A Weyrbrat in the Making

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns

A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.

A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

It's lunch time at Xanadu! K'ael has managed to sneak in after most of his wingriders have eaten already and left. The bronzer doesn't skimp out on the… anything. His plate is piled high with sandwiches and tubers and meatrolls. He's a hungry guy! He sticks a bubbly pie on top and grabs a glass of juice to wash it all down with. Then he carefully makes his way over to an empty table, making sure his plate stays balanced so things don't accidentally fall to the floor. Once he's sat down, he digs in!

Tired and dusty, Rylavi shuffles her way into the cavern. She doesn't make eye contact with people and she doesn't stop to say hello, she just hunches her shoulder forward and elbows her way through the crowds to the serving table. A plate is soon filled with meat of several varieties, balanced alongside a bowl of a creamy tuber soup. Taking a skein of water between her teeth, she does an almost comical 'dance of not dropping' as she maneuvers through the herd of people. Finally, the skinny young blonde sees an empty space and takes advantage. It's a nice enough spot to sit in, but does leave her right across from this unfamiliar - and apparently hungry - bronzerider. She doesn't initiate conversation. Instead, she starts on the soup.

K'ael doesn't notice Rylavi at first, he's busy chowing down a sandwich at a rather alarming rate. Once he's done though, he reaches for his juice and realizes that someone is sitting with him. If Rylavi was hoping for a quiet meal, she sat down at the wrong table. He grins to her. "Hello there! Is the soup good today? I was going to get a bowl, but I couldn't juggle everything." He looks over at the serving tables. "Maybe I'll get some when the line dies down a little." He starts to much on a meat roll, then. "I'm K'ael by the way. Are you new here? Maybe not. I can't keep all you weyrbrats straight anymore."

For a moment, Rylavi just stares - dumbfounded - at the enthusiastic rider. Once she gathers her wits about her, however, she bristles at the insinuation. "Not weyrbred," she grumbles before taking another chunk of tuber from her bowl. " 'm Rylavi, apprentice beastcrafter." It's a reluctant introduction, but an introduction all the same. She may not have the sweetest temper in the world, but she's not brave enough to be truly rude. At least not to those who can punish. "Been here about a seven and a half."

K'ael smiles and nods to her. "Ah, holdbred, hm? Just like me!" The bronzer doesn't really seem to notice her attitude. Or just figures she's an angsty teen or something. Or that he's cramping her style, which he probably is. "Nice to meet you Rylabbi." Whether he's intentionally mispronounced her name or couldn't hear here isn't immediately apparent. "What's your specialty, runners? Ovines? I'm the wingleader of the search and rescue wing." He nods to her picking up sandwich number two. "Ooh, real new, then. Where'd you come from before? I was born up in Grayson hold, it's near Telgar."

His mangling of her name makes her wince, but Rylavi says nothing to him. She doesn't expect people to deem her important enough to even have a name, let along get it right. "Hey you will do," she mutters to herself a bit wryly, then takes a large bite of herdbeast and chews. "I'm just an apprentice, but most of my life's been spent with runners, and that's where most of my work is now, so that's probably where I'll end up, yeah." Tubers are mashed with her fork and then scooped up in bite sized amounts. "Grew up at Black Rock. My da handles herdbeast and gentling some of the wild runners that'd be useful." She stabs at her meat again. "That's probably how I ended up in the beastcraft, to be honest. Woman who knotted me came from Black Rock as well. Knew my da and how he liked to do business."

K'ael chuckles a bit to her. "Ah! Runners. I've never been a big fan myself, actually. Been thrown off a few times too many I guess. But my girlfriend likes them, and she's going to let my son ride her runner with a trainer, now that he's old enough to start getting the hang of it." He takes a second to chew down a bit more sandwich. "So not too far then. Have you met Amelia yet? She's one of the beastcrafters assigned here. I don't think she handles runners specifically, but I know she likes to ride."

"Amelia's the journeyman who knotted me." Rylavi's tone is matter of fact, but there's an edge of bitterness to it. "Dunno who'll be teaching me now, though. Word around the barn boys is she got snatched up by some dragon." The next stab into her meat is a little more forceful than is /strictly/ necessary. "Who's giving him lessons?" Topic change, ahoy!

K'ael grins and nods to Rylavi. "Ooh, really? Great, then you two have already met. That's terrific." He blinks then. "Snatched up by some dragon? Ooh, you must mean she was searched. Well, yes actually. I'm the rider that searched her." Cough. "We haven't found him a teacher yet. Probably won't go about that until I can transfer to Western. That's where my girlfriend and her runner are." He swallows down the rest of that sandwich. "So what about you? Interested in standing for the latest clutch?"

"Why don't they move here instead?" Rylavi seems puzzled. "Why are you the one that has to pack up and go?" Selfish child is selfish. But her eyes - that eerie feline-green color - narrow at his confession. "It's hard to be interested in something you don't know much about," she answers with a sidestep. "For all I know, if I say yes, I'll end up having to stand on my head til the eggs crack or be food if I don't measure up to the babies or something." Another bite of lunch is taken. "Tell me more about it and I can tell you whether or not I'm interested."

K'ael blinks at Rylavi, then laughs. "You mean my girlfriend and her runner? Well… that's a little difficult. Since she's the senior weyrwoman at Western and all. So she'd have to leave her job, which pays better and is more prestigious than my job, obviously." He grins to her, his own blue eyes meeting her green ones. Then he laughs. "Well, if you're interested in knowing about the hatching… All the candidates stand out on the sands usually in a few lines. Normally on their feet, unless they're knocked over by one of the rampant hatchlings trying to get to their rider. The dragons come out, and they make their impression and that's that. As long as you're aware of what's going on around you it's not too bad. And in the meantime, you get to be a candidate." There's no mention of whether that's good or bad, though.

Rylavi's eyes widen to almost double their normal size. "Oh." And then her face relaxes. "That makes sense then." While she listens to the explanation of the hatching, she continues to pick at the food on her plate, half eating and half listening. "What's Candidacy like, then? You got to practice dodging hungry dragon young?"

K'ael nods, poking a bit at the last sandwich on his plate. "Mm." He grins at her. "Well, I imagine it's much like being an apprentice. Lots of rules. You can't do this or that. And then the chores. Lots of chores. There's usually not much dragon dodging practicing. And when there is most of the candidates don't really take is seriously." He chuckles. "Or at least I didn't. It was silly, seeing riders running at you. But at the end it's all worth it. Even if you don't impress you end up meeting a lot of people."

Rylavi's expression turns thoughtful at this. She is, above all else, a cautious person. "It doesn't sound much different from what I do now, so long as there's time during the day to work with the runners." She takes a drink from her cup. "So I don't suppose it'd be too awful of a thing." She tilts her head to one side. "Met a former runner who said it had to do with a dragon's interest, but I've never seen a dragon give me a second look, let alone the time of day. So even if I did decide it was something I wanted, rather than something that wouldn't bother me, it's all an empty conversation, isn't it?" The question is phrased like she already knows - and expects - that he'll agree.

K'ael nods. "You generally have some free time, sure. And you can probably take your chores in with the runners. They're usually pretty accommodating to crafters. No sense in wasting your talent, you know?" The bronzer takes up his bubbly, picking at it a bit. "Well, if you're done there we can go out and meet Azaeth. Anyways, it doesn't have to be a dragon that searches someone. It's the rider that carries the knots." To prove his point, K'ael pulls one out of his pocket and shows it to Rylavi. "You've been on a dragon before, right?" In K'ael's eyes, why ride a runner when you could ride a dragon?

"Um, once, yeah." What little color there is in Rylavi's face seems to drain away at his question, as if worried he'll ask her to do it again. "When the ships sank near Black Rock." She was with the search party. And as she is, in fact, done with her lunch, Rylavi sees no way she can refuse him excusably. So, she stands and follows K'ael, very purposefully not looking at the knot he's holding up.

K'ael grins. "What color was it? The dragon I mean, that you rode out to search the ships?" Because there was a big difference between a green and a bronze that was nearly gold-sized. He finishes up what's left of the pie and then heads outside. Thankfully the knot is stuffed back into his pocket so Ry doesn't have to stare at it or not stare at it, as the case may be. Outside Azaeth is waiting for them more in the center of the clearing. The bronze dips his head down so he can look at Rylavi. "Well, this is Azaeth."

"Green." This much, Rylavi remembers vividly. "It was Amelia's mother's green." A mind for details, then. Following the rider outside, she stops dead at the sight of the hulking, dark bloody bronze. "Whoa," she breathes out, honestly surprised. "He's huge. I didn't think bronzes got this color." But then again, all the things she doesn't know about dragons could fill a library, so. "Well met, Azaeth." Apparently, they're intelligent - or so the stories say - so a polite greeting to someone who could easily swallow you whole isn't such a bad idea.

K'ael pats Azaeth's muzzle a bit and chuckles. "Well, it depends. there are a wide variety of bronze colors. He's rather dark colored with red. Some are lighter and more gold." Azaeth gives Rylavi a rumble, looking her over a bit. "He wants to know if you want to go for a ride. He says bronzes are better for riding than greens are anyways." K'ael chuckles a bit. He might be making it up, but there's no way really to tell. "We can go for a quick loop around the weyr if you'd like."

One of the young stableboys runs out to tug at Rylavi's sleeve and talk at a million miles an hour about one of the foals having gotten out or one of the mares having gotten in or something of that nature. With a much put-upon sigh, Rylavi lays a regretful hand on Azaeth's nose. "Please tell him I'm sorry, but I'm needed elsewhere." Relief at missing out another daredevil session of flying wars with the odd sense of loss at leaving this interesting dragon. For some reason even Rylavi doesn't understand, however, as she jogs past K'ael, she uses one of her own personal skills to pick the Candidate's knot from his pocket. Who says thieves aren't useful? And this way, she'll get more time up close and personal to try and figure these big, strange creatures out.

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