After the Bonfire

Xanadu Weyr - Candidate Barracks

A long, low ceiling room opens off the entrance hall to the arena, one wall slightly curved as it is set against the outer wall of the arena itself. Cots are set evenly the length of the room, in two rows, each with its own small press at the foot, for personal belongings. Wide windows are spaced along the outside wall, letting sunlight in, while other lights are available for the night time hours.

Late evening. The warmth of the interior barracks is much welcomed after the colder outdoor areas, even taking into account the warmth of the bonfire that many of the Candidates had attended. Recently scrubbed clean, the smoke and bits that caught in his hair washed cleanly away, e-on returns to the barracks, rubbing a hand back through still damp longish hair. The red is a dark brown when wet, but chilly even in the warmth of the room. He moves over to relax on his cot, stretching out, and drawing off his winter coat to drape it out of his way, glad to be inside.

Quila has embraced the smoky smell caught in her clothes and hair, still looking much as she did at the bonfire. She has also, apparently, embraced the art of food thievery, as there's a plate of various snack-style foods purloined from the party set at the end of her bed. She's laying on her stomach, reading what appears to be a letter, absently taking small bites off of an apple - until Relion's return to the barracks catches her eye, and she glances that way, lifting a couple of fingers as a casual greeting in combination with a flash of a smile in her dark eyes.

Relion ended up on his back, and makes a dismayed sound, since, yeah, boots. He sits back up again to remove them, eyes moving over the empty cots, and the others with sleepers in them, and then to Quila. Relion chuckles a little bit at her little cache of food, and nods back to her subtle greeting, smile easily reflected. "Hi again; been ages," Relion chuckles to the dark haired young woman.

Quila rolls onto her side as her greeting is returned, propping herself up with one hand under her head, fingers buried in her dark hair, so that she can look at her fellow candidate properly. "Yes, veritable eons," she agrees readily, with amusement in the words. "Want any?" A flick of her fingers indicates her stash of snacks, a movement followed by the stifling of a yawn and a slow stretch of that free arm over her head. "Shards. Spend all day on the docks and doin' kitchen duty wears me out. Bonfire was fun, though."

Relion dumps the boots, stretching out his feet. Large anyway— giant boots compared to probably all of the other candidates, there's not going to be any question of whose they are if they did get kicked aside by someone else's cot. He eyes the apple she has, peering to the plate, "Have anoher apple?" He questions, with a lift of hand to welcome her tossing it his way, should she have another. "I had runner grooming this morning. I actually liked it, out of the other chores I've had. I nearly went into beastcraft," Relion says, with a subtle smile, but one that does easily reach his blue eyes.

Quila observes the removal of boots from her lounging position with a thoughtful expression. Her own feet are decidedly far more petite, and presently resting on her pillow, though she moves after a moment to pick an apple off the plate and, in smooth motion, toss it across to the man. Then back to her lazy sprawl, absently combing her fingers through her hair. "Thought 'bout it myself. Beastcraft. I love to ride, but… just never did find what was right for me," she says musingly, though without much regret in her tone. "'Course, now I'm here and they've stuck me bein' nanny three days in a row." With as sweeping motion of a hand she gestures to herself, wry amusement in her expression. "Do I look like I have th'faintest what to do with bitty kiddies?"

Relion leans forward to snatch the apple out of the air, with an appreciative lift of chin. "Thanks." He rubs fingers over it slowly, a calm polish of one side before biting into it. He shifts back on his cot now that he's got his boots off, drawing his legs to cross them loosely in front of him. "Our neighbors, when I was little, had a great number of herdbeast. So I wasn't really a rider, I liked to help them with those. Sweet, but simple animals," Relion says, in a fond tone. He arches his brows and grins at her complaint about being a nanny. "Offer to trade with one of the others?" He suggests in amusement. "Do you not like bitty kiddies?" Relion asks.

"Where'd you grow up?" Quila asks, the question following naturally the fond memory of his neighbors. "Learned to ride while I was with the traders. Never did at home. It's harder at a weyr, I think. Beasties get spooked with the dragons flapping about." His brilliant suggestion about trading gets a nod, perhaps a little overemphasized. "I intend to." The rest, though? She shrugs, a lazy motion, and then her hand goes to rest on the curve of her hip. "I like bitty kiddies well enough. Don't much care for bein' responsible for a whole /herd/ of them." She shakes her head, but there's still humor in her voice, in the spark of her eyes. "How 'bout you? How're you enjoying your candidacy thus far?"

"A cothold roughly near Island River Hold," Relion supplies, with a brief embarrassed smile, perhaps, but it passes. "And, well, technically I actually /was/ in beastcraft. I don't think of the turns in it as wasted at all, but I don't think I thought it was, say, my calling," Relion clarifies. "If I was a herdbeast I wouldn't want to be at a weyr either," Relion laughs, "So I don't blame them." A shake of head and rueful grin. "For reference, though, I'm not interested in trading for nanny duty," Relion mentions. "My two young sisters were enough, and definitely not a whole herd." He stops talking to chew on a bite of apple. "As for my Candidacy… I don't know. Still feeling overwhelmed. Just living day to day."

Quila is about to respond, lips poised to speak, when a candidate trying to sleep a few cots over gives a harsh, highly unamused 'shush.' Q's mouth shuts again, and the offending party is given a long look before, at last, Q pushes herself upright and swings her legs off the side of her cot. She stretches as she gets up, and then pads barefoot across the floor to, once again, claim the foot of Relion's bed. And if his large feet are in her way, she'll just give them an unabashed swat to encourage them to make room for her butt. "Must be nice to have found your calling," she finally says, returning to the conversation in a more hushed tone, so as not to disturb the natives. "Frankly, can't 'magine what you're doin' here, if you've found what you want to be doin' with your life. Clearly the forests have been kind to you." The last is said with unembarrassed admiration. When she says frank she means it, see. "Only had older siblings, me. Don't even have younger siblings to have practiced the whole child care thing on. See if I can trade with one o' the girls who has a mess of little brothers and sisters at home." As to the rest she just nods, a slow decisive thing, full of understanding.

Relion watches her as she comes over to join him, leaving his feet in her way until she swats them, and then grinning and moving them out of her way. What, she doesnt' want to sit on them? Evidently not. "Well, it isn't like I can't be both things. Both woodcraft and a rider. But I think… well. The dragons will know. That's what they do… if it's not suited for me, I won't impress," Relion says, though he seems reluctant to say that. "But… if, say, I end up in search and rescue, if I do impress… my knowledge of the forests would only benefit me…" Relion trails off. And laughs softly. "I really should stop trying to plan, though, when it's so unpredictable right now," Relion says, apparently laughing at himself.

Quila makes herself comfortable, tucking her bare feet up beneath her and settling in, her eyes trained with interest on the woodcrafter's face. "S'pose that's true. Guess that's the appeal, isn't it?" she murmurs, sweeping a few stray locks of hair off her face and smoothing them down with the rest of her mane. "The dragons know. If you impress, answers the question forever more of what you're supposed to be. Reassuring and intimidating at the same time, that kind of finality." Her own tone implies that even now, this far into candidacy, there is still doubt in her mind. But she waves it off, quite literally making the gesture with her hand. "Planning spoils the surprise anyhow," she says echoing the soft laugh. "Gonna find out sooner or later."

Relion's hair is loose after his bath, and it still is; dry now it's loose and in the way over his shoulders, in his face some. He doesn't play with it, just ignores it. "Yeah… that a little dragon has so much … ability to just completely change what you will be, and what you are," Relion says, thoughtful. "But who on earth turns down the possibility to have a dragon life partner, even if it totally turns their world upside down?" Relion smiles, flushing a little bit. "It's hard not to… really hope. I'm concerned how disappointed I'll be if I do get left on the sands, watching the rest of you guys pair off," Relion smiles briefly.

Quila eyes that hair, the bits in his face, for a long moment, spark of amusement in her eye. Her hand even starts to move, as though she's tempted to brush it out of his face, but she ends up uttering an unexplained, soft laugh and goes back to messing with her own hair instead, twisted her loose curls around her fingers. "I woulda turned it down. If they'd asked me awhile back, while I was still traveling, I'da said no in a heartbeat. I spent my whole childhood waiting to be asked, sure it would happen. Neither of my siblings were searched, but both my parents are riders and I was sure I'd be the one… but eventually, reached the point where I accepted it wouldn't happen." She shakes her head. "Why it happened /now/ is beyond me." At that last admission, and that brief smile, she reaches out a slender hand to deliver a comforting pat to his leg. "Wish I could reassuringly say I'm sure you'll impress. But, s'pose there's no way of knowing. But, if you don't impress now, could some other time. It's never final. Once you've been searched, you're a candidate forever, as I understand it."

Relion quietly watches her run her hands through her hair, a mild smile on his face, expression… a kind of subtle curiosity. He glances down at his leg when she pats it, and grins some, "Well, with so many of us here… at least I wouldn't be the only one left to go to another hatching," Relion chuckles. And adds, "Well, not forever. Just until… well, I think for men it's different than women, but there is a maximum age, not that I could imagine doing this until I was seventy turns!" Relion says, but laughs. "I can't imagine… /six/ more turns of not knowing what's going to happen," he admits, lifting a hand to rub his forehead slowly. "I suppose you could travel and see the various weyrs," he suggests slowly. "Maybe you weren't as ready as you are now," Relion suggests, watching her face.

Quila gives a low laugh, accompanied by an offhand nod of agreement. "I suppose it'd be disconcerting for a baby dragon to end up bonded to a seventy year old man," she admits, cheek dimpled by her smile. "The next few months'll be difficult enough to get through without knowing how things'll turn out," she adds, with a low sigh, tacking that on to his statement. The suggestion that she travel gets a nod as well, quick, as though the thought had occurred to her as well. "Think that's part of why I said yes. If traveling I love, if riding on runnerback, if sailing I love… what would it be like to travel Pern in the air? On dragonback?" Then, almost as though slightly shy for having said it aloud and now must laugh at herself, she flutters a hand dramatically against her chest. "/Imagine/ the excitement." To the last, she just says, "Maybe. Maybe so."

Relion watches her talk about travel, grinning back at that. He's a traveler too, or at least agrees with her opinion there. "If I somehow impress and you don't, I'll take you. But if you do and I don't, you have to take me around Pern," Relion offers, and winks broadly, and offers a hand towards her in offer to shake on the deal, his grin showing off a white smile. "Although I'm not so much a fan of 'between', so I'd rather go slowly and manually," Relion warns. "As much the 'going' as the 'getting there'."

Quila's smile grows as the bargain is struck, inclining her head in easy agreement even as she reaches her hand to squeeze his much larger one. "Fair bargain, sir," she says. "And if we both impress, we'll just fly side by side." It's only with these words that she'll let his hand go, allowing her slender fingers to slide away to fall and rest against her knee. His caveat at the end isn't protested in the slightest, she just nods. "Never have liked between. Hated it as a little girl, when I went places with my father. Besides, the scenic route is always more fun. Isn't the journey always the point, more so than the destination?"

"yes. For as much as I do appreciate cold places, 'between' is… entirely something else. The place for death," Relion says, flinching, as he hadn't intended to turn their conversation to a depressive angle, really. "Well, I take a half and half view on the journey," Relion smiles. "I /do/ want to see where I end up, not just constantly move," he chuckles. And stifles a yawn into his hand. "Mmm, sorry. I think my day's catching up to me," he apologises.

Quila shakes her head as he apologizes for that yawn, shooting a glance towards the windows and the deep night visible outside. "Don't you apologize, I'm keeping you up and we've got a long day tomorrow. And the day after that, and the day after that." As she speaks she slips her legs off his bed and pushes to her feet. "Sleep well, Relion." She pauses, as though considering, and then - should he permit - she leans forward, places one hand on his knee to steady herself, and plants a featherlight kiss against one cheek. A manner of thanks, which she will explain with "Good to talk to you. Straightened some stuff out in my head," as she straightens up.

Relion smiles at her as she stands, and seems to have no problem at all with her brief kiss of thank-you to him. He moves a hand to briefly pat the back of hers at his knee, an acceptance or agreement that it was, perhaps, mutually helpful. "Well, it'll build character, if nothing else," Relion chuckles some. "You too, Quila. Goodnight," he bids to her, a comfortable friendliness to his tone and brief touch.

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