The Only Way to Travel

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 border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places.
The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the rock edifice where, high above on Xanadu's Star Stones, the ever-present watchdragon sits on the lonely peak. Directly south is the hatching arena, the large round complex taking up a large portion of the perimeter, a line of trees visible beyond it. 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 Wandering Wherry Tavern. Tucked neatly under the arch, to one side is a tiny wood-frame shop bearing the name 'Petals and Pots Garden Shop'. Southwest lies cliffs where windows for the administrative offices have been cut. Underneath them are the entrances to the crafters complex while north and west along the cliff's base, a broad path leads to the feeding grounds. Due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr - the meadow, the forest beyond. At the far edge of the clearing, beside the trail leading to the forest sits a clocktower.

[DTU/Project] Luraoth senses that Kalsuoth's thoughts reach out to the queen's, a brush of dark feathers as the sun rises, a gleaming light arcing through their mental link to whisper gently against her thoughts. « Luraoth, are you awake? » the dark brown probes gently.

[DTU/Project] Kalsuoth senses that Luraoth is a soft glow of pink, a shade of that sunrise that draws together into diffuse presence. « Hello, Kalsuoth. » The rose shade makes an abstracted outline of a bird to meet him. « I am now. »

[DTU/Project] Luraoth senses that Kalsuoth sends a dark winged bird out to circle the rose avian, darting around playfully. « Mine would like to take yours somewhere. If you both are up for a little trip outside the weyr? Not far, » he reassures, « but away. »

[DTU/Project] Kalsuoth senses that Luraoth spreads her airy wings. Beneath them are dark branches, half-twined into the start of a nest. Not yet fully built, this nest, but there's still a certain hesitation to her at the thought of departing it. Luraoth considers, her wings spread to test the wind. « Not far, » she muses, and then her airy wings sweep down to let her leave that nest. « But we will fly. » A wisp of fluff floats down from her, a thread of pink that twines itself through the half-built nest… but the Luraoth-bird herself follows Kalsuoth's dark one. « She will come. »

[DTU/Project] Luraoth senses that Kalsuoth dips and swoops, the dark bird bringing a white feather for the nest, an offering in thanks for leaving. A token of safety while she's away. « To the clearing, » he directs, happy that they are coming.

The summer afternoon is hot and hazy, without clouds in the sky to keep things cool. The few breezes that drift by are more taunting than soothing, though there's a moisture to the wind that suggests a storm might sweep in come evening. For now though, everything is clear. Mur'dah stands beside Kalsuoth, the brownrider dressed in loose flying clothes - long linen trousers and a blue short sleeved tunic, his satchel hanging from his straps as he waits.

At least Luraoth's not on the sands (yet), or Soriana would be finding it even hotter. It's still plenty warm so far as she's concerned. She emerges from the caverns, in a loose green blouse and pair of khakis that are just about respectable enough for the office as long as she doesn't have meetings with anyone important. She has a set of straps over her shoulder, ready for Luraoth - who's arriving at a gentle glide from one of the sunny spots overlooking the beach, easing to a landing with a minimum of dust. Soriana greets Mur'dah with a wave of her free hand and a smile. "Hey." She keeps her eye on the brownrider for a moment as Luraoth approaches, and asks curiously, "So what's up?"

Mur'dah and Kalsuoth both watch Luraoth arrive, the brown offering a warm croon to his clutchmate. "Hey," Mur'dah replies with a salute and a crooked grin, a hand on Kalsuoth's straps. "Just found something and thought you two might want to get out for a bit and maybe see it." A surprise, it seems!

Luraoth returns that croon as she settles and folds her wings over her back, closing the final distance on foot since Soriana's busy getting… not really an answer. She arches her eyebrows at Mur'dah. "I… see." No she doesn't, but she grins anyhow, and turns to Luraoth in order to start tossing the straps onto the gold with routine familiarity. "Well, you're probably right," she admits, and glances back to him. "Even if it's just an excuse." She looks back to Luraoth, to finish adjusting the straps.

Nope, Mur'dah is being secretive this time, and the brownrider seems to be enjoying it. "Any reason to get out, right?" he asks as he nimbly climbs up the straps and swings himself into the saddle, fastening himself in. Rising to all fours, Kalsuoth takes a few steps back to give him enough space before he pushes into the air. « We fly straight, it's not far, » Kalsuoth says. Which is good because his rider isn't dressed for between.

"Well," Soriana says, "Maybe not any reason." She glances back to Mur'dah with a half-grin, then does final strap-check and swings herself up onto Luraoth. The gold spreads her wings, waiting for Kalsuoth to launch. « I will follow, » she agrees as she does so, lifting off the ground. Soriana's not dressed for between either, and while a jump probably wouldn't do proto-eggs any harm… there'd still be a lecture from the dragonhealers for risking it, because nobody's sure about that part.

True enough, though didn't Moreta's gold hop between a few times while egg-heavy? Have to go back and check. At any rate, Kalsuoth glides over the forest, inviting the queen to fly beside him while they enjoy the breeze they create for themselves. It seems they're heading for Rubicon River Hold.

Rubicon River Hold - Courtyard
Behind the imposing ivory limestone pillars of the great gates, beyond the red wall with its ivory towers, the courtyard of Rubicon River hold has been laid out on a grand scale. Unavoidably the first thing to come into the eyes is the imposing structure that has been carved out of the ivory limestone bluff. Perfectly plumb for a length of no less than one hundred weaverlengths, stone has been removed and recycled into nearly hundred foot high fluted ionic columns that hold up a wide roof, topped in waves of terra cotta roofing tiles. Above this, bronze shutters cover latticed windows in case of poor weather or attack. Below your feet, the expertly set red stone of the sweeping expanse this area is comprised of has been bordered in a simple geometric path pattern in the ivory stone as an accent. The stones are worn smooth with use and age, giving rise to the notion that this is indeed a bustling place. To the north and south of this, similarly laid paths lead away from the striking faade, to the west and up the stairs, lay the great bronze doors of the of the Hold Proper.

It probably wouldn't actually hurt things, but dragonhealers are nearly as bad as weyrlingmasters when it comes to not wanting their charges to take risks. So, safe or not - there's scholarly papers arguing both sides - there'd be a lecture! Which Soriana's just as glad to avoid. She's also glad for that air moving over her as Luraoth flies, relaxing and watching the clouds and ground. The gold settles in beside the brown, keeping easy pace with him and enjoying the flight. She's happy regardless of where they're going. Soriana? Oh, she's wondering, but she settles for watching landmarks for now.

As they approach the river hold, it's clear there is something going on. The crowds are out, and while there aren't many dragons around, there are plenty of runners and wagons, travelers arriving on foot and by cart and by runnerback. The brown lands a short distance from the hold in a landing field set aside for that purpose, and once he's landed Mur'dah shoulders his satchel and strides over to wait for Soriana to dismount, grinning.

Tiny, tiny crowds! Actually, they're not all that tiny, just… small because they're down there. Soriana leans forward in the straps to take a better look at them - but oh, Kalsuoth's going down! She's going to get an even better look than that. Luraoth follows, gliding down to a neat landing, and Soriana unbuckles herself to slide down. A glance to the crowds - who've probably noticed dragons arriving - and then back to Mur'dah. "So am I being diplomatic, or incognito?" she asks with a grin.

"Incognito," Mur'dah says, pulling off his knot and shoving it into his satchel. "We're here to enjoy the party, not /do/ anything." Though they'll probably be recognized. /She/ will. No one notices Mur'dah. Grinning, he offers her his arm. "It's their annual toy boat races. I thought we'd watch, maybe try our hand at building and launching a few, if you felt like it, or just wander around. I have a few gifts to buy, too, so." Good idea? "Sound like fun?"

"Good," Soriana says. Not that the gold dragon is subtle, exactly, but she can pretend. At least if she takes her knot off, which she does. Now there'll just be rumors instead of certainties! She runs a hand through her hair, just to make it not utterly 'I just flew here', then calls it good enough and takes Mur'dah's arm. "Toy boats. Huh. Do they have a 'quickest to sink' category?" She grins. "But it does sound fun." Especially if she can be semi-anonymous. Onwards! Though… "Who're you gifting?" She's curious. "And do they like boats?" Because wouldn't that just be convenient.

Mur'dah laughs. "Maybe," he says, glancing back as Kausuoth surges into the sky with a beckoning croon to the queen, aiming for the top of the cliffs where they can lounge on the hot limestone and soak in as much warmth and relaxation as they want. "Kiena's twins," he says, "they're turning fooooour." That word is drawn out as he blinks, and then he /laughs/. "Uh. That's actually a really good idea, to get them boats…I hadn't thought of that." Clearly 'let's go to toy boat races' and 'I have to buy presents for children' never linked up in his brain. "I was going to get them clothes." Booo-ring.

Luraoth rises to the sky - or at least those cliffs. She'll bask in that warmth and enjoy Kalsuoth's company quite happily. Maybe from a distance, people won't notice the queen as much. Soriana can hope, but at least Luraoth is content, and the rider, well, she's up for trying to enjoy things! She nods to the twins, then eyes Mur'dah a moment - what? - before laughing herself. "Clothes. Really." She shakes her head, grinning. "Maybe if they were fourteen." But they're not. "If you get them a pair, they can race each other."

Mur'dah shrugs with a crooked grin. "Why not clothes? They're growing girls, don't they always need clothes? Kiena thought it was a good idea," he says, somewhat stubbornly defending his gift idea. Which was totally lame. Walking into the courtyard, Mur'dah pauses for a moment to let a group of kids run by, and then he moves on, giving Sori's arm a squeeze and flashing her a grin. "Want to get drinks or something?" he asks, nodding to the food and beverage stalls. Other stalls present are some weavers, leather workers, woodcrafters, smiths selling tools and jewelry, and anything else people might want. It's a fairly large gather!

"They need clothes, yes," Soriana admits, with an amused smile and a shake of her head. "But… do you even know their favorite colors?" Because clothes are one thing. Clothes they don't like are even worse! "Besides, they can play with boats for longer." Growing girls and all! Oh, and that thing where none of those kids even bother looking at her? It's niiiice. A drink would also be nice. "Yeah, how about… oh, they've got fruit teas." Sold. Or at least, she will be, once she gets to the stall and orders something with tea and juice and slices of melon floating in it. Refreshing! Along with whatever Mur'dah wants, says the tilt of her head to him in question.

Mur'dah shakes his head, looking abashed. "I, uh. No, I don't. I didn't ask." He's a bad gift giver. They are mostly ignored, knotless and having abandoned their dragons, who really cares who they are? They're not the favorites to win the boat contest, that's for sure, so no one cares. The anonimity is refreshing, as are the teas as Mur'dah orders the same and then pays for both of their drinks. "So do you want to try to make a boat to compete with?" he asks, pointing along the path that will take them to the beaches, the shade trees making that seem like an ideal spot to go watch, at least.

He could always have Kalsuoth ask Ujinath, but the game of dragon telephone doesn't always work as planned. Soriana nods. Hmm. "Maybe fuzzy socks." If he really truly insists on clothing. "You can get a bunch of colors." Or even - as one of the weavers is displaying - rainbow stripe ones. For when you need all the colors. Soriana eyes Mur'dah as he gets the marks out first, but other than giving him the look, she doesn't argue. This time. Just sips her tea, and glances down the path. Should she? "Aw, why not? Might as well give it a try. It can't be much harder than birdhouses, right?" Yeah, these two are definitely not in the running for that contest.

Mur'dah laughs, "Have you ever made a birdhouse?" he asks, tucking his marks back into his satchel and nodding towards the path, so they can begin moving in that direction. "I think boats are a better idea," he admits. "That comes with an activity. Something we can do. And maybe socks too." Everyone loves fuzzy socks.

"…more or less," Soriana says with a grin. "I'm not sure it ever actually had any birds… but there was a thriving population of v'tols." So hey, at least it didn't go utterly to waste! She nods about the boats as they head down along the path and she sips the tea. "Doing stuff's good." Just don't let Xanthius see fuzzy socks. He might faint. Or something. "So you and Kiena are still hanging out?"

Mur'dah grins, "Well hey, I built my weyr (kind of) so we might have a shot at it." Or it'll sink. Who really cares? Along the path through the trees, the temperature cools the nearer they get to the river, and to the dug out little bay where the races actually take place, in the calmer waters. "Yeah," he says with a smile. "We're good friends."

"They're both waterproof, right?" Weyrs and boats. "And made of wood." Mostly. And… yeah, herein ends Soriana's knowledge. "But we'll put you in charge. Chief architect… uh, seacrafter." Though really, he's as much the one as he is the other. Soriana continues to sip the tea as they head along, and nods. "Good," she says of Kiena. "She seems…" Nice is so not the right word. But… "Like a good person."

Mur'dah pauses to watch a few kids tinkering with their design, quickly realzing this is /much/ more complicated a contest than he'd bargained on. Oh well. "Me in charge? Alright then, I'll get the mushrooms," he teases, sipping his tea as they approach the main booth and stand in line. "She is a good person," he says with a nod. "Bit aloof at first, but. She's…" How do you describe Kiena? "I trust her."

Maybe there's a toy raft contest they can enter instead? But Soriana's willing to make a fool of herself with this. She laughs at Mur'dah's suggestion of mushrooms. "For us, or the judges?" Because one of those would be dumb and the other would be good strategy. Don't ask her which is which. She smiles at his description of Kiena, and nods. "I don't really know her well." A shrug. She's busy, and a smith apprentice bluerider and a dragonhealing goldrider… don't have much occasion to interact. "But yeah. She seems like somebody'd who'd have your back."

Mur'dah laughs again. "The judges of course! And she's hard to get to know. But it's worth it. She would. I've no doubt about that. Especially when I get her girls these toy boats." Approaching the stall now, Mur'dah glances at the man in charge and grins. "We'd like to get one of your boat kits and enter the contest," he says, reading off the wooden sign that lists options and prices, and the times of the races. "Right," the man says with a grin. "Names?" Mur'dah glances at Sori, grinning. "Mur," he supplies. Incognito! And he waits for Soriana to give her name - whichever one she chooses for the day's fun.

Does that count as bribing the judges? Soriana grins, and nods. "Right." About Kiena, she nods again. "I believe it." That it'd be worthwhile. Just… finding time for things is hard. She's ignoring (nonessential) paperwork just to be out here today. "Maybe I'll get a chance." Then again, maybe not - but now they're at the stand, and she looks over the sign. Options! That she's not entirely sure of the difference between, but hey. She looks back to the man as she's asked for a name (incognito! Yay!) and there's only the tiniest of odd pauses as she swallows down the honest first answer and goes for, "Ana." And then a crooked grin to Mur'dah. So stealthy, they are. Fortunately… nobody seems to care.

No one knows, no one cares, whee! Mur'dah grins and digs into his marks pouch again to pay for the kit, hefting the open wooden crate and putting his drink inside, nestled in a corner so it doesn't tip. "Can you get the tools, Ana?" he asks her with a wink, stepping aside to let the next person in line step up. "So we've got three candlemarks to put this together, I think, according to the sign. Doesn't look too hard…got all the pieces right here." But no instructions. Not that Mur'dah would read them. But Ana probably would! "Want to lead us to a spot? Somewhere in the shade, preferably…"

Responsibilities: evaded! Aww yeah. Soriana's reaching for her own marks this time, but Mur'dah gets there first. Oh well. She'll get him back somehow. When he least expects it. "Sure," she says of those tools, which she'll also get - a convenient collection for those who don't need the higher quality of their own personal set. This means they've not only got the hammer and screwdriver, but also the chisel-type thing and the augur. What's that for? Who knows, because there's no instructions with these, either. But hey, "Should be plenty of time." Because it can't be that hard! The group over there is nearly done, and none of those kids look past eight turns. So surely a pair of adults can manage it. Even without an extra sail… er, instruction sheet. "Looks like there's some room over there…" she says, and leads the way past the booth to a spot on the beach-edge where some scraggly bushes should at least vaguely shade things.

Mur'dah follows along after her, sitting down cross legged and promptly removing his drink before he upends the box, sending all the parts cascading onto the sand. "Right then!" he says with a grin and a boyish gleam to his eyes. "So. This…uh. This part, maybe goes to this part? That makes kind of a boat shape…" And he's totally not leaning over to try and see what a pair of ten turn olds are doing near them. The kids look up, frown at him and promptly shift their bodies to block his view. No cheating!

Soriana flops herself down on the sand, grinding the base of her drink into it to make it sit there stably. She hmms. "But there are two of those," she says, pointing out one of the parts he's holding. "And I don't think you could put them both against that. Not unless…" She reaches for a different piece. It's carved with a curve. The level of craftsmanship will only go down from here. "Is it pointed on both ends?"

Mur'dah frowns at the pieces they hold, and leans over to try and see the kids' again. "Hey," he hisses. "Give you a mark if you just show us yours." "Bugger off!" is the kid's response. "It can't be /that/ hard," Mur'dah mutters to Soriana with a plaintive look. "Um. Wait, see? Look," he says, taking her piece and setting it down, alongside one of his. "Oh! No, look, they've got flat bottoms," he says, pulling out that bit and balancing the other two on top, along the edges. "You think?"

Soriana tries not to snicker as Mur'dah attempts to bribe the kid. Tries, but fails. "Shoulda offered him the prize money." That they're certainly not winning. She hands over the piece when he reaches for it, watching as he puts it together. "Huh," she says consideringly, then nods. "And this one can go… like that…" She holds it up. "Yeah. I think that works." It's something not entirely unlike a boat. "So…" she pulls out the packet of small nails. "Do we put the sides together first? Or just put them onto the bottom?" Either way, hammer time!

Mur'dah laughs. "Right," he says, grinning crookedly at her. "Uh. Maybe…put them onto the bottom? That's the base, then the sides go together? You want to hammer?" he offers, holding the first two pieces together. "Just don't break my fingers."

"That… makes sense," Soriana says. Because she's not a seacrafter nor a carpenter. "We can build it from the bottom up." So she wields the hammer, and sets the first nail into place against the wood. "That look like it's in far enough?" She thinks so, anyhow, but she'll wait for any adjustments he's inclined to make. "That's like rule zero. Don't break anything." Especially not fingers. So she'll hammer carefully, once placement's confirmed.

Mur'dah nods, "Yeah, that was my idea…" But Faranth only knows if it'll work out or not. He's real good at holding things though, and in no time (or a bit of time) they've got all the wood nailed together in what appears to be the correct configuration. And Mur'dah, child that he is, turns to stick his tongue out at the kids who didn't take his bribe. Nyah. "Okay, so…now the sail?" he asks, holding up the square of fabric and a stick.

Soriana's okay with the hammer, so it works. No fingers are smashed, and the nails end up in the wood more-or-less how they're intended to be. It… might… even be watertight, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. "Yeah. So… huh." She peers down at it. "Where's it go?" Because there's not a hole the right size for that mast. At least not yet, there isn't.

Mur'dah peers at the tool box. "Uh. I think we have to make a hole? But…um. Not all the way through, probably." Duh. "So…I don't know, where does the sail usually go? In the middle?" And he demonstrates, setting the stick in the middle of their boat.

Make a hole. Right. "Or the stick- er, mast- can plug it." Though… "Probably not all the way through." She glances over at the tools. Oh look, the augur! There's one problem solved. Now then… "I… think so? Don't some have big sails in front? I mean, we've only got the one, but…" She eyes the boat. If only those kids were bribeable!
Mur'dah eyes the auger. "Is that the right size though?" he asks, holding the stick up to it. "If it's too big, then…it'll wobble." This is hard! "Maybe more towards the front?" Shift, shift, shift. "Like there?"

Soriana holds the augur up against the mast. "It… looks right?" Maybe? She doesn't sound sure about it. "I didn't see other sizes…" But maybe there were. "Can't we like… pack the shavings around it? And maybe some glue?" Glue covers a multitude of failings. She eyes the new mast position like she knows what she's doing. Hmm. "Not quite that far, I think. Like… somewhere around… there." Because it looks nice. Or something.

"Do we have glue?" Mur'dah asks, peering around at all the items he just dumped out onto the sand. "We could put the shavings around it. Or maybe a bit of the cloth? How do we put the cloth on the mast?" See? Mast. He used a sailing term.

"…no," Soriana says after a moment's search. They don't have glue. "But I could look for some?" Unless that's considered cheating. Which, okay, given their level of competence, probably nobody will care, but still. "There's this string. I think that's how we tie the sail on." Rigging would be the sailing term. She doesn't use it.

Mur'dah takes the string from her and folds the cloth into a triangle, tying it off at each end. "Uh, then maybe we just…wrap it around? It'll slide down though. Oh wait! Let's use that thing to make a notch in the top of the stick, to keep it up. And I think we should use that thing to drill a hole. Not too deep though." Right.

"Right. So we hang it on like that, and then the wind gets it and… zoom." Or at least that's the theory. Soriana nods. "Okay, so…" She starts on that top notch, on the theory that it's harder to mess up than the placement. The wood is a soft one, which is probably a good sign that they're meant to be doing this. She hopes so, anyway. "So let's see how it hangs," she says once they've a sail and a mast. Gotta check it over before making the big (but hopefully not too big!) hole.

Mur'dah nods. "Zoom." Yup! That's the idea." When she makes the notch he loops the string over it and wraps it around the stick before looping it around the bottom as well, and then waves it through the air like the world's most complicated surrender flag. "Looks okay?"

Now one of the kids over there is snickering at them. Or at least at Mur'dah's flag, but it does seem to be catching some air. "Yeah. So…" she eyes augur and boat. "Do you want to do the drilling?" Because she's not exactly confident in her abilities, here. "I can hold it steady."

Mur'dah gulps. "Uh, sure." He was hoping /she/ would, but he can drill things, right? "Hold it real steady. Here, then?" he says, putting the point of the auger down and starting to turn it. Slowly, slowly, slowly. "Is that deep enough?"

Soriana did the nails! They've got to share responsibility for this boat. She nods about holding it steady. "I will." And she does. Both hands. "Yeah," she says of the spot, then watches as the augur spins. "…maybe. We can test it." After turning the boat up to tap out the shavings.
Mur'dah puts the mast in the hole and wiggles it a bit. "It's…yeah, we should put some shavings in there so it doesn't wobble that much. But I think we're done! What should we call it?"

Soriana nods, and takes some of those shavings she poured out (into her hand, she thought ahead) and carefully nudges them into place around the mast. She attempts to get them in evenly on all sides to it doesn't lean. This is about as successful as the rest of their boat-building endeavor. But… "There." It's a boat! Will it float? "Hmm. It could be… the Racing Duck. Or… the Half-Melon." Or maybe she's not very good with names.

Mur'dah laughs, /eying/ her for a moment. "Where did 'Half-Melon' come from?" He likes that one mostly because it makes no sense at all.

Soriana pretends she doesn't see that look. And then she grins, and picks up her tea to give it a swirl. Oh look, melon slices. Which… still doesn't really explain it. "Well, it's certainly not a full melon. Or it'd be a ball."

Mur'dah eyes the drink, and then the boat, and he laughs. "Well alright then. This is the Half-Melon. Shall we meander over to the races and see when it'll be our turn to compete? Maybe we can get into an earlier race since ours didn't take that long." He says that with his head tilted towards the kids that were unable to be bribed. Hey, look, we're done first! Probably the last 'first' they'll get today.

And once they get that boat into the water, they may discover another reason for the name - that it sails along just about as well as if they'd tossed half a melon into the water. Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but… the speed of their completion is not actually a testament to skill. "The Half-Melon, long may she float!" Assuming she actually does. "They'll probably let us change. I mean, they're doing this all day, it doesn't make much difference."

Likely. Holding out the boat to her to carry, Mur'dah brushes shavings from his clothes and grins. "Let's go see if we can enter one of the earlier races then. Maybe in an infant's category."

Soriana takes the boat in one hand and her drink in the other, which leaves Mur'dah to carry the tools. "I dunno, some of those toddlers looked crafty. Maybe in the division for old uncles with shaking hands?" No? She grins. "Better stick with pre-made ones for the twins."
Mur'dah carries the tools and his own drink. He laughs, and then nods. "Oh yeah, I've already spotted a few vendors selling already made boats. I'll grab them each identical ones. Have their names painted on…" Wait. What are their names again? "I'll paint the names on later." He sucks at this.

Details like that. Soriana nods, then… laughs. "Maybe you could get ones they could paint themselves." A pause. "Four turn olds can paint, right?" She… vaguely remembers seeing activities like that when she pulled 'visit the nursery' duty. "And then add the names on, after. So it's not weird that… you're the one adding them." And he can pretend he knew all along.

Mur'dah considers that. "Maybe," he allows. "I should talk to Kiena, see if that's a good idea or if it'd turn out horribly wrong somehow."

"That's probably a good idea." Talking to Kiena. Soriana considers it further, then adds, "A very good idea." Yeah. Because if the mother doesn't know what's going to lead to doom… who does? Then they're back to the booth again, and Soriana smiles at the man. "Can we change to an earlier race? We're done now."

Looking up the man eyes their craft and manages (barely) to hide a laugh. "Sure thing, miss," he says, grabbing an orange card from a stack. "Just take this to the folks down by the river and they'll let you into the next race. Starts in just a few minutes."

Soriana has spent turns learning diplomacy as a junior weyrwoman. This means she's aware that the man is… unimpressed by their boat, and that's putting it charitably. It also means that she keeps smiling as she accepts the card from him. "Thank you!" And down to the river they go. Will it float? They'll know soon!

Mur'dah hustles down to the lake and turns their card in just in time to be placed in the first race. Alongside a wide mix of other people, from giggling children to a few older couples out for a fun afternoon, to a few people who look like they take this thing /seriously/. "Alright!" the starter calls, "place your boats in the water! First one to reach the main current wins!" But don't worry, there's a wide net to grab them before they float away, so you get to keep the boat you made. Forever and ever. Unless it sinks. "On your mark!" Mur'dah gestures to Soriana to go ahead. "Get set….GO!"

Down to the water's edge they go! Soriana puts the boat into the water, and… it doesn't melt. So far, so good. It's not even leaking. Okay, not much. That's probably just a splash from the boisterous kid next to her. Ready? Oh yes. She's ready, and set, and… go! She releases the boat! It… bobs there. This is a little bit of an anticlimax. Maybe they were supposed to add sails and a little man to row? But - oh, there it goes, it's started to move!

Mur'dah actually jumps up and down when it starts to move, reaching down to grab her shoulder. "It's going!" And it's losing! Badly. Oh. So, so badly. It kind of flounders, wobbles…but it doesn't sink!

That boat next to it? The one set into the water by the very earnest five-turn-old kid? It's about a length and a half ahead of theirs. But! The boat is moving. Soriana grins, looking back to Mur'dah. "Of course it is!" Have some confidence! So she looks back to search for the boat and see how far it's gotten. …about half a length. And these are toyboat lengths we're talking about.

Mur'dah eyes it. "Maybe if we blow at it," he murmurs, crouching down beside her and eying their floundering melon of a boat. "Faranth we suck at this," he laughs.
That's probably cheating, but all the people who actually care about this race and take it seriously aren't really looking at the back of the pack here. "We're never going to make the seacraft," Soriana says with a shake of her head and a grin. Oh look, it's out of arm's reach! Finally. "…ever."

Mur'dah sighs, "Well, I guess we'll just have to find something else to do with our lives, Ana," he says, grin crooked and dark eyes gleaming with amused mirth. "Think it'll even make the net?" Already the winner is being called, one of the serious faced youngsters down the line who accepts his prize with a solum nod.

"I don't know what," Soriana says with an attempt at serious face that… fails. "I mean, all our hopes and dreams, dashed…" Hurm. "Or, well, not dashing, really. More…" Floundering? Nono, diplomacy. "Bobbing?" She shakes her head. "If they let it." How soon is the next race?

Mur'dah shakes his head sadly. "We'll just…we'll have to find something else and carry on. Somehow. We can do it, Ana, I know we can." But he's barely managing to hold back laughter. "I guess not," he answers as the net is retracted, pulled gently along the surface to scoot all the boats back to shore, and Mur'dah reaches down to lift their floundering Half-Melon before presenting it to Soriana. "A keepsake," he says with a grin and a wink. "Shall we grab some food and find those boats for the twins?"

"Something. Somewhere. Somehow." Soriana shakes her head. "But really, it's heartbreaking." The kid next to them stares. "Y'r funny." And then he toddles off with his own, far more successful, boat. "At least it didn't sink?" Soriana says as she accepts the Half-Melon. "I'll put it in a place of honor." Undeserved honor. Or maybe that's a euphemism for her tinderbox. Either way… "Yes, let's. Rubicon's got good…" Hmm. "Fish, probably. But we'll see what looks good." And maybe she'll be fast enough on the draw to pay for dinner. Or she'll get the fuzzy rainbow socks to go with those boats.

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