Shirking duties beachside

Xanadu Weyr: Shores of Lake Caspian
The cliffs that run along the shore come and go, various weyrs nestled along the tops of them or dug into the walls, but eventually they recede enough to expose a beach. The white sand echoes the rise and fall of the cliffs with a multitude of sandy dunes, endlessly creating tiny valleys that are constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of dragons. The dunes smooth out as the gentle slope approaches the edge of the deep blue water. The sand darkens, and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect.
The beach narrows to the southwest, leaving a path barely wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to a smaller, more sheltered cove. The sands are the same white, the waters the same blue, but they're calmer and more tranquil, more protected from the winds that ruffle Lake Caspian and the currents that tug beneath the surface.
Rough, wide stairs lead up to the meadow above and the road that runs along the top of the cliffs, passing through the fields and heading for the river mouth that can be just barely seen from here. The largest of the staircases up the cliff is located near the docks that jut out onto the peaceful blue waters.

A lazy afternoon on the beach is just what the healer ordered, even if the temperature is starting to cool down. Unfortunately, it's not supposed to be on the table for most of the candidates, including Velorn. That's not going to stop the computer crafter from sneaking away from his latest assigned project to laze about on the white sand near the docks, though. One would have thought that the very not nature minded young man would have had enough of everything 'outdoors' after their… camping trip… but maybe it's the difference between being forced to be alone in nature and the ability to retreat to the comforts of all things inside that has him seeking out open skies and rolling waves. He's even managed to find a rickety lounge chair to recline on, one arm thrown over his eyes and a beat up old laptop balanced on his lap. From the looks of things, he's been here long enough to either run down the battery or ignore it long enough for it to go to sleep. Either way, the tall blond looks relaxed and as dead to the world as his computer.

A lazy day is just what the healers ordered indeed. Velorn is not the only one about. Not far offshore a long pale hand breaks the increasingly chilly waters and is followed by a dark brown haired head. Zaira, done with her chores for the day, is enjoying the waters as well. She sounds suddenly and appears right about the sleepy computerer's chosen spot when she comes back up again. Tall, clad in a white, red and blue striped motif bikini, her long hair loose and dripping, but still managing to be dignified and glamorous at the same time…the latter totally unintentional, just the way her body is built.

Zachariah survived their little outing out to that island, perhaps better than anyone would have given him credit for. So why is he back outdoors after only a few days back at the weyr? It's really anyone's guess as he emerges onto the shores of the lake. A towel is draped over his shoulders as he strides barefooted through the white sands. His tiny little blue zips along ahead of him to splash merrily into the water. "Peony!" calls out Zach. "You're drying off before you sit on my shoulder when we return!" and low and behold he's the third candidate to appear.

Clio is… suspiciously absent. It might be worrying to some for Velorn's flying rage monster to be missing in action, especially since he obviously came prepared for her to hang out with him by that large herdbeast bone beside his chair. The others might be content to show off as much skin as possible, but the dozing computer craft-candidate is originally from a much… warmer climate. Instead, he's got a light blanket thrown over his lap and is wearing long sleeves. The younger boy calling out to his blue is what rouses him, lifting his arm off of his eyes and squinting first in the direction of Zach's call and then at the dripping girl. A dripping girl that is perilously close to his computer! He jerks, grabbing the precious machine and pulling it to his chest, "Watch it!" NO WATER NEAR THE COMPUTER!!!

Zaira does not look at all upset. Instead she moves a little to the right, away from the computer and its owner, before fishing a rubber band out of a little nook on the shore and pulling her hip length hair back behind her ears. A rotune brown firelizard comes out of *between* very close by, though not landing. Instead he watches the computer-hugging Candidate intently. "Sorry," Zaira says, shrugging shoulders. "I know about water and electronics, I just didn't see it sitting there. I'll stay out of range until I dry off. I don't use electric blow dryers…that's mixing water and electrics and just asking for trouble, so I always air dr.

Peony stops his splashing and zips over Zaira's and Velorn's head super close on his way over to Zachariah. That path draws attention to the pair so Zach heads that way. "Heya you two!"

Velorn gives Zaira a wary look before checking the laptop over for any sign of drips, "Clio, you were suppos-" He cuts off as he glances down at the abandoned, well chewed bone and frowns, sighing, "Aaaannd she's gone. Of course." One hand comes up to pinch the bridge of his nose and he sighs again, eyes closed as he silently counts to three. The machine is tenderly settled on the lounger as he drops his feet off either side and straddles the furniture, using one corner of the blanket to wipe off any stray water from the casing. An only slightly forced smile is directed at the girl and he waves the apology off, "Doesn't look like it took any damage," he'll only know for sure once he's actually turned it back on, though, "no harm done." He sits up a little more before slouching back against his hands. Zach's greeting has him shifting all of his weight to one hand to lift the other in a wave, "Oh. Hey, Zach." His forced smile turns into an impish smirk, complete with eyebrow waggle, "How's it hanging?"

Zaira nods ro Velorn. Apparently she already knows him at least by name and face. Zachariah gets a warm smile though, and a wave of the hand. "Zach! How's it going? Glad to be back home and not living in a tent any longer?"

"I am very glad indeed to be back in my own cot." he pauses. "Lumps and all." Zach gives Velorn a strange look. "How is….what hanging?" the eyebrow waggle gets a very confused look back.

After living together in the barracks for as long as they have, it would be more surprising if Zaira didn't know who Velorn was, at least by reputation. Zach's confusion earns a disappointed little sigh as blue eyes roll, "Just… How are things, kid?" Because, apparently, the younger boy has finally, officially, been labeled 'too young to get it'. SIGH. No one appreciates him!

Zaira does know Velorn's reputation from the Candidate's Grapevine and so she is alert, Rhapsody staying very close, his eyes an aroused butter yellow, but she seems to be giving Velorn a chance to prove his reputation right or wrong before passing final judgement on him. "We're getting really close to the Hatching," she comments. "I think that's why they called us back, it could be a sevenday or less, word is. Personally I find the prospect exciting beyond words."

"Probably why they let us come back……" Zachariah notes wryly cutting off his own words as she says the same thing. "Exciting to be happening soon. I've heard some of the riders placing bets on how close it is. To Velorn he simply shrugs. "Things are fine. I'm supposed to be working in the caverns but…" he gives a lopsided grin. For once he's skirting chores. Someone mark it on the calendar!

Zaira might just have to wait for confirmation about Velorn's reputation, distracted as he is by the utter disappointment in Zach rising to his bait. Heh. 'Rising.' He shrugs one shoulder, and leans his head over so that his ear is very nearly resting on cloth, "I'm just glad they did let us come back." There's a dramatic shudder, "I'd rather do chores and work my craft than have to do that again!" Camping. Eeeeeewwwwwwwww… He glances at Zaira and snorts, "I bet it'll be two sevens, at least, before anything happens." Zach gets a mock shocked look, "'Supposed to'? Zach, I'm stunned! You mean that you're actually shirking your chores?" He wipes away a non-existant tear, his voice dripping with sarcasm and amusement, "I'm so proud of you. My little boy is growing up."

Zaira flips a drying lock of hair over her shoulder. "Last I heard was yesterday and it was one or at most two sevendays so we may both be right." Velorn's statement brings a look of mild amusement to her face. "I'm on break from my chores…I'm supposed to be eating lunch and studying my lessons but I didn't feel like studying so I got some lunch, then went the back way out of the barracks. Feels kin of fun…doing what you're not supposed to be doing. I may pay at next exam but who cares? I'm tired of lessons and tests anyway.

You say, “You found it that bad?" Zach asks Vel with honest curiosity. A snort emerges as he sits down on the sands along side where Vel's chair is. "Haha. I'm shirking yes but no need to announce it!" a glance is cast over his shoulder in case someone in Charge happens to walk up just then. "Tired of tests?" how absurd!”

Zaira laughs lightly for Zachariah, Velorn slipping into the background for now. "It's like being at Harper Hall. You never reach the end. One lesson and then you have to go on and on and on. There's no end, no point of feeling you've accomplished something. Don't get me wrong, doing well on tests is good…but I like to know I've done something, like composing a song, that has an endpoint to it. It's over and I don't have to worry about it anymore." A brief moment of hesitation. "Like my father. Probably why he didn't make it after the accident. But this Hatching is different…for all the tests and lessons in the universe I feel I will meet my destiny on the Sands, be that what it may."

Zachariah shakes his head. "Tests aren't useless…." he stops himself before he goes on and on in defense of tests. He shrugs. "I've never been an apprentice anywhere so I dunno. But tests are a great way to know what you've learned. "Every hatching is different." he notes. "Even if you don't leave the Sands with someone you've still got harpering just like before."

Zaira nods. "Tests serve their purpose, to show your teachers you are progressing." One long delicate finger moves to stroke her hovering brown's flank. "I'd have to go back to the harpers and go through all of their tests to place me again, unless my journeyman writes an excellent recommendation for me. I tried to keep up with both Candidacy and my apprentice duties but it was burning me out, so I had to 'step away' from the Harpercraft and focus my energy here. There is so much to learn and so much to remember."

Zachariah frowns a touch. "You'd have to start over again? That hardly seems fair. What if you impress? After weyrling training can you keep training also with the harpers?"

Zaira considers. "Not exactly start back over from the beginning but it is a LOT of tests on all levels so they can see what your skill level is." For a moment she is silent, chin in hand. "If I Impress I should be allowed to go back to the Harpers with a minimum of tests to determine if I have gained or lost skill level. My journeyman would be able to do that kind of testing here, at the Weyr. I still keep in touch with him, eventhough I'm no longer formally taking lessons."

Velorn shudders and takes a while to respond to Zach's question, "Ugh. Yes." He makes a face, looking a lot like a certain normally scowling brownrider for a moment, "Too much nature. I'll stay at the Weyr, thank you very much!" The scowl quickly shifts into a smirk at that cautionary look around for authority figures, but he lets the subject drop. He grimaces at the mention of tests, "Don't remind me…" It's only moments before the grimace turns into a sly, almost wistful looking grin, "The rewards were worth it, though…" The tall blond leans back, keeping his feet planted on the ground, "Don't think about it too much. Either a hatchling will pick you or they won't. Nothing is guaranteed." He waves one hand before folding his arms behind his head, "There probably won't be a dragon out there for me, anyway. Not like it's my first hatching, you know…" He manages to sound only slightly bitter about that.

"You've stood before?" Zach asks of Vel. "Logically they say once you've been searched you'll impress. It just means your dragon hasn't hatched yet. Maybe a dainty little blue will be out there for you." he nods towards Zaira. "Have you learned anything about being on the Sands from that book you were reading?"

Zaira inclines her head in a slightly deferential manner to Velorn but focuses on Zach's question. "I've learned since that half that book was written as a joke for other riders, with only a few real truths in it. But I gleaned something about Hatchings from it. For one thing the Sands will be sharding hot, hotter than they are now. You need to keep plenty of space between you and other Candidates on the Sands so everyone has maneuvering room and avoid getting taken out by a hatchling with unsteady legs going somewhere else. You have to keep track of where you are and where everyone and everything else is at the same time. It sounds to me like a Gather dance but everyone's doing a different dance and NOBODY knows the rules. Total chaos, though the weyrling staff and healers are supposed to be there should there be a serious injury."

Velorn snorts, shaking his head, "Just because a dragon says you'd be good rider material doesn't mean that you'll impress." He shrugs, "But yeah, I've stood before. At Fort." There's a soft, wry chuckle, "Can't say that getting left on the sands was the worst thing to ever happened to me, though. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be a journeyman now." He pauses for a breath, his smile turning almost predatory, "Wouldn't have gotten the chance to know the hottest guy on Pern better, either." The suggestion that he might be chosen by a dainty blue gets another snort and he chuckles, "Or a nice strapping brown. Who knows?" His expression turns thoughtful, "Maybe a really huge blue, though? Dunno that I'm the kind of guy that should have a small dragon." He winces a little at the mention of injuries, "Lucky nothing like that happened at Fort."

"Aren't all dragons like….big?" Zach asks wryly. "Does color really matter?" he gives a nod or two at Zaira's advice for the hatching itself. "Sounds….kinda chaotic. Velorn's been on the Sands before. Maybe I'll stand near him."

Zaira shakes her head. "Color doesn't matter unless you're on what color a dragon will be from which egg or if you've made a wager on who will Impress what color. I'd take any dragon, really…though bronzes only Impress to boys. I'll probably wind up Standing on my own or near some very tall guys so I don't stand out too much. Wouldn't want to influence anything in any way."

"Yeah, but some are bigger than others." Velorn snickers, "And the really big ones make excellent…" He coughs, giving Zach a quick glance, "Well, they can keep other people from seeing you really well." The question of color, however… "Meh. Greens are okay, I guess, but I've never met a greenrider that I'd want to spend any real time around." He grins over at Zach and reaches out to try to pat his shoulder, "You're more than welcome to, kid." Stand with him, that is. Zaira's comment about tall guys gets another of those eyebrow waggles and a wink, "I'm tall, you know." His grin turns shark-like, "I'd be happy to… take you under my wing, beautiful."
And there he is. There's the reputation he's cultivated since he arrived: Irredeemable flirt.

You say, “How would you be able to influence anything? I'd bet each one of those babies in the eggs knows who they want. Cause they remember us touching their shell." he seems fairly confident about that. He completely misses the outrageous flirting. "I don't need to be under any wings. Just if we stand by each other that's two sets of eyes looking out for dangerous hatchlings. And would we change what we are like? Depending on what color we impress?" now he looks worried. "If I impressed Green then we couldn't be friends?"

Zaira doesn't miss the wink…she's an old hand at being flirted with, having been dealing with it since her days at Harper Hall. Her voice drops just slightly, as does the tone of her melodious alto voice. "I thank you for the offer Velorn," she says confidently, "But I am afraid I will have to decline, at least at the beginning, depending on where we end up on the Sands. I owe some pretty tall guys some…favors…after that mayhem on the Lonely Isle. Jahn would like me with his group, or so he said, and Jahn's at least your height if not a little taller. So another time, Velorn. I need to get changed and go back to work and back to studying. It has been a pleasure, Velorn and Zach!" She turns gracefully, almost voluptuously (totally oblivious to that last part) and meanders slowly towards the barracks, Rhapsody flying over her left shoulder.

Velorn just snorts again at the drop in tone and her previous obligation, waving her off with a grin, "Yeah, yeah. Go for the guy that actually likes girls. I see how it is." He shoots her a little irreverent two fingered salute as she leaves, sitting up and swinging both legs to the side of the lounge chair so that he can face the remaining candidate easier. He frowns a little at the younger boy's question, gathering his hair at the nape of his neck and twisting it into a knot that promptly falls back down around his shoulders, "I… I we'd still be friends." He waves one hand dismissively, "Seriously, though, I don't think you'll impress green." He gives the shorter boy a considering look, "You seem like more of a blue, or even bronzerider, to me." After all, the boy does seem to be immune to Vel's dubious charms.

Zachariah's brows furrow as his frowns a bit. "Bronzerider? You think a large bronze would impress to me?" he mulls that over thoughtfully. "Or a blue? What makes you guess those colors for me?" just then his little blue firelizard comes over to land in his lap. "Well this little blue firelizard found me. I bet that's a good sign then his larger cousin would find me." he glances up to Velorn. "Blue for you. If I'd have to guess. And for Zaira…green."

Velorn laughs, "Well, why not? Who says that bronzeriders have to be big tough guys that'll bone anything that moves? I know plenty that prefer to take it." He snorts, "Faranth, they don't even have to just like girls!" He shrugs, "I dunno." Probably just because they aren't green, if he's being honest, "Just seems like a good fit for you." He shrugs again, "What do I know, though. I thought for sure that Aranthi would end up on blue and she impressed green." He grins at the guess for him, eyes dancing gleefully, "So why do you think blue for me?"

Zachariah scritches the blue on his lap absently, his whole attention focused upon Velorn. He snorts once. "I've heard bronzeriders tend to have a certain…reputation. But I just don't see how being the rider of a certain color gives them that kinda rep." he shrugs. "Um…why blue? I dunno. Just a feeling I suppose." he climbs to his feet. "I'm starved. Enjoy your non chore time."

"A reputation that is well deserved, in some cases." Velorn's voice drops into something like a purr and he waggles his eyebrows, again, grinning, "And I like it!" Because he just really, really likes men. More than he should, if certain people are asked. He laughs brightly and nods, waggling a hand from side to side in front of him, "Fair enough!" He can't really come up with a better explanation for why he thinks the other boy would impress bronze or blue, after all! There's a nod when Zach rises and he settles back down properly on the chair, picking up his laptop to settle back in it's spot, "Don't get caught!" The computer is powered back up as he settles back in, to work, or whatever it was he was doing before he fell asleep earlier.

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