Bromance Blooms While Samples are Sampled

Xanadu Weyr - Greenhouse
The greenhouse stands along one wall of the garden, the trees surrounding its immediate perimeter cleared away so full sun falls upon its length for the entire day. Its frame is comprised of white wrought-iron, strong despite its decorative appearance, built to support the thickly-crafted glass panes that substitute for side walls and high ceilings. Two stories high, the oblong building is one part jungle retreat, one part hothouse garden, for though its function is to provide medicinal plants for the infirmary, and keep the weyr in fruits, vegetables, and herbs in off-seasons, the addition of a fountain, a variety of flowering plants, and a clump of palm trees at either end make it an arboretum of sorts, giving respite and relief from Xanadu's dreary, green-starved winter months.

Ornately-fashioned columns and rafters are of the same white wrought-iron as are the staircases at either end, each set of stairs a narrow spiral that leads up to a wide catwalk skirting the upper reaches of the greenhouse. Benches and circular tables are stationed under the perimeter of domed ceilings located on the ends of the oblong building, where palms planted below reach skyward and provide some seclusion. The potted presence of flowering herbs, plumeria, and night-blooming jasmine fill the air with a fresh, spicy, sometimes heady scent.

White gravel floors provide drainage for the automatic sprinklers that mist the plants, cleverly divided and set to different times for different sections. Down the long center aisle, waist-high planting beds are tilted to provide easy access to the weyr's denizens. Beneath are cupboards and drawers containing planting supplies such as seeds, bags of potting soil, fertilizer, pots and hand tools, along with several signs encouraging the careful addition of favorite plants to their appropriate beds. A work bench for potting plants and a closet for shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows have been tucked unobtrusively into one corner, accessible to anyone who might spy them amidst carefully-kept shrubbery.

Xanadu Weyr - Shady Walkway
Intended to dim the wealth of sunlight for the greenhouse's more shade-loving plants, curved lattice-work arches are spread the length of one pathway in even increments. Wisteria dangles from their webbed heights, rich purples, soft lilacs, and gentle white blossoms hanging from long, delicate tendrils just out of reach. Everpresent petals soften the crunch of gravel underfoot, lending to the cool, hushed, mysterious aire. White-edged hostas encircle the base of each tree, kept from sprawling into neighboring plants by a ring of blue stones and careful keeping. Heuchera thrives, tiny white flowers thrusting from a nest of purple leaves, the red of their stems matched by the wide, rounded caladium leaves that rustle gently on the cycled air. Coral bell variants are plentiful, Xanadu's breeders having taken particular delight in producing a range of colors from silver to salmon to chartreuse, some leaves splayed wide and flat, while others curve and curl in imitation of a young girl's gather gown. Pink and white foamflowers line the edges of the pathway, their tufted upward arch subtly mirroring the wisteria's fall. Other plants have been woven betwixt and between, sweet-smelling bell-shaped flowers and bleeding hearts dangling over tiny mauve heliotropes, while flat, fuzzy leaves that beg to be touched provide texture amongst this otherwise floral-focused section of the greenhouse.

Word spreads, usually easily enough by mouth, but posted signs and announcement boards do the trick too! And who doesn't like a little shindig, even if slightly more subdued than some festivities? Keruthien has wandered away from the heart of things here in the greenhouse, venturing towards the shady walkway (not shady in THAT sense!), while finishing the last few bites of the samples he snagged on the last leg of his 'tour'. Licking the pad of his thumb clean, he'll hum quietly to himself as he wanders, both intrigued and not by the surroundings. That hanging wisteria though? Oh, that catches his eye and it should be no surprise that the young Smith is taking advantage of being alone (or so he assumes). Up onto his toes he goes and he’s promptly attempting to poke at one lower hanging bunch of pale flowers. He probably can’t reach them but that doesn’t stop him from trying.

Did someone say food and party dresses? Rhodelia is certainly down for both of those things. While the weyrwoman's assistant might have some official duties to do with the whole display, she's ignoring it in favor of some good old fashion 'quality control'. She's skipped over the more vegetably looking dishes and somehow manage to acquire a plate full of porcines in blankets and a rough ground mustard dipping sauce perched precariously on top of the mojito glass. She may have been a little ambitious in trying to eat one in a single bite because it's a coughing Rhody that comes down the otherwise peaceful wisteria lined walkway. Not so alone now, Keruthien! Coughcoughcough.

Stefyr makes an impressive shadow under the covered arches, occupying one of spaces currently cast in a greater shade than those around it. His hands are on his hips, feet set wide and expression a frown (that doesn't quite manage not to twitch at the edges). "Man, I just rearranged that," is a tone of accusation directed to the other young man down the way. "What is it about this space that makes everyone think they should just start poking their fingers at the flora?" This has every mark of being a rhetorical question as he starts down toward Keruthien, and Rhodelia, too, approaching from the opposite direction. "Flora have feelings too," is the last thing the gardener manages to keep as a grumble before he cracks a smile. "Just messing. Hey Rhodelia," gets called beyond to the assistant, "Just dying a little there or-?" Does she need help? His saunter only brings him as far as the Smith, but he could probably be convinced to go to her aid if needed.

"How can a plant have feelings?" Keruthien’s head is tilting, inquisitively, despite Stefyr's earlier complaints about too many curious hands disrupting the plants. Either he's dense in the head or he's, well, one to push buttons (putting it lightly), because he merely grins cheshire like and gives one last parting swipe-poke at the poor wisteria. It was getting exhausting, being on the tips of his toes! "Oh. OH! Is that like… a gardener joke or something?" Poor Rhodelia's coughing is background noise until Stefyr mentions 'dying' and since HE feels fine, that has him glancing until he spots the assistant. "Ooh!" This is where he rushes in to help, right? Nah. "What're those?" Cue a gesture to those delicious looking bites of wrapped porcine and — yeah, he's actually trying to just help himself by snatching one.

Rhodelia is just a little red and watery eyed as she finally manages to stop nearly-dying. Death by mini-sausage would be a horrible way to go. "I'm fine…" Cue another cough right as Keruthien is going in for a snack, but she doesn't stop him. "I forget what they called them, but that dipping sauce puts up a kick." There may have been something besides just mustard ground up in it. Spicy peppers? Horseradish? Whatever it is, probably should be chewed with caution and not nearly inhaled as Rhody has painfully learned. She does have a bit of a grin for the gardener and his protests about plants feelings. "Maybe the plant wants to feel special and get a bit of a touch now and again? Some folks are cuddly after all, so maybe some plants are too? Like the ones that crawl up the clock tower?"

"For an answer to that," Stefyr replies without missing a beat, "You'd have to address your inquiry to one of my sisters. A couple of them insist on singing to plants in the fields back at the farm, though I'd suspect they'd draw the line at cuddling with them. I think it's mostly to get out of harder work, but then, as they would say, I would since I'm one of those bound to pick up their slack. "And it's a farmer joke. We're a pretty sophisticated bunch, so don't you go feeling badly that you missed it." The big blond will even lift a hand to offer a consoling pat to Keruthien's shoulder if he doesn't avoid it. And now that Keruthien has pointed out that Rhodelia, not dying, is carrying food, Stefyr's up on his tiptoes to look her way with nearly as much interest as the Smith. At least he's keeping his hands off the goods, for now. "How's the day, Rhodie? Can I have some?" Small talk first, then food thievery. He's sophisticated, see?

Could be the BEST way to go, if it’s the most awesome mini-sausage roll ever! And since Rhodelia put no stop to it and Keruthien's ever curious, he’ll dip his "stolen" treat in that sauce thus warned about. "Always be wary of the dips," he points out, just before popping the whole piece into his mouth. Will he suffer the same fate as her? Apparently not, though he does make an expression of agreement and surprise; yeah, it's got a kick! But he weathers it, even if he has to clear his throat a bit too. He doesn't evade Stefyr's pat to his shoulder and it brings a bright, wry grin to the young man of similar age. "Eh, doesn’t bug me if jokes go above my head! Everyone's got their humour, eh? But I dunno about cuddling or singing to plants either, but singing while working isn't something I'd be against! Heck, I do it." Shoulders shrug and while Stefyr is going to be all polite in his quest for a snack, Ruthien is wandering off again because he has the attention span of a gnat. Also, there’s another plant to harass! This one with dark purplish leaves. "… huh."

Considering her recent possible near-death experience, Rhodelia will surrender the sausage plate over to the boys, although not before she snags on last sausage sans the spicy sauce. The drink however is possessively held even closer to chest in case folks were getting any bright ideas about commandeering that with the snacks. She shrugs when asked about her day. "Oh, you know. The usual. Meetings, reports, a party, schedule a little bit of dying in there as well just to liven things up. And you?" The mention of singing as you work gets a bit of a frown. "What if you can't carry a note? Would drumming be acceptable?" She might not be much better at drumming, but she's at least willing to try that.

"Just make sure you're not going and touching everything in the dark part of the garden," Stefyr dutifully offers word of warning to the touchy-touchy smith. Meanwhile, he takes charge of the sausage plate. Custody of it obviously means he can snatch up one of the bounty and dip it (but lightly). The gardener adds through his chew, "At least read the signs fir-" and then he's caught by coughing of his own. It's not, perhaps, as violent as Rhodelia's near-death experience, but enough to tip his company off that he's not accustomed to their fancy Weyr fare and its spices. It won't stop him from claiming another as he wanders after the other young man. "Oh, you know, the usual. Play in the dirt, keep the kiddies from killing themselves in the greenhouse," a glance is cast to Keruthien, playfully challenging. "And assisting any guests," he smiles toward first Rhodelia's plate surrendered to his clutches and then Rhodelia herself. "Don't you think you could requisition a singer in Risali's name and not even have to carry the tune yourself?" It's an inquiry that requires his brows to dart down in real thought. "Or in Leirith's." It might even seem more likely to him of the latter.

There's probably some throaty chuckling from Keruthie's corner, when Rhodelia adds 'dying' to her daily list as a way of spicing things up. "Hey, if you want actual spice in your days, I've got my growing list of things to check that list!" Of course he does. It probably involves cliffs, somehow! "I'm not a kid!" He holds up a single finger, though his back is more or less to Stefyr as he peers over the assortment of plants he has no clue about in one bed. There's laughter in his tone, though. No offence taken in the slightest bit! He knows he acts like one (and doesn’t care, at all). "Have you ever been in the forges? Who cares if you can carry a tune or not…" Keruthien's turning now to face both Rhodelia and Stefyr, grinning ever like the fool. "No one can hear you! Though drumming is acceptable and… well, part of the job. Guess you’d say it's hammering but, y'know, same deal." Not really.

"I have plenty of spice in my life!" Rhodelia really isn't joking with that considering deal with aftermath of Leirith-antics or whatever holders might be angry about that day is part of the job description the dying might not be exaggerated much. She tilts her head as she considers the possiblities of singer commissioning before shrugging. "Risali was a Harper herself and Leirith would probably think just normal singing wasn't badass enough unless we set them on fire or something." Singers do normally frown on being immolated usually. The warning gets a grin. "If you just nibble on a leaf without picking it off the plant, that doesn't count as touching!" A loophole that might very much still lead to death.

"I don't, except this, and whatever plants I can't resist biting," Stefyr counterbalances Rhodelia's response, totally deadpan, and indicates the dip which he's now attempting to balance by putting two sausages to every one little dip. "What's first on your list?" He directs this to the other young man, possibly letting go the kid thing since he seems to be keeping his hands to himself, for the moment. There's a little wheeze but no coughing this time with the adjusted ratio. "Is there much of a rhythm to the forge?" comes yet another curious inquiry from the gardener to the Smith. To Rhodelia, he offers the contents (but not the custody) of the plate, "Why not try adding singing to you to Rhodelia's daily to do list or whatever you have for her and see if she notices? Or if she does it even when she does?" There's a little pause before he asks with a headtilt, "Does Risa ever have you schedule time for her to play piano anymore?" It's a totally innocent question with no ulterior motives, definitely.

"There can always be more spice! Plenty of variety keeps things fresh, eh?" Keruthien's going to leave is sales-pitch…err, opinion at that and merely shrug to both responses. Until Stefyr actually does ask and he practically lights up like Rukbat itself! Be afraid of that ear-splitting grin, folks! Hands clasp together and he’s focused on the gardener now. "Depends on what you’re looking for! But I gotta say that jumping's the first. Y'know… that rush of throwing yourself off a cliff. It’s great!" He doesn't make it sound great, he makes it sound terrifying and certainly a good way to die. Again, shoulders lift in a shrug as he hardly misses a beat. Does this guy even take breaths between his rambling? Who knows. "Well, I mean… you can make rhythm out of anything, right?" Where's a Harper to disagree, here! Anyone? Bueller? "A lot of the movements are repetitive. So…" Cue a bit of jazz hands from him. MAGIC! Oh, but what’s this? "Risali plays the piano?"

"Like a rabbit!" Rhodelia agrees for the nibbling, bringing two fingers up to fake some bunny teeth before she takes a sip of her julep. She blinks as Keruthien goes on about jumping and the rush. "Are you jumping off any cliff or are you talking about the ones were folks jump into the water???" Cause if it's into the water, she might just be intrigued! But that curiosity is distracted with that last question and she answers with a headtilt of her own as she echoes the smiths words at about the same time. "Risali plays piano?" Somebody is definitely not in the running for Pern's Best Assistant klah mug and it's definitely Rhody.

It's hard to tell in this shady space, but Stefyr might have paled a little bit at not Keruthien's grin (which, by the way, is when he should have RUN), but when the first suggestion is detailed. He manages not to stutter, but his voice does sound a little weak (like his knees probably are), "Jumping off a cliff? People actually… do that? We heard stories…" of crazy people, "but I didn't think…" He trails off and stares at the plate of sausages. The rescue for queasiness is definitely to eat more sausages with spicy sauce, so he does. Those sausages are also a great way to downplay what might've been information given in confidence thusly slipped more publically than might have been intended. "Uh, yeah, she mentioned something about it when we were lost in the woods in the middle of the night. Not together. Just at the same time." So, together, but only sort of. He stops short of making suggestions to Rhodelia regarding her boss' work schedule, but only because those sausages are so interesting. He remembers after a moment to hold the plate toward the other young man so he's not accidentally hoarding. "I'd do it with you. The jumping," even though he definitely caught the terrifying and not the great from the Smith's enthusiastic speech.

Keruthien takes just enough time to turn that grin and lean, ever-so slightly, towards Rhodelia. Chuckling, he'll quirk a single brow, along with a wry, mischievous smile. "Which do you think it is?" He wants her to guess, because where’s the fun if he gives all the answers!? Then poor Stefyr is broken and that has him stifling laughter down to a snorted-snickering. "Oh yeah, it’s a thing!" he offers cheerfully without even explaining further. He's also going to be a bit of a thorny pain and point out the obvious, almost sing-song. "That’s still being together, y'know. Just not together together, if you catch my drift, eh? That's what you're aiming at?" Right? He huffs a bit, as the information is confirmed. "Guess it makes sense. She's is, was… Harper, wasn't she?" How'd he know that? Who knows! Keruthien's not lingering on it, as he fixes Stefyr with another beaming look. "Great! Next time a bunch of us go, I'll come hunt you down." Literally. "Uh…" He actually has the decency to look a bit sheepish. "It'd probably be easier if I got your name too."

Rhodelia raises an eyebrow towards the smith and his grin. "You don't strike me as one of the folks that likes going to the healers for the fun of it, so if it's the water jumping, count me in!" She doesn't need any more details than that, especially not how high it might be! Details might give her time to chicken out! She turns that raised eyebrow towards Stefyr and his lost-but-not-lost together story. "Uhhhh-huh." Hand on hip adds to a little bit of doubt on the likely story. "The woods do tend to do that though. Get you all turned up and around. Even if you know them well." She has definitely been lost in them a time or two at questionable hours. It's the thing all the cool kids are doing! Then names are being asked. She's not sure if she introduced herself to Keruthien the first time they met and had to mutually flee away, but if not, she'll re-introduce herself with a smile. "I'm Rhody. Or Rhodelia." Or 'hey, you' sometimes as long as there isn't work involved.

"Well, we weren't together, either. Just together. Not even together together," Stefyr clarifies, reaching up his empty hand to scratch at his nose (which, oh, by the way is peeling just a little bit; really his whole face looks like it's got some several days old touch of too much sun, but at least the peeling isn't everywhere on his face yet). "I mean that she was lost, and I was lost, separately, and then we found each other but were still lost." See? It's all simple, really. Just let him confuse the matter some more. "R'hyn saved us. And her dad. That's Ila'den, right?" That's to Rhodelia who might have the family tree straighter than he does. Speaking of straightening out names and such, he wipes that same spare hand on the slightly dirty thigh of his pants and offers it to the Smith. "I'm Stefyr. Find me, yeah. And Rhody." His smile to her is almost grateful that he won't have to be found alone. "Is there anyone going that knows first aid? Just wondering." For a friend.

" dunno. If the Healer is skilled and I deserved landing my ass in the Infirmary, then yeah. Helps if they're cute, too." Keruthien goes as far as to wink, with a more lecherous smirk that may lead one to wonder if he's really being serious here (if ever). There's a sage nod to Rhodelia's comment on the forests and he'll chime in with his own, "Sometimes getting lost though is half the fun!" His brows knit together for a moment as he lapses quiet enough to actually follow Stefyr's reasoning and merely nods by the end. "Uh huh." No, he believes him! Honest!! He can only give a helpless splay of his hands and another light shrug. "Damned if I know? My family is large enough that even I trip over the branches, let alone trying to follow the in-laws or… uh, whatever. Riders don't marry, so… dunno if that applies." Introductions are being thrown about and Keruthien pipes in with his when the time comes. "Keruthien! Or Ruthien. But feel free to make up your own versions. Well met, Rhody," He offers one hand to her. "And Stefyr." Same deal, with his hand once it’s freed.

"If you want the cute ones, you're going to end up with the oldest and wrinkliest one around," Rhodelia speaks as if she's a voice of experience there. She snorts as Stefyr continues clarifying. "Most the Weyr knows she's got two weyrmates. We were just pulling your leg. And Ila'den is her father." As for the rest of her boss's ever-expanding family tree, it's probably lost on one of those papers she miss-filed to never be found again. When Stefyr brings up first aid, she bounces slightly. Blame the booze, it might not be her first drink of the afternoon. "I know what they taught us in candidacy— ies." She corrects that. "Mostly stop, drop and roll though." There was a lot of fire safety to be taught.

Keruthien's first has Stefyr barking out a laugh, followed almost as quickly with a headshake, but of an indulgent nature. Obviously the Smith is winning himself a friend in the gardener. He has a grin for Rhodelia's rejoinder. "Do they defend the cute ones or are they the cute ones?" he has to ask. Still, all the discussion of healers prompts his thoughts further, "Do you think," is to both partners in crime, "that the healers might teach some basic first aid to anyone who asks? Like setting broken bones?" That's basic, right? Maybe on a farm such a thing isn't limited to healers. Then there's a slow blink, "Were you much in danger of being set afire in your candidacies, Rhody?" It's not one of the rumors that reached the farm, possibly, but given the earnestness of his inquiry, he's prepared to believe it. The curiosity addressed to Keruthien is, "Do you come from lots of riders? Grew up in Weyrs?" He might be attempting to account for the levels of crazy in this conversation.

"Hey! Maybe I like older!" Keruthien toss that back into Rhodelia’s court, while flashing Stefyr a bemused grin. He's definitely not against winning a few more friends, or even pseudo-allies! Faranth knows he needs 'em to put up with his… well, him! "Uh, I dunno if setting broken bones is basic? But where's the harm in asking, huh? Most they'll do is say no." Maybe laugh while at it but hey! Details. "That’s a good rule, Rhody!" Says the Smith who likely handles dangerous materials all day, including chemicals! He'd know, wouldn’t he? Did he grow up in Weyrs? Keruthien chuckles heartily and beams that impish grin of his. "Yup! This very one, in fact! My parents were from here… well, more like my dad was originally…" But he waves a hand dismissively. Not important (but oh-so curious)! "Y'know, I'm thinking I need a drink." Or four. "You're welcome to tag along! Otherwise this was nice!" His already stepping back, tipping his hand up in a half-wave, half farewell gesture as he makes his exit. Oh, and he'll try a little hop-leap to smack some wisteria on the way out too. Sorry, not sorry!

"I'll make sure to give the old aunties a heads up in that case!" Rhodelia's grin grows as she gives a wink to the smith. He might be getting a few cougars heading his way soon! "Or uncles if you'd rather." Equal opportunity here. She's mid-sip when her fire experience is questioned and she just gives a shrug. "I was actually set on fire during my first one. I had a cape." It makes sense and it was all Leirith's idea. "Luckily, it was on a beach so I just kinda… rolled into the water." And no lasting harm done. When Keruthien excuses himself, she raises her own mostly full glass. "I got one already!" Cause Rhody's come prepared!

Stefyr gives a wave to Keruthien's back but doesn't budge, presumably because he's got more sausages to eat before he needs to seek other refreshment. A glance does slip innocently to Rhody's drink, but only because it's here. It's all about the proximity to his mouth. He doesn't ask yet. His mouth was about to be busy with more of the sausages (the two two one dip ratio seems to be working for him), but instead, the sausages suspend half way to his mouth which gapes at Rhodelia. "Please tell me you're kidding," is a plea that isn't sure if she might just be pulling his leg or frighteningly not. "On fire?"

It might be a while before there is a need to budge since Rhodelia absolutely loaded the plate with sausages before she realized how dangerous they might be. She senses the eyes going to her drink and she'll switch it to the hand further away from the gardener. No sense taking chances with that. It's with a complete deadpan face that she shakes her head. "Nope. Really happened. Think the cape was purple. Risali and D'lei were both their, supposedly teaching us about fire safety. I gotta through a flaming bottle of booze at this wicker structure, but some embers caught on the cape and… whoosh." Her free hand mimics a quickly growing fire. "But we did have on some gear to help slow down the flames if we caught." And the water.

Stefyr's eyes are huge. Huge. They only start to go back to regular size after his gaze sweeps across Rhodelia as if this new knowledge will reveal gruesome burn scars he didn't know were there until it was pointed out and finds (surprise surprise) none apparent. "Risali was talking about having a hate-burning party, or something, but if I go, I am staying as far back from those flames as possible. I don't have anything to burn anyway, but…" Just in case anyone thought he was going. Saying yes to the Weyr doesn't mean he has to let Risali supervise his being lit "accidentally" on fire. "Was the rest of your experiences during candidacy less… uh, hazardous?"

"I think I have a whole filing cabinet of things we can burn…" Rhodelia will totally be there, up front and center, but for now she gives a wink to Stefyr. "Just wait until they break out the marshmallow sticks. Then you'll definitely wanna get up close!" Totally worth any possible scars, she doesn't have any too gruesome or visible. She might be as incredibly lucky as she is unlucky. It's a blessing and a curse. She shrugs off the dangers of candidacy. "Mostly. They did drop us off on the Yokohama without any warning for about a sevenday. Said it was a costume party…" It was a costume party, but also forced field trip fun times!

"Marshmallows," is weighted with deep consideration. Given the effect food seems to have of Stefyr, it's fair to say that this single word is really quite persuasive when it comes to little risks like burning to death. "So what you're saying is… I should head back to the farm before any dragon starts dropping eggs onto the Sands?" The blond man squints down at the obviously more experienced Rhodelia before popping more sausages in his mouth. "But then I might just not be candidate material, which sounds a lot safer and saner the way you talk about it." Given how casually he's mulling the topic over, he probably doesn't expect to ask a deep question like, "Why do you do it over and over?" except oop, there it is. He does, at least, draw his eyes back to Rhodelia to give her his undivided attention (he doesn't even glance at her drink this time) for any reply she might make.

"They get all caramelized and gooey…" Rhodelia gives any eyebrow waggle she hopes is inticing but probably veers more towards the ridiculous especially when the possibility of molten death is involved. She holds her hands up in the universal sign of not knowing as for the running. "You could try, but might just end up with a really large clutch so Searchriders end up going to your farm anyways and then it would be fate, wouldn't it? Although you can always say no if you really don't want to." And there comes the serious question which has her staring at her feet before answering. "I don't know. Habit, I guess?" Another shrug. "Guess I figure if I've been left standing this many times, not likely that I'm actually going to end up a rider, but might as well stand just because?" If everybody else is doing it, she'll do it too.

"It's okay, I can't go back anyway," Stefyr shrugs that off as if it's super no big deal. "Caramelized and gooey," you say, he topic changes like a pro. "I'm not sure I've ever had marshmallows like that. V'ayn said something about different kinds of icing, too, so I'm hoping to try some of that sometime, too." Nevermind that the former farmer wouldn't know what icing he was having without someone to guide him. "I think I'll hope for not a massive clutch. My mum would hate to lose more kids to the Weyr." He purses his lips a little, thinking. "If the dragons were going to impress to just anyone, you know, anyone as likely as the next, that sort of thing, then you'd think searchriders would bring just exactly the number they needed and the dragons would have to make do. But that's not how it works, is it?" He doesn't know much, but he knows that much so the question is gently said. "Maybe yours just hasn't been there before. Do you… want it? I heard," he clears his throat and DOESN'T NAME NAMES, "that some people who Stand don't actually want to become a rider. Do you?"

Oh, Stefyr. You won't know just how close you hit home to Rhody with the mention of not being able to go back. While she won't reach out to pat him on the shoulder or anything, there's definitely an empathetic and not pitying look sent over. She'll also shake the seriousness off and focus on the more important topic of desserts. "V'ayn's always working on something new." Comes with being a crafter probably, NOT THAT RHODY WOULD KNOW. She shakes her head at his search riding thinking. "The dragonets won't just take anybody. They're always looking for something particular. The dragons have an idea of what they might like but… it's a guess. That's why they'll always have more candidates than eggs because if they don't have a suitable candidate for an egg…" She gives a shudder and leans closer to whisper, "The hatchling could just go between! It's been a long while since it happened, but it has, in the past…" Definitely a goosebump raising thought there. The last question has her still refusing to make eye contact. "I don't know what I want."

Desserts are important to the completely-oblivious-to-deeper-emotions Stefyr. "I told him he should make me something." Okay, he wasn't quite that direct, but he hinted a lot. "He said I could visit the kitchens if I bathed first. Because, apparently," and here the gardener's tone goes very dry, "it's dirty here." He uses his free hand to expansively gesture to all that dirt that keeps the beautiful plants of the greenhouse alive. His expression sobers then, though, because, "I've heard of baby dragons going between because their lifemate wasn't there. Mum tries to keep stories about dragonriders to a minimum, but some make it into the bunks and get passed around and down from older to younger. So it's probably important that you stood at any rate, because there was a chance, always is." It's all perfectly reasonable. But none of that addresses her choice, personally. What does address it is that the big, blond man reaches out his free arm, seeking to wrap it around her back and give a little squeeze. "I don't think there's many that do." He purses his lips again, thoughtfully, "Would it help if I said I'd accept an offer to stand if it came my way? So as not to leave you to a maybe unwanted choice alone? Helps to have friends, maybe?" He sounds like he's trying to reason this out, too. If only everything can end up reasonable, it should come out alright, right?

Rhodelia rolls her eyes at V'ayn's fastidious ways. "He thinks everything is too dirty. He probably takes a bath before he starts cooking. And then washes off everything that probably can be washed off." Unfortunately for the baker, he just has to believe that the sugar is clean or risk looking like a raccoon trying to wash off cotton candy. "Not all the stories are true though," Rhody does at least know that rumors tend to grow and grow. "I haven't seen a mauling yet." Hopefully she hasn't just jinxed them all. The sudden side-hug is a surprise, but she doesn't squirm out, just giving an awkward back pat. "Stand if you want to? I'm just going to avoid thinking about any actual Hatching until the dragons start humming." She's already got her robe ready for the last six times and it's not like her assistant job involves tasks she won't still be doing as a Candidate. Rhody is an expert at pretending the extraordinary is very ordinary after all.

Stefyr withdraws his arm, just as awkwardly as that back patting was. "Oh. Well." The gardener clears his throat a little and seems to consider. "I'm not sure it'd be a want, for me, but I'd not like the idea of a dragon going between because I didn't want to be a 'just in case' candidate. Now, if I was taking a slot of someone who wanted it… but it doesn't work that way either, does it?" The blond looks down at the plate but doesn't help himself to anymore sausages. He squints at something in some vague distance above Rhodelia's head before bringing his gaze back down to her. "I think I need a drink." His eyes dip to hers, but he doesn't ask. He glances back the way she'd come toward where the offerings are laid out. He might have to summon the effort to walk himself over there. It's not like he's plotting escape from a suddenly awkward situation, nope nope.

Rhodelia gives a tiny shake of her head. "No… the candidate barracks were built with much larger clutches in mind. Plus, it's not like the Weyr won't put any candidates to work." Headwoman and her staff definitely won't let any hand in their care go idle for long. The mention of drinking reminds her she has a drink and she takes a big gulp of her own drink. "There's more of these over there, the booth with the largest line." Because of course folks heard about free booze and were lining up to take advantage of it. "Or the Wherry isn't too far away." Either way, two very convenient options for escaping The Awkwards.

"The longest line," Stefyr repeats, looking more than a little loathe to stand in any line, let alone the longest one. Still, he eyes her drink. "I guess I'd better get going then. This dip is setting my throat slowly on fire," which used to just be a figure of speech, except now he winces a little as he looks at Rhodelia. More awkward. "I'll see you around. For jumping off cliffs, or whatever." The blond offers a close-lipped smile before he's turning to head in the direction she indicated, her plate of sausages still in his hand. Sophisticated thievery leads to taking the whole plate.

That little thing called self-preservation seems to be missing in Rhodelia as she'll be the first in line whenever there's the things burning party. Or marshmallows. She raises an eyebrow at the wince, not catching why exactly it'd be awkward. "Okay… see you around. And here's a tip… the ale is the quickest drink they can pour you." Taps everywhere after all, listen to the former bartender. She'll raise her glass in farewell and since she still has at least a bit of drink left before getting a refill, that suspiciously dark corner of the greenhouse is calling for some investigation and hopefully no nibbling.

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