Poorly Made for Politics

Xanadu Weyr - Candidate and Weyrling Barracks
Xanadu's barracks are a massive, L-shaped amalgamation of caverns and construction, squared on one end, rough-hewn and oblong on the other, with weyrlings and candidates separated from one another by a large communal area. Wood and stone floors meet in a clever spiral pattern that interlaces and spreads, creating harmony in a space meant for completion of chores, classes, and storage of both dragon supplies and bedding for humans. A singular wooden door leads into an office for the weyrlingstaff.

Windows stretch the length of the candidate barracks, a long, low-ceilinged room that opens off the training grounds. One wall is slightly curved, set against the outer wall of the hatching arena, with a locked door closing off a tunnel that leads onto the sands. Cots are set in two rows along the length of the room, each with its own small press at the foot for personal belongings. It's always warm here when there are eggs on the sands; candidates seldom need more than a light blanket, but a diminutive hearth is available for the warming of beverages or the occasional firelizard-surprise.

The weyrling half of the barracks have been burrowed back into stone. Close and dark when shutters to the outside world are drawn, the ample paths between dragon couches have been lit with dim strips of light. Smaller couches are obviously intended for the very young weyrlings, while the largest ones at the back are for those close to graduation. A second small hearth abuts a massive cavern opening that slopes gently down to the training grounds outside.

Dismay. It's a common expression on Andy's pretty face over the past several weeks, no, months, with Qilaeth being Qilaeth and the dual challenges that are coming with being trained as a pair. It lingered about her features after that first haircut; it sat firmly in the look of disappointment that overcame her after her first fitness evaluation (weight lifting is not her forte); it clouds her now as she exits the latest of their etiquette-related classes, moving to the side to let Enza pass so that she ends up falling into step near Y'riel. "I can't even remember the order of the steps on paper, " she bemoans quietly. "No one said there would be dancing involved." (There are, surely, some weyrlings who will pass this part with flying colors, but the resident klutz is not one of them~)

Can dismay be an emotion to bring them together? Dismay has been high up on the list of experiences for Y’riel too, with frustration and exhaustion hot on its heels, but to name a few. There have been struggles, namely the too-tightly overlapped bond he shares with Bhalahhaith; it’s only now begun to ease, but new trials rear up. Getting the brown to cooperate? Still a fresh and raw wound. As raw as the commentary received and bickered back and forth, as Y’riel underwent the same with mixed results. Haircut was tolerated, fitness evaluation went as expected (Bhal would disagree, of course), etiquette … ah, now there’s a hurdle not expected! Bhalahhaith wants to know all the reasoning for it, while Y’riel could care less. His withdrawn expression and behaviour thus far is partly for being lost in his (and perhaps theirs) thoughts. It’s half that reason that Andy startles him, even if bemoaning their fate quietly. “I’m not even sure why it matters. How often do you think we’ll be dancing?” he agrees, with some sympathy. The subtle wince probably isn’t for any knowledge on her status, but for the running mouth taking up mental space.

One might wonder whose genes in particular are to blame for the neverending commentary that both of these particular weyrlings are having to learn to live with; Andy makes a face, although whether that's for pondering the potential frequency of dances or the volume of what's being pushed through her own head while Qilaeth all but appears in the doorway (having walked, no doubt, perhaps from whatever distant point has been deemed an acceptable and accessible midden). "Who even pays attention to how others are dancing at gathers, anyway?" the baker replies in like fashion. "I've never done any of the formal sets like that. I have a hard time seeing someone judging a, " relative nobody, "rider like me on how well I can do a quad-whatever. It's not like I'll ever be a lady holder, or a weyrwoman." A tendril of interest might be palpable from the blue who paces easily from the door toward the food stations, which may as well be from his rumbling hunger as from his eavesdropping, however his gaze might be trained away from his partner.

If Y’riel had a say? He’d put blame squarely fifty-fifty between genes from dam and sire. Bhalahhaith does not appear in the doorway, leaving that glory all to Qilaeth; but only fools would assume the brown isn’t lurking somewhere close by, with feigned indifference. It’s a wonder he’s moved at all, from where Y’riel undoubtedly left him in exasperation from their last confrontation talk. His expression becomes pinched, “It’s probably because we could be dancing WITH a lady holder or a weyrwoman…” Y’riel amends, furthered by a heavy sigh. “I think I’m more upset that we’re going to be tested on it.” Kind of. He shakes his head, glancing sidelong at Andy with some clarity. “You’d think we’d focus more on, I dunno… table manners? Polite conversation? What to do if stuck-up Holder from backwater no-where is trapping you passive aggressively?” Wait. Y’riel pauses and frowns, muttering a playback under his breath and then blows out his cheeks. “Bhal’s got a point.”

Andy's dubious nose-wrinkle might well reveal how much she doubts that she will be a likely target of dance partner for such a personage. She tries for wryness, but her, "Can they — I don't know, kick us out or something if we don't pass the practical part?" only comes out a little smaller before a nervous laugh. "It's not like choosing the wrong fork for your — " It might not be the first time that one of their interlopers lifemates has neatly stepped into a conversation, but the other weyrling's eyebrows still climb for the interjection. "In a dance?" Yes, she's still stuck on that part of their education. "I'm pretty sure I could step on his toes without trying too hard, " is her brightly offered solution, "and then I'm sure he'd want to find someone else to uh, trap, right? Maybe?" A born politician, this one~ "What does he think you should do?"

“Shards, I hope they don’t take it serious enough to actually… hold us back for it?” Y’riel seems confident enough that they won’t get the boot, his expression souring. “I’m going to be held back enough as it is…” The attempt is made to huff that quietly for Andy to hear. Of course, judging by the not-subtle snort from wherever Bhalahhaith is –not eavesdropping– resting? He heard that and is telling Y’riel right now just why— She’ll forgive him, right, if he doesn’t catch every piece of conversation? Or that he gets a little confused. “Step on his toes? Why – oh! I mean, yeah. Or you can do,” Something violent. He ignores those references, with a too forced half-smile. “Probably better not to repeat it. I dunno about you but I don’t think I’m going to aim for politics at all – we can avoid most of it once we’re riders, right?” RIGHT?

"You and me both, " sighs Andy, who has to try hard at the studying, the exercises, the requirement of coordination long before they're to even consider learning to ride with their partners. Perhaps she's grown accustomed to the ins-and-outs of still sharing a conversation with someone else's dragon some months in, even if Qilaeth has started to (outwardly!) do more watching than talking where others are concerned. "He's got plenty of insults in mind, too, " she shares with a pointed sideways glance to where her not-best-friend is eyeing the food station as if contemplating helping himself. "Right on, " she says with marked relief for avoiding politics. "There are plenty of politicians out there already, aren't there?" More optimistically, "And we didn't end up on a queen or a bronze, so what are the chances we'll have to deal with all of it?" Hopefully not famous last words.

Qilaeth might not be entirely alone for long! Not that Bhalahhaith has moved so much as a talon. His focus, however? Is drifting, indifferently for now, towards the blue. It gives some reprieve for Y’riel, who almost visibly sags from the lifted weight of so much dual focus. “Maybe we can convince them to exchange between themselves?” He wants a break! Surely there will be no regrets from that… right? Right? “Exactly,” Y’riel readily agrees with that logic, no matter that some part of him nags that it’s never that easy.

"Tell me about it, " Andy groans sympathetically. Sotto voce, "Sometimes I swear I can hardly hear myself think, " as all of his siblings no doubt witnessed to great extent during the first seven before babies began to learn about barriers and inside voices. "I should go get him fed, but if you, you know, want to study some of this stuff together sometime, we might have a chance of getting something done if they, " and her hand waves rather uncertainly between Qilaeth and the room at large, "talk." RIP, should blue and brown find that common ground!

Y'riel gives a partially sympathetic, mostly understanding, smirk towards Andy while he scrubs a hand along his forehead. He's likely desiring nothing more than falling face first into his cot; but he's very cautious not to let that hope bleed too far. "Yeah, sure, Andy. Couldn't hurt, right?" Famous last words. "We'll figure something out." Whether that means when or, more importantly, HOW, given their dragons. RIP all of them, if common ground is found! For however short or long~ "I'll leave you to it." She can go take care of Qilaeth's needs, while he'll beg check in with Bhalahhaith; if he can't hope, maybe some light bartering will get him at least a few minutes to power down before they're all dragged to the next thing on the day's schedule.

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