumpkins! Which Bowyn is doing rapidly and the remainder are doing less rapidly. "I'll hold down the table." Surely nothing will go wrong with Ka'el trying to carry multiple of them at once! …more accurately, it'd probably go even more wrong if Soriana were trying to carry a pumpkin and a toddler, so… to the table with her! She finds one that's mostly free - it's got a few kids at one end, but there's still enough room for the rest of them - and takes a seat… after sliding the knives away a bit, because (predictably) Skyler makes a grab for what's in front of him. Fortunately, it's just a spoon, so he can have it!

"Correction: I said I hope there'll be apple pie," says Ka'el with a broad grin to Kera. "And if there is, then an extra slice for the victor!" Ka'el then heads off with the intention of grabbing at least three pumpkins. One for himself, Soriana, and an extra in case anyone else needs one since Kera's claiming a small one. He glances to Bowyn as she goes to keep the children from harming themselves and others, laughing. "Well, a nanny in training, maybe?" he snickers before pausing at that cart. There are still many pumpkins left! That bearded holder proudly displays what's still available, and Ka'el points to an ity bitty tiny one. Just the right size for Skyler! "Look! That one's perfect for you, Kera. You can probably hold it between your finger and thumb." He laughs, then picks a medium sized one, tucks it beneath an arm. Another medium sized is tucked beneath his other arm. And then thankfully, the holder hands him a largish one, which he holds in his hands. And then he…sort of waddles to the table Soriana's claimed. "I've got pumpkins!" And Skyler has a spoon. Perfect for banging with! "Who needs a pumpkin? I've got an extra."

Kera lifts her hands up to Kiena as if to protest her innocence, or to make herself look really scrawny, she'ld hardly a snack much less a meal. Chuckling, she'll make a show of stepping out of the way of food and Kiena, and sidestepping til she's well away and getting to the edge of the wagon. Glancing across when Ka'el points out his eye of the perfect one, she huffs, darts her eyes to either side briefly to see who's looking. Watchful little eyes everywhere keep her from sticking her tongue out. "Yea well…" Brain searches for any safe attack on your Weyrleader and the perfect things comes to mind "I'll make sure the next batch of cookies as very small ones like that for you next time." Haa! Attack the cookie supply, get'em every time. Tilting a couple of pumpkins this way or that, one finally calls out to her and she claims it. Tucking the orange head shape under her arm she returns to the table Soriana and Skyler settle at. Smiling to the kids at the end of the table, she plonks down and sets her chosen contest winning gourd. "You should all give up now. I got this one." Kera smirks around the table, spotting Bowyn rushing over to break up a mini brawl.

Kiena starts a bit when Bowyn runs off while calling off a fist fight and promptly checks to be sure it is Ezzie who has stepped up with her sister and not some look-alike! Relieved, she sends the girls off ahead and they happily go to claim a seat across from Soriana, Ka'el and Skyler, struggling to place their pumpkins on the table and all but bouncing on spot in excitement. Good thing Soriana moved those knives away! The girls look ready to start, instructions or not! "I'll take the extra, Ka'el, if no one has claimed it yet." Kiena speaks up as she walks up at a more sedate pace to the tables and sitting beside her girls. Kera's boasting has her laughing, "Oh, so you're setting the challenge already, eh?" she teases.

Skyler the drummer! Or… at the moment, he's doing a thing that's like clapping his hands except he's got the spoon in one and he's bringing it together with his other palm. Hmmm. Interesting, but… y'know what would be more interesting? Banging it on the table! …so he does. Fortunately he doesn't do it all that hard, so this doesn't turn into the impromptu drums practice. "…so pumpkins grow on vines, like the things in our garden," she explains to the toddler who's only half listening. "And we're going to make them into fun shapes." Also known as playing with their food! Or what could be their food if they didn't turn it into sculptures instead. Adults are so inconsistent sometimes! If there was a need for further evidence, Ka'el provides it. What about that rule of 'don't carry so much, you'll drop it'? But Soriana doesn't even remind Ka'el of that as he comes up with three whole pumpkins, ready for carving, just looks a little worried about it as she glances from him to the others returning. "Give up, nothing. Even if that pumpkin wins, it still needs a wing to be leader of." If! The others might have something to say about that. Soriana gently nudges Skyler's spoon out of the way so Ka'el can set down a pumpkin for her. Around them, other people (mostly kids) are chattering happily and starting to carve and scoop from the pumpkins they've gathered (fresh from the farm-wagon).

Wait, small cookies? "Well as long are there are loads of them Kera, that'll make up for the size. So there'd better be plenty!" says Ka'el as he thunks down the big pumpkin on the table, then caaaaarefully inches those under-the-arm ones on the table as well. Not a pumpkin is dropped! (miraculously) One is set before Soriana and Skyler, the drummer. The other is pushed towards Kiena, and the third is kept for himself. "Those look like good ones," he says to the twins, eyeing the one that they've chosen. "You think you'll carve better than me though?" he says in mock-challenge, drumming his fingers on the pumpkin's top! And now… uh, what do they do? He glances to the left. Some people at other tables have gotten started, sawing away at the top! A young woman comes their way, rosy cheeked and helpful looking. "Y'all can get started whenever you're ready! Never carved before? It's easy! See, you've got to get to the insides and gut it out. S'why you've got to cut a hole in the top first! Some people get real fancy and cut shapes, but a regular ol' circle'll do just fine. Careful though with the sharp ends 'round the young'uns, o'course. And..heh, it gets messy!"

Kera shakes her head to Ka'el, smiling broadly "Oh no tiny little things. Just a few crumbs really. Hardly worth the trouble." Turning her grin back to her own future prize winner, it's given a bit of a spin, eye it from all sides. Nodding to Kiena "Yep! Gotta keep 'someone' on their toes." Her eyes may or may not roll towards the Weyrleader as he juggles his stash of pumpkins where they need to go, then before focusing back on her gourd. Soriana's diplomatic aapproach of the winner still needing wingriding pumpkins gets a chuckle. Getting serious now, she starts working, pausing at times to help one of the little ones who's little hands don't quite fit around knife handles.

Kiena gives a small nod of thanks to Ka'el as he pushes one of the pumpkins her way and reaches out to pull it closer. Anything she was going to say, however, is drowned out by Ellie and Ezzie's enthusiastic replies to Ka'el as they beam proudly over their chosen pumpkins. "We picked them very carefully!" One of them boasts, likely Ellie as Ezzie is already trying to figure out how to get into her pumpkin. "Nuh-huh! We can beat you no problem!" she claims to the challenge with a grin while Kiena helps open both their pumpkins. No knives for the girls! That'd not end well. Messy is right… no sooner is that announced that Ezzie begins tearing into the innards of her pumpkin with relish. She's having way too much fun with that! Ellie is far more hesitant, glancing to Ka'el and Soriana, even Kera to see what the adults are doing and wrinkling a nose as her sister manages to get seeds and strings of things all over. "Eeew…" No one told her this was part of the deal! Moooooom! Kiena just shakes her head and begins to start on Ellie's pumpkin, while trying to coax her into taking over. "And who's this someone?" she'll manage to drawl, a touch distractedly, to Kera.

Oooh, a pumpkin! "Owa!" says Skyler, because this is obviously an extra-giant orangefruit. He likes those! So he reaches for it, patting the rind with his open palm. "That's our pumpkin, yup," Soriana agrees, then glances up and grins to Ka'el. "Thanks." Though how she's going to manage a knife and a Skyler… well, she'll figure something out. The instructions are nodded to, and then she looks around at the others as they go about their pumpkining progress. "Put the guts in the bowl," Soriana says to Ezzie, though… somehow, she has a funny feeling they're not all going to go there. One of the older kids from Elysian Field looks over. "It's okay. We let the porcines through here after," he explains, then goes back to emptying his pumpkin one methodical spoonful at a time. So, right. Pumpkin… Skyler… Soriana reaches toward the knife, then pauses. Hmm. No, let's not do that. The toddler seems far too interested, and the pumpkin probably needs bracing. So, she looks to Ka'el. "You want to get this thing started? Skyler can help with emptying it…" By which she means that he can make a hideous mess, but… close enough!

Shindigs are oft a working event for the Xanadu headwoman - at least when they're held at the Weyr. This one is not and so she is here, finally, having garnered some free time. She's strolling slowly, a child of about six months old held with clasped arms balanced a-straddle one hip. He's holding something in his hands - a soft toy of some sort - contentedly chewing it while blue-grey eyes take in the festive activity with a sort of wide-eyed wonder. The orange-yellow hoodie he's wearing contrasts nicely with the crisp blue of the sky providing a backdrop as well as the leaves his mother aimlessly kicks aside as she moves without hurry through the area. Nearer to the table Darsce drifts and finally stops to watch, though she does say, "Hello Soriana." A glance is slid the Weyrleader's way, one corner of her mouth curls in a subtle smirk but, she remains silent. She's going to behave. No teasing! She'll nod to him, if he glances her way, but he looks busy. Kiena and Kera also look occupied, but she flashes them both a smile before watching Skyler gut his pumpkin curiously. If she blanches after the mention of porcines (Even if… they're coming later - they may have been out before? Eep?) and glances down at her expensive footwear, it's totally coincidence!

"I can help any ickle ones that need helpin'," says the helpful holder, who apparently might have been assigned this table as a personal assistance. "M'name's Bernadette, but most call me Bernie and oh!" Hestops right in her tracks as she notices Soriana. Or rather, the knot on her shoulder. This isn't just any dragon rider! "Ma'am!" she says quickly, giving a very unpracticed-looking curtsey. "I, er.. oh, careful!" she's quick to swoop over to Kiena and her twins, though it looks like the mother has everything under control! Still, she keeps a close eye on all those under the age of ten. No one will be stabbed on her watch! "Yes, that's it. Very good you've got it just right! All the innards go in those bowls there," she says, nodding as the Weyrwoman says the same. "See, we're gonna havea right fine roast later. Best thing you'll ever taste is roasted pun'kin seeds straight from the pan! Just a bit of oil and.. oh, do you need help, ma'am? You've your arms full!" This said to Soriana, though she pauses to check on Kera. "Very nice. Have you done this before?"

Ka'el snorts at the prospect of cookie crumbs. "Careful, someone may sabotage your work," he says, giving a very /very/ obvious wink to Skyler, his secret weapon! Too bad the boy is far more interested in the mega orangefruit that's in front of him moreso than his father's plan of ruin. And he also has two twin girls to contend with. "I see the competition here is going to be very difficult," he says, claiming a knife. "I accept the challenge!" He weilds his knife and promptly stabs the top of his pumpkin and starts sawing. "You can have this one," he offers to Soriana with a smirk. "Once I get the top off, and then … we brought an extra change of clothes for him didn't we?" He hopes. The pumpkin lid doesn't take much work to create, and once it's cut round, it's slid over to the Weyrwoman.

Kera sees something from the corner of her eye, approaching rapidly and ducks as she leans back. Peering back and forth and realizing it's raining pumpkin innards, "Hey, watch where ya fling stuff." One of the holders points out a large communal bowl for just such use "Yea, what she said." Looking about to see who the mess is coming from, Ezzie's area looks likely considering what the table top looks like around her. Turning back to her own task, she gets the top off, and starts to gutting the orange blob. Ducking again, she looks around as if to say 'who threw that' but just shrugs and grins to Kiena's distrated question "Oh, someone who would use their huuuuuge dragon to block the goal in field ball." Eye stay pointedly on her pumpkin, even if she is grinning, as Ka'el retorts back with innocent mentions of sabatoge. Nodding to the woman who appears at her shoulder "A few times before, turns ago." A cheery smile offered as she pauses gutting to help the little one sitting next to her. Gaze drifts around the table as she works, frowning when she feels something hit her hair. "Hey, watch the flinging." Gah, her hands messy, and now so is her hair. Seeing Darsce, she send a goo covered wave and smile "Afternoon Headwoman." before the woman gets out of range.

Soriana smiles. "Thank you Bernie!" she calls after the holder woman as she scrambles to make sure everything's okay. "We appreciate it." Whether it's the help, the invitation, or the all of the above! Skyler, meanwhile, is continuing to be a great secret weapon. In fact, he's so secret that him being a weapon is… also secret, even from him. He patpats at his giant orangefruit as Soriana mms at the sound of roasted seeds. A good motivation to get them in the bowls instead of… does that kid have some in her hair? It's like a vision of what Skyler will be soon. A very… orange… vision. Fortunately for the feet of Darsce (and everyone else) the paving stones seem clear of everything but stray leaves. They were swept and scrubbed for the occasion! But… the leaves crept in, and now, so does the pumpkin goo. Soriana's hands are still clean, but she's using them to hold Skyler, so she just smiles without waving as she says, "Hi Darsce!" before looking back to Bernie. "Oh-" she begins, then glances to Ka'el and grins. "That'll do." Weyrmate to the rescue! "Thanks, though!" she adds to Bernie. And then… there's a pumpkin in front of her with a hole in the top. "Okay, Skyler," she says. He taps it with his spoon. Poof, it's a pumpkin? "Reach in," she demonstrates, "and take some out. Like with your block bucket." Only… slimy.

Kiena has had her hands full and only half with pumpkin gutting. "Ezzie! Go easy!" she chides her with a warning look. Or else! Followed by Kera's chiding and Soriana's suggestion of putting the seeds and guts into the bowl, Ezzie mumbles an apology and slows down and while some does reach the bowls now, most it ends on the table … and her. Ellie still looks unsure and is doing her best to avoid being covered in slime and seeds by her sister. Looks like Kiena has two pumpkins now! "Sorry, Kera…" she apologizes hastily to the greenrider, only to spot Darsce and her little one. She grins, "Hey! Coming to join? Spare pumpkin." The extra is pointed to, as she's all but taken over Ellie's now. Both girls grin at Ka'el when he agrees to their challenge and Ezzie has to be put in check again by another sharp look from Kiena.

You'd think the way Darsce dresses that she'd be all into titles, but no. Not unless someone's making a mess of her caverns. "Darsce, Kera," she absently corrects the greenrider, easing back a step or two as pumpkin guts flick onto the table nearby. The jeans she's wearing might not suffer but her fancy jacquard jacket would likely be stained. Besides, pumpkin may or may not be suggested as hair treatment. She returns Soriana's smile, then watches her with a mixture of curiosity and dread as she teaches Skyler about tactile integration with kinesthetic learning experience. It looks.. messy and somewhat hazardous. Is that what's down the pike for her? Gulp! An iceblue glance flicks towards Kiena and she gaks slightly. "Ahh…" Her gaze wobbles in an almost panicked sort of way, seeking a figure in the crowd. To hold the child? To whisk her away so she won't uh, break a nail? "I…suck at cooking," she says. Nevermind this isn't cooking, pumpkins are food. "And they don't trust me with knives around the Weyrleader," she drawls with a smirk.

Bernadette does not seem to mind the mess that's being made upon the tabletop. Sure there's some goo and seeds actually making it into those pots, and some that…isn't. No big deal! "You're all doing just dandy! And I knew you had some carvin' blood in ya," she says, broadly grinning to Kera. "You've got a steady hand. Now, you're gonna want to get as much gunk out as you can," she says to them all. "The cleaner the better! Usin' the spoons at the end will help ya get the tougher-to-reach bits, but the most've it will come if you muscle in an' get a good grip. These girls here have the right of it!" she says, moving over to praise Ellie and Ezzie for their efforts, messy as they are! "An' don't fear a little goo on you. It'll wash straight off and leave not a stain!

"I know not of which she speaks," says Ka'el, looking to Kera while grinning. Blocking a goal with a dragon? Who would do that? Not him! >.> Nope. Ka'el peers into the hole of the one pumpkin that he's readied and shakes his head slowly. "Oooh, this is going to be epic…" he says, glancing from pumpkin to Skyler. He rears his head back a little as Soriana demonstrates the proper way to reach and grab. Reaching and grabbing? The kid should be a pro at this! Ka'el makes quick work of the second pumpkin, his own, and saws a circle to get the top off. He pulls at the stem and is rewarded with stringy veins of seeds that cling to the inside. "Heh, maybe I should've brought a change of clothes," he says, rolling up his sleeves past the elbows. "Why didn't you girls tell me this was going to be so messy of an ordeal?" he playfully complains to the twins, sparing the headwoman a glance.

Kera smiles as Soriana shows Skyler the wonders of pumpkin gutting. Unfortunately, Ezzie seems to know it all to well as her enthusiasm for the task reeks havoc on Kera's hair, in the form of stringy inner bits, goo droplets and stray seeds. A hint of a sigh, she doesn't bother trying to get it out, her messy hands would only make it worse. Laughing, she waves off Kiena's appology. "No problem, all in good fun. Right?" Kera finishes gutting her own gourd and then begins carving and slicing. Chuckling to herself, as her little image beging to take shape, an old style syringe with hoop finger holes and a really long needle. Adding a couple more little touches, she sits back to study her work. Finally nodding to herself she does her best to wipe down her carved pumpkin and the mess she ended up making herself. Pushing up from the table she just grins to Ka'el insistance he doesn't know what she's talking about. "Uh huh." Then again, he 'is' just man and may well be telling the truth. Tucking her prize winner under her arm, she walks along the table slowly, pausing to see what others are making. She'll offer encouraging words to some of the little ones. Finally setting her carving off to the side out of the way, she excuses herself "I need to go get this out of my hair before this evening. Don't eat ALL the pie while I'm gone okay?" Kera's looking at Kiena when she says that. Wiggling pumpkin fingers to Darsce, smiling at her little one when she steps by then rushes off. Hmm, someone has plans this evening it seems.

For the kids (or… headwomen?) who aren't allowed the sharp things yet, there's also some markers and dull scrapers at the table. "You could try sketching something?" Soriana suggests to Darsce with a little bit of a shrug. "Though, I suppose you have your hands full." There's a tilt of her head to the baby, with a smile to go with. The markers aren't nearly so messy as the knives - and maybe not nearly so fun, either, but they can at least let one draw out shapes - whether to be cut out by someone else, or just as decor on the outside of a pumpkin. First, though… there's the reach and grab! It's practically an art form, and here's Skyler demonstrating. Reach and grab and… eat? "Not yet," Soriana says as she redirects his hand to the bowl to collect it. "They've still got to roast it." See? The cooking's done by someone else. Skyler… probably doesn't get it, but with a few more nudges he gets the general idea. This is the 'move things' game. He knows this one! Bits of stringy pumpkin and seed… yeah, they're pretty much going everywhere, which includes all over Soriana. "…and they don't stain, you say?" She grins to Bernie. "Good to know!" Not that she seems overly worried. "We'll just have to shake off when we're done," she muses to Ka'el at the mention of that change of clothes. "Maybe roll around in some leaves?" Probably not a suitably formal thing for Weyrleadership to do. Also probably not something she's actually planning on doing, even if she's not so worried about looking good as some. Kera's comment garners a curious rise of her eyebrows, but she smiles and waves - conservatively, so as to not send the bits of pumpkin-goo everywhere. "Have fun!" she tells the greenrider for… whatever!

"Eh, I trust ya? Come sit, I'll be your shield. You can take Ellie too for added protection if you'd like. This doesn't seem to be her thing," Kiena drawls and Ellie will peer up hopefully at Darsce. Pretty please? "Ezzie, what did I say about flinging the pumpkin goo?" she chides again and promptly peels off a long string of it from the sleeve of her tunic. Ugh! The twins do beam though for Bernadette's praise and then both wave to Kera's departure. Never mind they're half to blame for it! Ellie perks up at the mention of markers. That is definitely more her style! Kiena just shakes her head as both her daughters giggle at Ka'el's words and then hisses a warning too late to Ezzie when she's so bold as to flick a seed at the Weyrleader. It was meant as fun! He did say 'messy'.

How does one carve a pumpkin into a…syringe? Darsce's gaze slides to the departing Kera, her lips from into a soundless whistle for the talent to accomplish that. "Seeya," she calls to Kera because she does indeed have her hands full with Dariel and thus doesn't wave. Her glance back to Ka'el is boldly innocent. Whut? Next her eyes seek those markers, then after a pause, "I…yeah," she mutteringly agrees with Soriana. Hands full. And while she could probably flag down Bernie to find someone to help her, she opts in favor of flagging down her husband. He's here…somewhere…in the crowd. She just has to go find him. Ellie's pleading look is met with a baffled shrug, an uncertain smile and a headshake. "Seeya," she repeats and she's off, lost in the crowd.

"Good day to you, Kera!" Ka'el calls in her wake, doing a mental count of dragons still present. Ah, they'll have plenty to carry people back, and the Comet taxis are popping in and out as scheduled. And thus! Thoughts of work are gently shuffled to the side to make room for fun. The gooey sort of sticky fun! The best type for kids! And even adults, as most seem to be enjoying themselves, Weyrfolk and Holders alike. Bernie most definitely is! How she got assigned to the Senior Weyrwoman's table, she's not sure (accidental, probably), but she's definitely not going to mess this up! "What you choose to carve on your gourd's surface is up to your imagination! Can be a…uhm, a runner. A favorite design. Leaves, if'n you're so inclined. Personally, I give mine an angry face and set it at my doorstep t'fend off bad luck! Or a cheerful face to encourage good luck and happy feelings! Oh!" She pauses at a sticky-handed Skyler. "Well now, you've taken th'bull by th'horns, haven't ya?" she giggles.

"Shake off and dunk ourselves in Lake Caspian sounds about right," laughs Ka'el to Soriana while pulling out a handful of pumpkin guts. But then…*splat!* Gasp! Pumpkin seed to the face. Stuck to his cheek. He sloooowly looks towards Ezzie. Oooo, somebody is in trrroooouble! "Miss…you have started…a war!" (uh, what was that about appropriate Weyrleadership behavior?) Flicking pumpkin seeds at a seven turn old probably is not that. But who could fault them for having fun? Flick! Flick! Attack on Ezzie! And probably on Kiena too, who may be in the line of fire.

Soriana waves to the departing Darsce (carefully, again!) and then looks back to Kiena with a wry smile. "Looks like you're on your own!" With double trouble! …Ezzie is both halves of the doubling, as it turns out. She grins to Bernie, because she at least doesn't seem to be finding anything going wrong. "Maybe carve a pumpkin on it. And put a tiny pumpkin inside…" It'll be pumpkins all the way down! In. Whatever. Skyler giggles at Bernie as she stops to look at his progress, and offers her a hunk of goopy pumpkin guts. It's for her! A special present! Soriana just grins, offering a look of, 'kids, huh?' and totally missing the pumpkin seed fight in those crucial moments when she could have headed it off before things got messy. Oops!

Ezzie is definitely double the trouble all on her own and especially when she's encouraged into it! With a squeal at Ka'el's return fire, she begins to giggle and laugh as she ducks and twists to avoid his "attacks" and then flick seeds (just seeds!) back at him! HA! Take that, and that! Kiena, who looked close to horrified at first for the (lucky?) aim of her daughter's first flung seed relaxes and just keeps a close eye on her daughter so lines aren't crossed. Ka'el is still a Weyrleader and seven Turns or not, she doesn't want her daughter getting ideas in her head that rank can be completely ignored. "Seems so!" Kiena muses to Soriana as Darsce moves on into the crowds, her blue eyes following the Headwoman until she disappears. Ellie however pouts until she's distracted with markers for her non-carved or gutted pumpkin.

"Oh, why thank ya, young'un!" says Bernie at her goopy gift from the Weyrwoman's baby. She takes it, no big deal at all, and ..well, she holds it. What else can she do with it? Not pocket it, that's for sure! "And what'll yours be? A great feline? A cloud? A mighty dragon?" Such high expectations for a baby! The young holder looks towards the twin girls to check on how they're d- oh.. Someone has initiated a pumpkin seed fight! And…well, this possibly is a commonplace thing to happen as well. Not so common when it involves such highly ranking people but..who is she to tell them to stop? And if they can have a seed fight, why can't that table over there? Apparently, it's a trend that's catching on, for there goes some more seeds! And laughter. And someone just flung gunk from one table to the next! More laughter. "Uh oh…" says Ka'el, pausing, poised and ready to throw a seed but not quite doing so because.. "Incoming!" he warns his table. Someone has launched goo, and it's heading straight for … them!

Pumpkin goop would go great in pockets! …yeah so Soriana should probably check Skyler's after. Preferably before sending them to the laundry, because she likes not making them groan when they discover things, and… Skyler's her kid and all. "You can, uh…" She tilts her head to the bowl for Bernie. It's okay, she won't be offended! Neither will Skyler, he doesn't have enough attention span for that. Only, Soriana doesn't finish her comment, because while she has an attention span, she doesn't have enough of one to keep focused through… a flick that sends some of those seeds flying at her! Who did that? She's not sure, but she blinks across the table just as Skyler gets the idea. His parents do like to claim he's a smart kid! So he takes his next handful of goo and gives it a fling. Usually, his aim is terrible. This time, accidentally or on purpose, the gob of messy goop is headed… right for Ellie!

Ellie is quite content to half-ignore the "goo war" going on as she happily scribbles on her pumpkin. It looks… something like a blue dragon? Or a blue blob with wings and maybe some limbs and a tiny head. Hey, she's only seven! And her pumpkin is funny shaped. She works with what she has! Kiena's head turns just in time with Ka'el's warning and ends up getting some goo to the shoulder. "Ugh! Why is it always cold," she grumbles. What would be the alternative? Scalding hot? Ezzie is keeping up the fight with Ka'el and then for Ellie, well… that gob hits its mark — namely her hand and some of her arm. The result? Instant tears and a bit of a freak out, while Kiena tries to shush her and calm her down. "It's just pumpkin! It's not going to hurt you." Like a crawlie or a tunnel snake! As Ellie settles into burrowing herself against Kiena's side as much as she can (both she and her mother are getting to big for that sort of thing!), the bluerider smirks to both Ka'el and Soriana. "Dunno what's with her lately," Sorry about that? Ezzie's stopped in her attack, distracted by her sister's behaviour. She wrinkles her nose. "She never likes anything fun," she pouts.

Uh oh. Bernie soon has bigger problems to contend with than what to do with Skyler's heartfelt gift (which eventually is put in that bowl). There's stuff being flung about! And not just at her table, at seemingly every table! Give a kid an excuse to make a mess, and he probably will. Give a parent an excuse to act like a kid, and in some situations, they will. And in this situation, not everyone here is a parent, and thus a young man or woman may not need much excuse to fling things around. It's a loud whistle *TWEEEEET!* that causes the mini food fight to come to a pause. Thank goodness, right Ellie?? Ka'el glances to Skyler, who is not as innocent as he looks. "I saw that…." he says with narrowed eyes to the happy boy. But he did whaaa-? Giggle! "Ellie," says Ka'el, looking to the teary-eyed twin, "Skyler is very sorry and apologizes for what he's done. He didn't mean to offend you." Riiight Skyler? "And…as for apologies, I should probably extend mine to the Lord and Lady holder for .. instigating," he says with a guilty smirk to both women, peeling off a seed from his cheek, beginning to stand.

Skyler… doesn't quite get it. There was a game of throwing things! And then there are some people crying (which is their problem not his! Toddlers aren't good at empathy) and dad is giving him an expectant look. So… uh… yeah, this is where toddler social awareness breaks down, but he knows there's something going on, which is why he provides his most winning smile. How could anyone be upset with him? All is right with the universe. Right? …right. Obviously. Clearly. "I'm sure we can get a clean towel," Soriana adds on the heels of Ka'el's apology on Skyler's behalf, and glances to find Bernie again. "…right?" A towel for the sad kid with the pumpkin smear? Well. For the kid with a pumpkin smear who's upset about this! The ones who were actually a part of the fight, that's their own problem. Her gaze goes back to Ka'el, and she nods. "Let's go find them, then." Since, hey, it's an opportunity! And they can do the rest of the diplomacy while they're at it. Skyler won't mind - not that he wouldn't have kept tearing at the pumpkin quite happily, but he doesn't exactly realize that there's more to it, so he won't be disappointed by the lack.

Clean towel? "Oh, sure! I'm sure I can…find… something.." If the Weyrwoman wants clean towels, then she'll have clean towels! Bernadette, who is splattered here and there with pumpkin residue herself, is quick to head off and find something to wipe the crying child down with, hushing a "There there. It's all right.." to her the entire time. Skyler … is not going to be in trouble. First of all, who could resist that smile? Ka'el can't, and he can feel his resolve to reprimand melting away. Secondly, he's only a turn! He didn't know what he was doing and definitely didn't do anything out of spite. And so, with a sigh he moves over to Soriana and Skyler and gives the boy hair a ruffle…right after picking out a seed that's been lodged within it. "No throwing food. And yes, I know…same for me." He smirks crookedly, then nods to Soriana. Onwards to apologize! But if either one of the two were fretting, they needn't have been, for the Lord Holder himself was the worried one. Such a mess! Such behavior! And with the Weyrwoman and Weyrleader present! In the end, all of them could only laugh off the issue, which wasn't much of an issue at all, and the carving continued, after a small break for an impromptu cleanup. This is, after all, a festival of celebration of teamwork and a successful harvest! Pumpkins were carved, gourds designed, and pumpkin seeds, oiled and salted, roasted over the open bonfire. Xanadu Weyr residents stayed well into evening, where the glow of the fire burned brightly, casting a warm glow on the many faces around it. Stories were told, new friends made, and children fell asleep in the laps of their parents and guardians until dragons whisked them home to their beds.

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