Bonfire and Storytelling

Xanadu Weyr - Clearing

A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

A run of several mild days could not have come at a better time. With candidates flooding in, one clutch hatching, and all the strains resulting from the trader ships everyone could use some time to relax. To that end the clearing has been tidied up somewhat, and off to one side a ring of logs provide seating around what will likely soon be a large bonfire. For the moment it is simply a large pile of wood with two men frantically blowing at one side in an attempt to get things lit. Supervising, as is her usual place, is Hisolda.

It's definitely been an exciting few sevendays, that's for sure. A small cluster of people emerge from the caverns, voices carrying even if words do not, chatter and laughter as they all walk together. Eventually the group breaks up, a pair, a trio, a couple singlets all heading off in different directions, leaving a pair of women to meander along towards the bonfire setup. Ashkeia's shaking her head at the slightly older but shorter woman who boasts only a resident's knot upon her shoulder. "I'm pretty sure the baby is technically supposed to come after the marriage, Nene," the Holdbred apprentice-turned-Candidate says, making the other dissolve into peels of giggles. Rolling her eyes, "Good day, Headwoman," the taller woman greets politely as she waits for her friend to regain her composure.

Hisolda glances away from the stubborn bonfire, though there is a definite flame beginning on one side. Ashkeia's companion is the recipient of one of the Headwoman's unimpressed looks, though it's the former glasscrafter herself that's addressed, "Candidate." The other simply gets a nod of acknowledgement before Hisolda continues, "I'm afriad we'll be a little longer before we can do anything, but there should be some food being brought out soon if you're hungry? If not then feel free to grab a sea… a log. I can't call them seats even if they have been flattened." At this last she smiles, just for a moment.

As her giggles abate Nene bobs her head at Hisolda, unperturbed and waiting for a pause before turning to Ashkeia to joke, "Well, if I'm to get things in the right order, I'd best not be late." The Candidate snickers, bending to return the other woman's hug before she bustles off. Returning her attention to the Headwoman, Ash grins a little crookedly. "At least they have been flattened? Much better than getting poked with the remains of broken off branches when you try to sit down. Is there anything I could maybe help with until things get going?"

Hisolda glances back at the men near the fire, who have moved on to debating whether it might be prudent to 'borrow' the bellows from the forge to get things moving quicker, then back to Ashkeia, "Unless you know how to get a fire from what we have to something slightly more impressive then I think we're fine for now. Though I am interested in how things are going for you all now? I haven't heard of any problems, other than Polruan's chronic laziness, but these things rarely get aired to the people who can actually fix them."

The weather is mild, and a bonfire has been built off to one side, ringed round with logs turned into rough benches. A couple men are trying to actually get the thing lit properly, unsatisfied with the slow build of flames that have caught in the wood on one side of the pile. It's not impressive enough yet!

Ashkeia, a little ways distant is standing near Hisolda, the Headwoman having a good vantage from which to oversee the proceedings. Shaking her head, "I'm afraid not. At least, not any safe way. Throwing a small keg on it might be fun for the boys — " nodding her head at the pair still devising a plan to raid the forge, " — but might also result in a trip to the infirmary." She shrugs, then, "Ah, fine as far as I'm aware? Most everyone seems to get along okay so far. At least, there's been no arguments or anything that I've overheard."

Hisolda nods once, casting another glance at the men at the fire, "Well we'll just have to hope it doesn't come to that, if nothing else we'd have the staff of the tavern chasing us down for a start." One of the men wanders off, the other reamining near the bonfire and feeding the flames that do exist another small branch. To Ashkeia Hisolda nods, "That's good to hear. Sometimes it can be a bit difficult with one clutch hatched and the other still fairly far off, people get disheartened and tense."

Amelia has been working on craft business in the stables straight through dinner and she's on her way to fetch a meal and retreat to early sleep. The fire, however, catches her attention despite it not yet roaring as its potential says it may. She stands still for nearly a full minute, watching the flames from a distance before her eyes move to take in the crowd and she meanders closer. The crafter-candidate smiles warmly to those gathered and asks openly, "What's this all about?"

e-on is busy for now, not wandering; bringing proper dry wood kindling to assist the spread of the blaze would, it seem, be on an apprentice's duties, or perhaps it's voluntary. Relion comes along with a bag of dry wood pieces to supply the man coaxing the fire larger, and stays around to watch, brushing some light colored wood splinters from his pants, and turning his head to look over to the crowd, taking them in as well.

It's a little known fact that K'ael loves bonfires. He's on his way back from a dip in the baths after a long day of work and then exercise afterwards. Spotting the bonfire the bronzer makes a B-line. He shoos away some of the boys around the fire and cracks his knuckles before he starts helping them get the fire roaring. Though it seems like Relion has mostly taken care of it. He also sends one off to the kitchens for some tubers and maybe some meat to get a roast going for fingerfood. There was a crowd gathering! Food was necessary! He gives a wave to those gathered. "Hey, all"

Ashkeia laughs, nodding at Hisolda, "Even if we just nicked the dregs? It's not like they sell it… at least, I sure hope they don't sell it." She makes a face, disgusted just at the thought. Shifting her weight a little, she folds her arms across her stomach. "Disheartened?" Genuinely puzzled. "I'm kind of glad there's still so much time left. More chance to get things square in your own head, no matter which way things fall, you know? But it might be easier, since returning to the Craft means there's somewhat less uncertainty for me…." Glancing around a little, she hums softly, thoughtfully to herself, until her attention is caught by the arrival of peers. "Hey there Relion, Amelia." And a K'ael! Lifting her hand to wave, "Hey, stranger."

Freed from the sands, finally Thea has more time come evening to spend with her family, although thanks to G'ene, the Weyrsecond is much busier with the extra sweeps the Weyrleader has ordered. And so it is that she enters the clearing alone with a toddler on each hip and a folded blanket clamped under one arm. All are dressed warmly in furred coats, boots and gloves since winter has yet to depart. She pauses to greet a Candidate here and there, a respectful nod to the Headwoman and a warm smile to go with it before she begins juggling babies and blanket to get situated on the cold ground.

"Ah but the dregs would hardly help much in getting the fire going as they want it." Hisolda glances over again and sees Relion bringing more supplies. "Ah,. well hopefully this will help." K'ael's sending to the kitchen hurries up the spread already planned, a few things being brought out to feed those already assembled. "Disheartened." is repeated with a nod, "Not all are as sensible." K'ael receives a nod of recognition before she excuses herself a little, "Pardon me a second, I need to see to a few things."

After returning Ashkeia's greeting, Amelia's gaze returns to the bonfire, but her intent fire-staring is disrupted when K'ael pops in to help Relion with stoking and collecting food. She has to laugh, though, for K'ael's antics are endearing. "Right idea there, K'ael… I might just eat more than my share of finger food if it's sitting there available." Still grinning from a chuckle, Amie nods to the arriving Thea and children, squinting a little to ascertain if they are the same toddlers she's met previously.

Relion nods politely to K'ael, appreciative of his assistance, as well. Lighting fires is not particularly his area of expertise; just the fuel itself, really. He stays near the fireside, waiting to see if more is needed to get things going properly, thouhg Ashkeia's welcome gets a blinking, blue-eyed distracted look and a smile and brief, immediate wave of one hand in her direction. He'd been focused on the task of the fire, to the temporary exclusion of noticing the others right away.

K'ael grins to Ashkeia. "Hey there, kiddo. I heard you got searched. Congrats." He winks to her and heads over to wrap an arm around her shoulders and give her a squeeze. Hisolda gets a wave from the wingleader. "Hello there. Heading off already?" Then there's a nod to Ame. "I know I'm going to eat more than my share. So if you guys want anything to eat we better get a little more. There's a wave to Thea. "So you two ladies want to introduce me to your other candidate friend?" He motions to Relion. If not, he'd introduce himself of course.

Ashkeia tilts her head, gaze returning to Hisolda for a moment, "Huh. I thought the dregs were supposed to be stronger." Shrugging, she gives a quick nod, "Yes of course." Looking around then to see where she might make herself useful, she starts towards where the food is being set up. Though pauses at the sight of the toddler-juggling Thea. "Weyrwoman," with the proper incline of her head also serving to indicate the blanket. "Want me to help spread that? You look rather short on hands at the moment." Realising also, that Amelia's question went unanswered, "I heard a rumour of some sort of storytelling happening. Although I'm not sure if there's actually going to be a Harper or two, or if we're the ones expected to tell the stories." Leaning into K'ael's one armed hug, she gives his waist a squeeze in turn, "Thanks. Yeah; I tried to find you but you're never home anymore!" At least, not when she goes looking. She gives a little gesture to Amelia — does she want to take care of introductions?

Thea manages to set Muir and Marella down and attempts to flip that blanket open swiftly while keeping the both of the nearly three turn old tots in her peripheral vision. It's a learned skill, done out of necessity, as Muir soon demonstrates. For not sooner do his little booted feet hit the ground than he is making tracks for that blaze. Dropping tehe blanket, the junior's hand reaches and she snags a three-fingered grip on the boy's hood. "Oh, no you don't! Hot! Ouch!" She's got her hands full, so isn't going to be much help to anyone tonight, unfortunately. But she can keep the little ones from getting underfoot and away from that fire. "Heya K'ael!" Her hands are full, so she lifts her chin in a sort of wave to the bronzer, twinkles a grin at Amelia, calling, "How's Huck doing?" before rather breathlessly answering Ashkeia with a grateful, "Please?" The blanket is surrendered to the Candidate with relief.

"This is K'ael, basically one great guy who's leaving us far too soon," Amelia starts the introduction, grinning as she includes the tease, "And K'ael, this is Relion, from, er, Fort, was it?" Brows furrow as she pulls up the memory of his arrival in the barracks. "Woodcrafter. Hence being so good helping with the fire." Introductions done, Amie can chuckle as Muir tries to run off from Thea. "Huck's doing well- looks like a big shaggy dog right now he's so fuzzy. They should come visit him sometime. Or I can walk him out to visit them, if you'd prefer."

Relion moves aside a step, physically into the way of the child actually making it to the blaze, should he wriggle free of a grasp; a backup, really, but he can't help but grin at the eagerness in the child's expression. "Good to meet you," Relion says to K'ael, with a quiet, low, even tone, clearly polite— or perhaps offbalanced, by the bronzer. "Most recently Fort," Relion agrees. "Though I wouldn't say it takes much craft knowledge to carry or arrange dry wood," he grins to Amelia, slightly embarrassed, wiping imaginary wood dust off his hands again.

K'ael chuckles a bit to Ashkeia. "Yeah… sorry. My girlfriend lives at Western. She's been keeping me pretty busy." He grins. "She's about five months pregnant or so." At the fleeing of a toddler, the bronzer makes a grab for him as well. "Whoa there buddy! We don't want to be cookin' you for a snack." He laughs a bit at Amelia's introduction of him. "Well met, Relion. Welcome to Xanadu." He extends a hand to him. "Always glad to have some new faces for the clutch. And a woodcrafter as well, that's exciting. Like Ame said, I'm K'ael. Azaeth's rider."

Ashkeia grins as she steps over to assist Thea, reaching to accept the blanket and shake it out. "They almost need leads at this age, don't they?" she notes, voice full of humour. Giving the blanket a flip so that it spreads out in the air, she bends her knees to guide it down to the ground. The far corners manage to fold themselves under again and a large wrinkle has formed kitty-corner, and she moves to correct the issues. "Leaving us?" she looks up, startled as she overhears Amelia. "K'ael…?" Did she hear that right? "Oh! Congratulations." Assuming that the unborn must be his. Glancing towards Relion then, "At least you know what kind of wood to provide at which stage? The only helpful suggestion I had was to throw booze on the thing." Thing being the bonfire, hopefully obviously.

Relion accepts the handshake immediately with a more sincere, less embarrassed expression. There's no overbalanced grip to prove himself or his strength; just a wide and rough palm from the heavy work of the lumber mill, perhaps on the more reserved side of a handshake, really. "Thanks. I haven't really -seen- much of Xanadu yet, there's always something to keep us busy with," Relion says, but not in a negative way; he likes being busy! At the note of his pregnant girlfriend, heavy red brows raise a bit and he echoes Ashkeia, "Congratulations." And a mock-horror look at Ashkeia. "Helpful? Blasphemy; or are the drinks so terrible here?" he asks, alarmed.

Thea notes Relion's move with a grateful smile, but as he's engaged in conversation she says nothing; she'll thank him later. Thankfully Muir doesn't quite make it to K'ael and the fire, but the junior includes him in her smile as well. To Amelia, Thea nods with a promise, "We will!" Chuckling at Ashkeia's comment, she concurs, "Absolutely they do! But when I mentioned some sort of harness, their da said, and I quote, 'They ain't dogs!'" Her light laughter follows as she drops to sit crosslegged on that blanket and hauls the pair into her lap keeping an arm around the squirming younguns.

After the headwoman departs, kitchen workers arrive with a few tables, others carrying pots of some creamy hot, sweet and spiced concoction to drink, finger foods such as the ever-present meatrolls and bubbly pies, bowls of different sorts of marinated wherry and herdbeast, raw for the roasting, tuber chunks and fingerroots and other vegetables as well as a heap of long-handled roasting forks. All are set up in an easy serve-yourself style along with plates, napkins and mugs. When the coals are right for it, and K'ael will know when, they can make shish-ke-bob style meals.

Amelia nods to Thea's promise of a visit with Huck for the toddlers, the nod shifting into a laugh over harnesses for children. "Some of them could sure use it though!" The arrival of food fully distracts Amelia and her hungry stomach rumbles, reminding her that she'd intended to get food and go to sleep. She's among the first to take advantage once the tables are set up, piling a plate of ready-to-eat foods and then eating while she awaits the cooking of meats.

K'ael blinks at Ashkeia, then nods a bit. "Enka is pregnant. I'm hoping to move out there soon, maybe before the baby is born and all. We're gonna be weyrmates and all." That's right, K'ael said the dreaded w-word! He nods to Ash. "Ah, thanks, heh. We're pretty excited and all. A new little one running around. Anyways, you just let me know next time you want want to stop by and I'll be sure to be there." The bronzer grins a bit. Then nods to Relion. "Plenty of time to see the weyr. I'm sure they've got some activities planned for you crazy candidates. If not I'm sure you can get one of these lovely ladies to show you the ropes. Right Ash?" K'ael also grabs a skewer for himself, loading it up.

Ashkeia, in her own defense, tells Relion with a laugh, "Only the dregs! I can't see there being any other use for the nasty sludge you get at the bottom of kegs. Stripping paint off walls, maybe?" She pats down the last corner of Thea's blanket, wiggles her fingers in a little wave for the kidlets if either happens to be looking, and pushes back to stand again with a small 'oof.' "No, that they aren't — most dogs would already know how to 'sit' and 'stay!'" she says with a cheerful wink for Thea. Adding, with a little bit of wistful fondness, "My youngest sister was just a mite older when I left to go the Hall. She could have used a lead, too… still could, according to Ma's letters. Want me to fetch something for you and the little ones?" she asks, as the setting up of the food tables draws her attention with much the same magnetic quality as it does others. "Wow… they really know how to have a bonfire, here. Hey, is that so, K'ael? Well, congratulations again! Are you gonna be taking Riff and Raff with you when you go?"

"Oh, more than enough time, I expect, though I wouldn't want to /inconvienence/ one of the lovely ladies," Relion agrees amiably. "Activities? I hope not," Relion grins, but it's a joke, clearly, by his expression. "Although I hope for a touching soon," he adds, mildly, in a distant way, head tilting slightly, eyes moving to watch the children in Thea's care thoughtfully. He comes back from his thoughts quickly enough, though, to add to Ashkeia, "Well, I /suppose/ that's all right," he smiles, to her 'waste' of the dregs.

K'ael nods a bit to Ashkeia. "Yep, taking the two rascals with me. And Milo. Actually he's already at Western now. Trying to get him accustomed to being there, so the move won't be so rough on him. Enka is looking forward to the kitties. And yes, I know, no betweening with them." He pokes at Amelia a bit. Then he laughs. "The dregs are the best part! Well, the ones in the end of a bottle if no one has been drinking out of it. If someone has it's mostly backwash." There's a pleasant image for you. "I'm sure Kilaueth will let you on the sands for s touching soon. She's a bit grumpy, but she ought to be used to clutches by now."

"Oh would you, Ashkeia? Thanks! Just a plate with the meatrolls and bubblies, if you would. I can hold it and the twins can forage." Maybe it's a good thing their da isn't here to hear that applied to them as if they're herdbeasts too. For the moment, both twins are mesmerized by the fire, though it's growing and warming the area nicely, so Thea busies herself pulling off hoods and undoing the fasteners of their coats, generally making them comfortable as the conversation flows around her.

Ashkeia snorts, not the most lady-like of sounds, putting her hands on her hips as she pulls a face at Relion. "Oh yeah, it'd be a /huge/ inconvenience, I'm sure," she teases dryly of showing him around the Weyr. More seriously, as her expression turns thoughtful, "I wonder if they'd let us make a day of it? A whole bunch of us could go on a wander, maybe pack up a picnic or something — once the weather gets a bit warmer, that is." Brows up she looks to see if this sounds like a good idea to anyone other than herself. "Meatrolls and bubblies, coming up," Ash nods to Thea and starts purposefully for the food tables. On the way, she calls back to K'ael, "That's disgusting. Really disgusting." The thought of backwash. Yum! Not. "You have to at least let me come 'round to say goodbye to the furballs before you send them off. Are the poor things going to be travelling by boat, then?" Since they're apparently not allowed :between:.

Relion grins bashfully to K'ael briefly, "Well, I can wait. Just one of those dreams you grow up with, particularly since I didn't grow up in a weyr; getting to touch one of the eggs is honor enough, even if…" He pauses, and lifts his heavy shoulders in an expressive shrug. Even if that's all there is. "Maybe if you rush through your chores?" He teases Ashkeia, "Then you can have the priviledge," he says, in a teasingly egotistical way that is, of course, entirely false, just a mimicry of her tone, playing. As Ashkeia heads off to gather food for Thea, he asks of K'ael, "Do you kow how many cluthes she's had before?" of the older male. "Even if it's been a lot, it seems natural to still be protective of people poking around at her eggs."

K'ael shrugs a bit. "Or if you guys like I can take you dragon-back around the weyr. Get a nice view of everything from above, one day when the weather is nice and all. It'll be easier for me to get you guys off of chores and all." He still has a little sway, and if he got into trouble… who cares! He'd be at western soon enough. "Traveling by boat, yep." He snickers about the dreg mention. "What? It's no worse than a slightly longer than normal make out session or something." There's a blink to Relion. "Uh, well… Niva impressed young, I think Kilaueth is about as old as I am. Figuring at least one clutch every couple of years… at least fifteen clutches. Probably closer to twenty, if I had to guess. Niva's been senior weyrwoman for… a long long time." He laughs. "Don't tell her I said that or she'll be after me. But touchings are good for the eggs and all. I mean, the candidates need to be policed. Though it's not a good idea to get out of line on the sands. Unless you'd like to be gobbled up."

"Definitely no Between for the kitties. The domesticated one's systems tend to be too delicate for the shock," Amelia interjects as she returns from collecting her plateful of food. She grins a little at Ashkeia and K'ael. "Anyway boat travel isn't so bad for them, they'll make sure there aren't any rodents aboard, that's for sure." Then she shrugs a little and listens to the egg conversation with some curiousity. "Why is it that touching is good for the eggs?"

"There are a few places we could arrange for you to visit on your restdays," Thea speaks up to join the conversation now that her attention is not taken by situating the twins. "Hisolda and I were talking about an overnight up to the Yokohama," she says with a glance swept towards the Candidates to see their reaction. She overhears K'ael's comments about Niva and just shakes her head with a grin, muttering to herself, "Unless you want fireworks, then tell her."

Ashkeia's laugh is delighted as Relion easily goes with the verbal game, straight from the belly as her head tips back. "Oh la, my little heart is all a'flutter! I'll have to do some creative swapping, now." Grinning broadly, she sets about loading up a plate that will hopefully appeal, selecting bubblies that look especially stuffed full and juicy, tucking the meatrolls in amongst them carefully to take maximum advantage of space. There'll be plenty to forage from! Her head is tilted as she keeps listening in on K'ael and Relion's conversation, her shoulders hunching suddenly as she grimaces. "Azaeth doesn't wobble, does he?" she asks, voice taking on an oddly plaintive note. Plate full, she tracks back to Thea and the tots to present it. "Who are you suggesting will do the gobbling? Kilaueth or Niva?" she quips lightly, and perhaps unwisely, though her words are meant in good fun. "To the… /Really/?" That would be for Thea, yep.

"I'd be glad to accept that aerial view." A distracted stare towards Thea at HER suggestion, though, "Well…. /really/?" Relion says, certainly perking up at that, surprised as Ashkeia, it seems about that type of idea. "At least, when it's not quite so cold, of course," he clarifies, with a half-smile curling one side of his lips easily. "Some of the candidates aren't used to Fort's bleak weather like I am," he says, with a chuckle. But the words about Kilaueth's clutches draw his attention again. He blinks in surprise at Kilaueth's tally. "Wow," he says simply. "I won't tell her, heh," Relion adds, with a conspiratorial nod. "…What on earth would you need to police? …well. It just doesn't seem like a place that inspires acting out, to me," Relion says, evidently taking it seriously, as if the idea of young wild Candidates needing policing on the sands rubbed him the wrong way.

Perhaps she's a little late to the party, but Quila has arrived nonetheless, drawn inevitably by the promise of food and good company. The former takes precedence, her path taking her from the direction of the candidate barracks straight to the tables, where she'll grab a couple of finger foods - with a shining smile for the young man who she slips in front of, something of an apology and/or distraction for cutting - and then she twists to survey those gathered. Her eyes fall on familiar faces and she goes sidle herself in alongside Relion, nodding with his last point as though she had been a part of the conversation all along. No qualm at all about throwing herself into the mix.

K'ael chuckles to Ame. "Yes yes, dear. I'll make sure they get to Western safe and sound without a between. Don't worry." K'ael was too attached to his little pair to let something happen to them anyways. "They'll probably like that, actually." He ponders about the eggs. "Well, it's new feelings for them. It prepares them for the… extravagance that will be their birth and all. Helps them figure out who they're meant to be with. It's like talking to baby in the womb and all." He chuckles to Thea. "If I want fireworks, I'll just ask Dels to make me some." K'ael raises a brow to Ash. "Wobble? Only on the ground. He's much too heavy and stable to wobble in the air." He taps his chin. "Well, if Kilaueth doesn't get to you, I'm sure Niva will. Have you ever seen her angry? Her face gets beat red and it swells up like a loud redfruit." He grins to Relion. "Not all the candidates are as well-behaved. Especially the weyrbrats. They're troublemakers, trust me. I'm about to be weyrmated to one." He winks, then gives a wave to the latest addition to their little group. "Another candidate! Who will do my introduction?"

"Oh, her face doesn't look /that/ red," Amelia snorts at K'ael's description of Niva's fireworks. "More like the anger emanates away from her body. Like a glow." She gives another half-snort, half-chuckle, remembering when she'd seen the weyrwoman angry. Then with a shrug, she attends to the full plate of food she'd gone off to fetch, munching on a meatroll hungrily. Her gaze turns toward the fire, fascinated and drawn in by the orange haze. With her free hand she undoes the front buttons on her winter coat to make up for the extra heat the bonfire provides. Quila's arrival is noted with a smile, but her mouth is far too full to be the one introducing this time and hazel eyes glance to the other candidates to provide.

"Those would be safer, K'ael," Thea quips to the bronzerider about D'son's fireworks as she accepts that plate from Ashkeia with a murmured thanks, but she denies that weyrbrats are troublemakers while her arms tighten slightly about the tots in her lap, "Not ALL of them are. N'shen isn't and these two had better not be!" But she's smiling in good humor as she answers both Ashkeia and Relion with a firm nod. "Certainly. Why not? It would be educational as well as fun, don't you think?" There's mischief-laced in the look she awards them. "They can turn the gravity off in the cargo bay." She'll let them put two and two together as to what that means. Instead, she lifts her voice to be heard by those further away, "When you all have your food, we'll begin the story-telling." Meanwhile the twins aren't shy about reaching for the food on the plate she's holding for them and she becomes quite busy with them, catching spills and dabbing with her napkin to keep them relatively mess-free.

Ashkeia wrinkles her nose, a shudder making her roll her shoulders again at the continued talk of boats. Clearly not one of her favourite subjects. "Fort, Lemos, here…. Cold is /cold/ no matter the degree," she insists towards Relion, though laughingly so. Choosing a spot that allows her to be at the midpoint between the group near K'ael and Thea and her children, she's apparently appointed herself an extra set of eyes in case one of the kidlets takes it into their head to dash off again. "Can they really aware of anything going on outside the shell?" she asks the bronzerider curiously. "And how does having people touch the eggs help? What does it actually do?" The doubtful quirk of her brows remains firmly in place for the assurance that Azaeth doesn't wobble at all while flying, though she keeps her doubts behind her teeth, even if they are broadcast on her face. "Next thing, we'll have him believing she actually breathes fire, too," she quips with a wink on the continued topic of Niva's temper. It's not until K'ael speaks up at the actually notices Quila, the quiet Candidate's appearance seemingly out of nowhere from her perspective, with the amount her attention keeps shifting about. "K'ael, meet Quila. Quila, this's K'ael, bronze Azaeth's pet— I mean, rider." With an innocent grin for the rider in question. Another, somewhat more excited, "Really?!" meets Thea's further words on the proposed field trip. "Please say you're not just teasing. That would be amazing!"

"Hi, Quila," Relion says cheerfully to the dark haired arrival next to him, that popped up out of nowhere while he was gleaning egg information attentively. "Quila's currently working the docks," Relion helps with the introduction, with a raise in his voice at the end to check with Qulia, in case his memory was faulty. He glances down to the plate of food she'd picked up, reminded that he hasn't had anything yet, giving it a hungry look. However, Ashkeia's line of questions draw his eyes back to her, and then K'ael, interested to hear the answers as well. "Perhaps it helps develop their connection with people," Relion suggests thoughtfully. "To have human minds so close to theirs as they're forming inside the egg."

K'ael laughs. "Suure it doesn't. Have you ever seen her during a flight? It's actually quite hilarious. You can see why C'ian leaves the weyr. She just screams for him and then she looks like she'd might strangle you where you stand when she realizes you're not him." He chuckles. Then there's a shrug. "Landing isn't my favorite place. Bad memories from there." Though he doesn't seem to be interested in describing them at all. He grins a bit. "Hey I wouldn't be surprised if she could. Hello Quila. Well met. I'm Azaeth's pet, like Ash said. He's the brains behind this whole operation." He wiggles a finger at his wingleader knot. Then he taps his chin. "Well, dragons are born with personalities. They develop a bit, but they're not like human babies, completely helpless and mostly like noisy dolls. You can talk to them out of the shell. And part of their development is helped by the touchings. It's not necessary… but it's helpful, for sure." There's a nod to Relion.

Quila will throw her own response out to Ashkeia's question regarding the eggs, voice low and pleasant. "Gives 'em contact, a way to feel us. The other side o' it, I always thought, was that it gives th'candidates a chance to know the dragons. Know 'em as minds, as beings, so when hatching day comes, they're not just beasts, unknown. Gives us half a chance to prepare for 'em invading our brains and whatnot." She gives a little shrug at the end of that speech, signifying Just Her Opinion, and with a trace of a smile - though she doesn't even glance his way - she holds her plate sideways towards Relion that he may help himself to her munchies. As introductions are made she turns that smile on K'ael, and her free hand is held across towards him. "That's right. Quila, docks. 'S a pleasure." And then the mention of the Yokohama catches her ear. "That would be fun! Haven't been since I was a wee thing."

"Ah, no, I can't say I've been around to see her during a flight," Amelia answers K'ael after swallowing her current mouthful. Then with a shrug she fills it up again and while chewing her attention flickers between the firelight and the conversation of eggs and the Yokohama, and between bites she adds in comments. "Is it like that, then? When you touch'em? I've felt dragon voices before, but only once or twice. Guess it makes sense they'd develop with the rest of the body. If a beast grows physically and is going to come out of the shell with all its limbs, it ought to come out with a good strong mind, too." She smiles a little when the ship is mentioned and has a bit of a grin. "My sister would be green with envy to hear I'd been up there- she's in the Starcraft, so it's one of her favorite things."

Thea is busily brushing an avalanche of crumbs from the children, but really. It's a wasted effort - she might as well wait. The continues discussion about the Weyrwoman leave her looking discomfitted and she coughs slightly at K'ael. There's much she could say about touching the eggs, but she's content to allow the philosophizing flow around her, answering with a firm nod to the questions about the Yokohama. "Yes, really!" Hopefully none of them have issues with heights? And as it seems no one is interested in stories, she falls silent and helps the twins with that huge plate of food, enjoying the conversation and the fire and just being with her babies after those weeks on the sand.

Ashkeia obviously hasn't put much deep thought towards dragons at any stage really, her attention intent upon each person as they speak their thoughts. There's a brief frown at K'ael, a trace of concern at his mention of bad memories. "Maybe," she says, directing her words to Quila. "And a pretty big one, at that. There'll be what? Around thirty of us out there come hatching day, for only ten eggs?" She shakes her head, lips thinning a bit pensively as her gaze turns, not towards the hatching arena, but instead to the Crafter's complex. When she pulls her attention back to the group, it's the prospect of actually seeing the Yokohama that she focuses on. "I'm not real big on tech, and I'd have to look up the constellations in a book… but it sure would be fascinating to see it. To get my own sketches of it. What an experience! Shells, I'm not even that big on history, but to walk there…." She shakes her head, clearing her throat a tad bashfully. Apparently there are pieces of the past that can fire up even her interest. "No one back home would even /believe/ me, I bet. They'd think I was telling stories." Speaking of.

"Thanks," Relion says quietly aside to Quila, and picks up a sampling from the side of her place to try. Which, unfortunately, asserts all the more that his stomach is quite empty: that he was distracted by bonfire building, and the egg discussion, and probably should actually /eat/, not just stand there and leech snacks. "Mmmm, those are good… I'll be right back," Relion says, grinning, thinking with his stomach, apparently, for now. He excuses himself politely to go gather food.

"Well met, Quila." K'ael gives her hand a shake. "The docks, hm? That seems like fun. Get first dibs on everything coming in and out, of course." He chuckles. "Anyways, you'll all get to experience touching the eggs. Honestly I can't much remember what it was like specifically. A lot of those memories are blurred for me, being so close to impression. And I only stood once. Plus everyone gets a different experience." He smiles a bit and toasts up another skewer for himself. "Anyways, I'm late for a date. Ladies. Relion. It was good to see you all." Ashkeia gets a kiss on the cheek. "Let me know when you want to poke around."

"It's satisfyin' work," Quila replies to K'ael, rough little hand giving his a squeeze. "Though they somewhat frown on me helpin' myself to the cargo," she adds with a flash of a wink. Back to Ashkeia she gives a slow nod, smile fading somewhat into thoughtfulness. "Big maybe, to be sure. Still, leastways, knowin' what's in their heads makes 'em less terrifyin' when they burst from their eggs." She pauses, a quirk of a smile at the corner of her mouth. "Again. Maybe." As Relion wanders off she watches him go, and with her plate reclaimed as all her own she'll shift over to where Thea is sitting, and make a gesture at the blanket spread on the ground. "Evenin', weyrwoman," she says, with appropriate respect, before continuing with, "Mind me stealin' a corner to sit?"

As the twins slow down, little tummies full and their senses sated by the fire and all the conversation around them, they settle, leaning back against their mother, who relaxes and watches the fire dreamily. People are coming and going, the ebb and flow from fire to food finally seems to slow while folks find places to sit. Quila's question recalls her to the present and she blinks up at her with a warm smile. "Please do!" And she pats the blanket invitingly to any other who are standing around nearby; it's a big blanket with plenty of room. "So then," she says with a carrying voice. "We'll start our story, shall we? And you all will help tell it. We'll go around the circle and each person will contribute one or two sentences, making it up as we go. Ready?" she takes a breath and starts, "Once upon a time, in a village where people lived by the sea, there was a fisherman who loved round things. He lived in a little round house, had a little round wife and a little round boat." And then she passes it on to her neighbor with a grin.

Ashkeia smiles, giving K'ael a peck for his own cheek after he's delivered the one to hers. "I should be due for a rest day here soon. I'll send Mal with a note; she should be able to find you even if you're hiding at Western!" is her cheery farewell for the bronzer. It's not until he's well gone that some of that cheer is proven false, her smile dissolving as she looks towards the fire. "Hmm? Oh yeah, there is that," she nods to Quila. "It still seems very strange to me. I should go get my sketchbook," she announces suddenly, to no one and everyone within range of her voice, right before Thea starts her story. Without a farewell, she turns to head to the barracks. Whatever her intent to return may be, she doesn't make it back to the bonfire — or if she does, she keeps herself well hidden to capture candid sketches without making anyone self conscious.

< Log ends here abruptly due to RL for folks and dinnertime for most, so we never got to the story part. >

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