It Needs a Name!

Xanadu Weyr - The Hollow
This part of the woods has opened up into what would normally be called a clearing. Rather than an open piece of land and a view of the sky, however, the center of this area appears to have been wholly occupied by one of the largest trees in the forest. It stands before you, ancient and massive, it's branches reaching up nearly one hundred and fifty feet into the air and its base measuring nearly as far around. The ground leading up to it is mounded and misshapen from the tree's massive root system. At one point, the tree appears to have merged with another, and a hole large enough for two grown men to stand inside of now resides on one side of this giant, arboreal creation. The inside of the hollow is smooth and free of disease or fungus, giving testament to the tree's ancient health and vitality.
It is not the biggest tree on Pern by any stretch; any number of Skybrooms come far closer to touching the heavens with their staggering height. It may not be the oldest deciduous mass on the continent, either. It is simply a tree. But in that respect, it seems to be the very item the universe had in mind when it first conceived of the thing. Its bark is rough in some places and smooth in others, colors radiating from deeper brown at the base to a smoky dust color as the trunk continues upwards. Branches both small and large reach outwards and upwards, too numerous to count, the lowest of them hanging a mere six or seven feet from the ground. Around the tree is a halo of light, shimmering in dozens of shades of green and yellow to reflect the thousands of leaves above. Lean up against it. Sit beneath its branches, within its hollow. Perhaps the tree would welcome the company, after such a long time on this earth. If one was careful, they could probably climb up into the tree a great distance.

Some candidates may have been SPARED that early morning wake-up call. Rhodelia was not so lucky as she got that unfortunate golden ticket and bit off a little bit more than even the seasoned candidate could chew. It's been a few hours since the time on the sands, but the weyrwoman's assistant has not been assistanting or even choring at all. As soon as she could, she ran. Far and for as long as her scrawny little legs could carry her, which wasn't really that far, but well into the woods she went. Conveniently, a giant tree just happened to be where her legs where ready to collapse and so that's exactly what she did. Even though she is currently curled up in the hollow, the huffing and puffing as she tries to catch her breath might give away that this giant tree is not all tree.

Katailea was spared that, though she was up early enough all the same. While she may not be running for a place to hide, in lieu of chores the blonde has found herself walking through those same woods in exploration of this likely temporary new home of hers. If it weren't for the other candidate trying to catch her breath she could very well have passed by that particularly large tree studying it's branches and missing the fact that anyone else was about. As it is, icy green eyes turn from above to below as she looks for the source of the sound, and finding it offers a "Hey, are you okay?"

There will likely be tales to tell later and experiences to swap, along with words of warning for some of the eggs between Candidates. Keruthien was spared this time, which meant that he had much of the start of the day to himself. Predictably, it went as many of his days go: reasonably well, with just enough chaos to satisfy him. How or why he’s this deep in the forests is anyone’s guess and yet here he is. Considerably not as huffing and puffing, as poor Rhodelia is but that at least gives away her position. Not that she may want to be found! Was it quiet she wanted? Because Ruthien is going to do what Ruthien does: ruin it. “Heeeey,” he calls, drawling it out purposely while not quite invading the hollow by the Big Tree. Fair warning! “Didn’t think I’d run into another all the way out here.” Nothing suspicious about that, right? Or the fact that Ruthien is… is he wearing a skirt!? Never fear, it’s knee length and of heavier, plaid-like pattern fabric but it’s certainly not pants. And where one was thought to be, there is actually two! “Oh, hey!” This to Katailea. “Didn’t see you coming either.”

"I'm fine…" Comes a very winded, trembly voice that does not the least bit sound find. At least if there were any tears, Rhodelia's dried them away and the whole red face thing could very well be from the running. "Who are you?" She may have seen the other woman in passing in the barracks, but nothing more than that. The sound of Keruthien's voice has Rhody drawing in even deeper into that hollow center of the tree, although once he comes into eyesight, she pauses and blinks. "Decided to practice for wearing robes?" It's at least A theory.

A nods comes from the blonde towards Rhodelia's first response. She's not about to push the issue not knowing the other woman at this point she'll take her word on it only to turn towards the sound of the other voice. A look that turns to a smile, "Hey yourself," her reply to Keruthian a moment before she provides a name for them both, "Katailea. And who are you?" the question posed to them both as she sends a glance between them.

“What? No, don’t need to practice that.” Keruthien’s puzzlement is part teasing, to gauge by the fact he can’t quite keep his face straight. Then, right on the heels of that, the part-confession. “I lost my pants.” Probably NOT HELPING matters! “Literally.” Definitely not helping. Nor is that beaming, cocky grin of his, as if daring Rhodelia to pry further. “Keruthien,” he supplies cheerfully, meanwhile, to Katailea. “Or Ruthien, depending on your preference. Well met!”

While the smith's voice might all be confidence, Rhodelia has a dubious eyebrows as she stares at those beskirted knees, her own arms wrapped firmly around her legs. "Lost your pants, but found someone else's skirt? Or was this your own???" Because inquiring minds, Keru, inquiring minds. At least the distraction does allow her to get her breath back as she gives a big sniffle before her own introduction. "I'm Rhody. Have you been at Xanadu long?"

Katailea snickers. Oh yes, she's laughing at the young man's puzzlement. "Maybe someone hid them?" she suggests with a teasing grin, which turns to a more thoughtful look. "Well met, Keruthien," she repeats the name, in part to help remember it for later. Why does that sound familiar? "And you Rhody," she adds followed by a shake of her head. "Not really. I mean, I've been here before, but never for very long. What about the two of you?"

Keruthien grins for Katailea but shakes his head! Nope, not quite! It’s to both her and Rhodelia that he answers, along with a shrug and a dismissive flip-gesture of his hand. “Lost, “borrowed”… same thing, right? Maybe I bet on the wrong thing.” That’s very highly likely, given his personality. “It’s not bad, really. Little odd wearing boots with it but I dunno. I’m warming up to it!” In case both women would like to know his opinion on the matter! He doesn’t seem the least bit worried about Rhodelia pretty much hiding or the fact that the three of them out here is an odd coincidence. “Me? Ah, born and raised for the most part here! Parents are riders.”

There's a hint of a smile creeping into Rhodelia's face. "If I'd had known, I had some sandals you could have borrowed. Maybe a bangle or four." Her blue eyes twinkle a bit with the tease, before she breaks out the stage whisper. "Just be careful of drafts!" Or not, if he prefers to have Xanadu's version of a Marilyn Monroe moment. When the other woman returns her own question, Rhody gives a shrug. "I've been here several turns. In the tavern and helping out folks." For anybody with a keen ear, she does still have a decidedly Northern accent.

"I mean it does look good on you," Katailea teases light-heartedly. "It's not every guy who could pull it off." She nods a bit for each in turn as they give their answers. "I guess I'm lucky then, finding two someones that can show me around." Or make sure she doesn't get too lost as the case may be. Her own accent is one more commonly found in the trading stalls or at the docks.

“What’d I need the bangles for? And I’m not overly fond of sandals, but thanks for the offer!” Keruthien ’s grin turns crooked, while he turns his attention to Katailea. Beaming, he almost preens but settles instead for a wink. “Appreciate the input! Maybe I’ll keep up with it, then!” Oh, look what you started, Katailea! You too, Rhody! “Oh yeah, I know my way around most of Xanadu.” he assures, then blinks. “Wait. In the tavern?” This is back to Rhodelia now, as he peers at her. “I thought you were an assistant!” Apparently ALWAYS an assistant, in his head! Assumptions, Ruthien.

"To go with the skirt," Rhodelia just barely manages to keep that duh back although certainly it was on the tip of her tongue. She'll give a nod to Katailea. "At least most the important stuff you already have down. Barracks, living cavern. The hot springs." The basics, right? Rhody stares innocently back at Keruthien's peering. "Yes. I was a 'tender at the Wherry. And Risali's assistant." She gives a shrug as if the many talents (or past lives) isn't exactly surprising news. She's known it all along after all.

Katailea will take full responsibility, or deny it completely, depending on which makes the most sense in that instance. You're welcome Keruthien! That wink earns him a closer look, "Have we met before?" Its a confused sort of look that's shifted between the two of them then at their back and forth regarding the tavern, but then she's just met them both. "I don't know that I even have that down yet," she admits (caverns, barracks, hot springs), "I know the docks, but…" she shrugs. It'll come eventually.

Keruthien looks down at the ‘skirt’ he’s wearing, fidgeting slightly at the fabric. “Is it a skirt, though? I feel like I could give it a better name, since y’know… guys don’t apparently wear ‘em.” He’d probably be looking for the word ‘kilt’, but as that doesn’t quite exist in Pernese society (and he has absolutely no access to AIVAS archives, if such references even lurk there), he’s left with no basis, aside from it’s different and thus going to gain reactions. “There’s more than just those places too! I don’t think so?” Rather than draw back from that closer look, he’ll squint and lean in a bit towards Katailea before shrugging. “Maybe you got me mixed up with some other? Happens a lot.” Rhodelia’s little reveal is met with a thoughtful huff. “Huh. Aren’t you just full of surprises!”

Rhodelia tilts her head to the side. "Guys and girls both wear pants. Not like they have a different name. Why would that…" She waves a hand to latest fashion trend sweeping just Ruthien as far as they know. "Be any different?" She'll conveniently over look the differences between shirts and blouses since that's a debate best left to the weavers. She shifts her glance between both her fellow candidates as surprises and previous meetings are brought up. "Well, look at the time. Think I gotta go be somewhere…" Anywhere else. It's not the least bit suspicious that she begins to dash away back towards the Weyr, although dashing to is much slower than the original run out was, maybe even a hint of a limp.

"Exactly," Katailea agrees with Rhodelia on the idea of a guy's skirt needing its own name. A shrug and a "Maybe," to the idea of perhaps having Keruthien mixed up with another. "But…" the young woman starts, pausing to follow the other woman's return to the weyr proper with a glance. "Okay then," is the comment before she picks up where she left off. "You look familiar." So there. "But whatever," she goes on with a slight shake of her head, "Maybe I can get you to show me around sometime?"

“It should have a different name! So folks don’t get confused and think it’s something frilly!” Keruthien logic, at it’s finest here folks! He could just be toying with Rhodelia too or actually on to something. Who knows! Suddenly, Rhodelia is making a run for it (kind of) and he looks bewildered for a moment. “Uh, okay? Was it something I said!?” That last bit is actually shouted at Rhodelia’s retreating back, before he turns back to Katailea. “Sorry that I can’t help ya with figuring out how,” he admits with a shrug and light smirk, before gesturing to the Weyr (and where Rhodelia fled, conveniently). “How about we start with the way back? I can point a few spots out along the way, y’know. Key land marks!”

Katailea considers for a moment the idea of it needing its own name. "Certainly not frilly." That much is clear enough. A shrug follows for both Rhodelia's departure and Keruthian's apology. "No one's fault, I'll either figure it out or no. Doesn't really matter either way, but really?" Now would be perfect so that she can actually find her way back. "That'd be fabulous," she easily agrees and there may even be a thank you kiss in it for him at the end.

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