Candidate Katamari

Xanadu Weyr - Candidate Barracks
A long, low ceilinged room opens off the entrance hall to the arena. One wall is slightly curved, set against the outer wall of the arena itself. Cots are set in two rows along the length of the room, 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. It's always warm here when there are eggs on the sands, and candidates seldom need more than a light blanket.

Okay, look. It's really rude when you've finished all of your chores (or your duties for the day) and thought you were about to have the rest of the night off, only to have it interrupted by Ila'den. It's even more rude when the assistant weyrlingmaster steps inside from an absolute deluge outside, dripping water from his leathers and that unfortunate (well, less so, now that it's grown out a bit) hair all over the barracks floor. Never one for manners, Ila'den does it anyway. For too long of a moment, that much-too-broad man stands against the backdrop of the door, silent as that lone grey eye maps the location of every cot and notates every single body filling up so much space. It's more the soft creak of leathers that heralds movement before the soft sound of heavy boot as he stalks — stalks — with a predatory kind of slow through the room. "I need volunteers," comes on a rasp of sound, husky and pitched low, menacing in its own right as he stills long enough to take in one candidate and… dismiss them, by continuing past. "Nobody? Anybody?" He's only going to EAT YOU, children. What could be so scary about that? HE'LL WAIT.

So rude but who in the barracks has the balls to call the assistant weyrlingmaster out on it? There's an audible sigh from the cot next to Keruthien's, but his intentions weren't to come off as annoyed at Ila'den; it was just woefully mis-timed between the bronzerider's volunteer request and the flagging conversation he was in with another Candidate. Judging from the frightful look that befalls their expression, wide-eyed stare going over his shoulder, THEY caught on before Ruthien ever did. "What? What's with that face? I just asked if you could braid my…" Ah, then it clicks and he oh-so slowly turns his head just to glimpse that predatory stalking down the rows of cots. A sheepish grin to his comrade and he's just gonna… slink on over back to his cot. Never mind that it's obvious he's moving in exaggerated slowness back to his claimed spot. Should he have just frozen in place? Is Ila'den like a t-rex and if you don't move, he can't see you? Too late now.

Volunteers may be a word that Rhodelia has heard TOO MUCH lately and so she'll just duck her head down. There's no whistling as that would make her attempted evasion way to obvious. Instead, the woman focuses on her mentionable unmentionables. Mostly just mentionable cause they're kinda damp and a little dripping as she turns her back on a certain one-eyed someone (MISTAKE NUMBER ONE: NEVER TURN BACK ON A PREDATOR) to continue hanging them up to dry next to her cot. Delicates are delicate after all. Mistake number two might be when Pina and her little teddy bear self leaps off the bed and scurries over towards the assistant weyrlingmaster. Can the fluffy little canine get pets? She'll certainly try ever as Rhody crouches next to her cot, bra still in hand as her other tries to snap and get the dog's attention. But who is she trying to kid? Pina only knows 'Come' if the command has food attached to it.

Katailea was settled on her cot and that's where she'll remain, for the moment. She also was working on mending the hem of a skirt, but that work pauses at the interruption of the evening's free time. But is it really rude if that's part of the job, checking in on the candidates? Well, no one will argue that some might think so and few appreciate it. Green eyes glance up towards the assistant weyrlingmaster as he surveys the barracks. Volunteers? Not that she's saying she will, but someone has to ask the question. Right? "For what exactly?"

Stefyr's day has been rough. He looks it, too. Or would, if he weren't BLISSFULLY ASLEEP, already, at much too early o'clock. He is one big lump sprawled on a cot that seems a touch undersized for his bulk, one leg off the bed, his arms across his stomach. He cares not for lights, or big bad bronzeriders. He's busy. DREAMING GOOD DREAMS, probably. Or at least not ones as terrifying as the present reality might be.

"If I told you," Ila'den answers Katailea around a smile that bares too damn many teeth, "then it wouldn't be a surprise, little bird, now would it?" And he stalks, slow, measured, taking special note of every candidate that shrinks away or attempts to look CONSPICUOUSLY INCONSPICUOUS. "Keruthien." HE SEES YOU. "Rhodelia," because yes, yes you did make a mistake turning your back to a predator, and that only makes it all the more easy when Ila stops much too close, when he's suddenly pitching forward to catch Rhody around her hips and haul her up over one of his shoulders, DELICATES POSSIBLY IN TOW. HORROR. SCANDAL. RUDE. But he doesn't stop there; no, that just wouldn't be Ila'den at all. So he keeps walking with an, "Alright, little bird?" for Rhodelia, a hint of laughter in the whisper of a brogue. And now. NOW HE IS ON YOU, KERUTHIEN. Now he's absolutely giving you a borderline feral smile with a raise of his brow and a, "Boo," before he HAULS YOU OVER HIS SHOULDER TOO. The other one, at least, so Rhodelia is not being crushed. Still, he growls as he hefts, muscles taut under the strain of two bodies now weighing him down, even if they don't seem to slow him down. BUT HE MANAGES. HE MANAGES IT, and he pauses, a tilt of his head because Stefyr's precious sleeping face is THERE FOR THE SEEING. Look. We didn't say it was a good idea, but Ila'den is not the kindest human. So don't act surprised when poor sleeping Stefyr is suddenly being IMPOSSIBLY MANHANDLED OVER KERU. HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE. DON'T QUESTION IT, THAT'S HOW (he probably had to put Rhody down for half a second and then juggle her back up but SHUT UP). AND OUT TOWARDS THE DOOR HE IS GOING WITH HIS HAUL, pausing just long enough to tilt his head towards the exit with another raise of his brow for Kate. "You coming? Or do you need help?" So rude. His knee is trying to buckle under him, so like… you can be the hero and save your compatriots. Or just walk with him. Through the pouring rain. It's better than a shoulder? Probably.

"Wha..?" Keruthien doesn't exactly shriek, but his query ends in a kind of grunted, undignified squawk as he's hauled over Ila'den's shoulder. Should he be cruel and just dead weight? Nah, that'd not be fun and while a part of him may be questioning the END RESULT of this, he just goes along. Not meekly, however! Up he goes, with a rather bewildered expression that is turned to Rhodelia. It lasts all of a half-second, before his mouth curves into a cheshire smirk. PRESUMING, Ila'den doesn't have eyes on the back of his head, Ruthien will mouth the words 'You okay?' to her, while Stefyr is becoming the next target. On the heels of that, an unspoken, 'Should I?' And then mimes a pinchy-pinchy gesture with his free hand and — he wouldn't dare, would he? THERE'S ONLY A FEW PLACES HE CAN REACH! Alas, things are progressing, changing and suddenly… there are three and Keruthien's luckily too jostled and off kilter (potentially crushed because ow?) to get to much mischief (aka get everyone eaten). "…why?" he'll at least wheeze that out.

Rhodelia FLAILS as her feet so unexpectedly leave the ground, although the flailing does at least slow a bit as she is placed on shoulder so she's not about to elbow the weyrlingmaster in the nose or anything. He doesn't need to match his weyrmate's bruised face after all, that would be TOO cutesy. Her unmentionables did follow, although as Rhody slumps into the shoulder, accepting that this may very well be her life now, she crumbles up the delicate garment and carelessly tosses it towards her cot. IT probably doesn't land there, Pina might even be wearing it as a hat, but who cares? This show is moving on and requiring answers, she gives a gulp and nods. "Oh yeah… I've been potato-hauled off loads of times." THIS IS ALL VERY NORMAL EXCEPT FOR SHE LIES AND THIS IS A FIRST. Her eyes widen as Keruthien is also acquired into this candidate-haul, but she'll give a nod of confirmation that she is okay. And perhaps it's sheer amazement (either from Ila'den's feat of strength or Keruthien's possible pinching dare) that seems to paralyze her when she's set down for the man to pick up Stefyr too. Such strength! Much Wow! And then she's also picked back up and she gives a tiny Ooof as maybe shoulders and stomachs shouldn't be meeting so closely, but she'll tough it out. Mostly cause she's trying to fight back a snicker as she's not the worst off candidate in this growing candidate katamari ball.

Tucking her needle into the fabric she was stitching Kataelia tracks Ila'den's progress. "No," she agrees simply. It wouldn't be a surprise, but its certainly more pleasant to know what you're volunteering for. Its when the old man catches Rhodelia… "Hey!" See, now that. That's rude. But oh no, it doesn't stop there and the young woman can only stare for a moment. Seriously? THis is happening? That is until he's headed towards the door and his words are prodding her again. Kataelia will follow, a few quick steps to catch up even as she's talking, "At least put them down." Not quite a demand, definitely not a question and likely more sharply said than a candidate might otherwise speak to one the assistant weyrlingmaster. "This is ridiculous." Rain though, rain she can handle.

LOOK. Stefyr has slept his whole life until the Weyr in a bunk room with at least five other occupants. When you do that, you learn to be a deep sleeper out of necessity. However, some of those other occupants were BROTHERS and COUSINS. So, NATURALLY, the self-defense mechanisms in place to avoid finding yourself waking up on your mattress in the porcine sty are WELL DEVELOPED through EXTENSIVE NOT-A-DRILL PRACTICE. This is why Stefyr wakes up basically immediately when that VERY BAD PERSON grabs him. But being conscious and acting are two different things so there's no action aside from a confused, wordless protest that might not be an INTENTIONAL mimic of Ila's growl and rasp, but sleep has a tendency to do things to a voice. "… The shell? Oof!" is about all that comes from the big blond as he lands on top of one of his best bros. "Keruthien," it's almost desperate. "What are we doing?" Surely he must know, and if Stefyr weren't blinking wide-eyed but not exactly aware eyes, he might ask more questions about how he got onto Ila'den's shoulder to begin with. BUT ALAS. NOT YET. And really, the most worrisome thing might be how readily the young man seems to accept the bizarre waking circumstances and isn't putting up any kind of fight. Does that mean he thinks he's dreaming or is it just that WEIRDER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED AT XANADU? THIS IS THE NOT AT ALL NEW NORMAL, KIDS. Stefyr yawns, then groans, but doesn't do more than try to shift a little so he's maybe crushing his bro a little less? But probably not.

There might be a Percival shaped blob still in this Candidate's cot, just covered in blankets and oddly placed pillows and should one listen, there may or may not be a gentle snoring purring from below. On this lumpy Percival shape is a tiny green firelizard with wings and limbs tucked in tight, looking like a tiny rotisserie wherry. Only, the tiny green is awake and she's turning her tiny wedge head towards Ila'den, tilting it to the side in the usual confused way, trilling a question of her own? WAT? She has a confuse. "Kick him in the box, Giblets," he mutters from under the safety of his blankets. "Take no prisoners." Stefyr is done for.

DO IT, KERU. DO IT. Or don't. OPPORTUNITY FOR REVENGE MISSED. Squished? ALL OF THE ABOVE. Which is why the better question is WHY NOT? "We're having fun, Stefyr. Keep up." THEY ARE NOT. THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT HAVING FUN. … Well, maybe Ila'den is, but listen. … And okay, so listen Rhodelia. Don't get too excited about that overtly masculine display of prowess, because Ila'den's already shaking under the strain on his body when he makes it to the door, where it takes the application of one booted foot, and three candidate booties to 'shoulder' it open. BACK INTO THE DELUGE, where he does, in fact, set Stefyr and Keruthien (as carefully as he can manage, it's not exactly the most graceful execution) down onto the ground. Sorry, Rhodelia, you're stuck with him, possibly just so that he can semi-defy Katailea's positively reasonable request TO THE LAST. It's her words of, 'This is ridiculous,' that has Ila'den rumbling low, husky laughter, a raise of his brow preceding another wolfish as he leans towards her. "Please make sure to lodge a complaint with somebody who can fire me. R'hyn, maybe. Actually, that's perfect. Tell R'hyn." But then the too large man is stalking his way through the muck of the outside world BACK INSIDE OF THE BARRACKS. WHAT IS HE DOING. I bet you thought you got away, didn't you Percival? And for all that awkward amount of time he leaves the other three outside to contemplate their life choices, he's HAULING PERCY UP OVER HIS FREE SHOULDER to haul HIM outside. RIGHT. "This way!" he rasps on a growl, aiming to be heard over the absolute madness being unleashed on Xanadu weyr. TO THE CAVERNS! AND THEN THROUGH THEM! AND THEN TO… the office of their leadership? … Yes. Yes there. Y'all can run if you want, but Ila is setting Percy and Rhody down only then, so that he can shoulder open the door and gesture for them all to file inside. Aside from an abandoned nest of blankets and pillows, IT'S EMPTY. THIS IS SUSPICIOUS.

Keruthien is having fun! Confused and puzzled, but there's no look of abject horror on his expression! Just that smirk, which may or may not look fox-like at times. "Nice of you to join us?" he huffs out to Stefyr, somewhat wheezed, as his breath is considerably shallower thanks to being compressed. There's a wriggle of fingers to the trailing Katailea, but alas, he does not exact on his threat of pinching certain bronzerider's "derrieres". OUT THEY GO! As the deluge of rain hits, there's a muffled curse from him and then a much more audible: "YEEEEEP!" Which definitely sounds like part shriek, but maybe that's just the air being compressed out of his lungs. "— that's cold!" Saving face here, folks! Now he's being unceremoniously dropped, carefully or not, along with Stefyr and he'll just hunch his shoulders up miserably as he's soaked through. Was he wearing boots? NO. Because what animal wears their boots to bed? "Y'know," he mutters out loud, to no one in particular though he's definitely staring at Ila'den's retreating back (and poor Rhodelia, still in tow!). "SOME WARNING would be nice!" Then, without asking and merely assuming Stefyr's okay with being used as a prop (again), he'll attempt to clasp his hand on the other's shoulder and use him to balance as he peels his now very wet, slightly muddied, socks off. Ugh. Wiggle wiggle goes those toes and THAT, at least, brings a smile. ALL BETTER! Could it get any worse? MAYBE! As Ila'den returns with one more victim and suddenly they're all ordered to file after him like drowned rats — at least, Ruthien's complaining under this breath about feeling like one. INTO THE CAVERNS! Back to the… office!? What's that nest over there? "Um. Guys?" Ruthien files inside, but he's definitely looking at Rhody and Stefyr in particular, like THEY have the answers to this sudden madness!

One of those candidate booties will also use their foot to try to helpfully kick the door open. Maybe not that helpful, but there's only so much that Rhodelia can do draped over a shoulder. She tries to make an ax to throat miming gesture to Kataelia as if to try and stave off the protests. Sometimes you just got to roll with the punches and when you're being dragged off to who knows where for who knows what by a weyrlingmaster might be one of those times. Or maybe she should be protesting too. As Percival gives his own advice and gets scooped up too, she gives a snort. "Only if you kick him first." She needs to see him survive such kicking action first before risking her own foot. When they actually make it to the rain, she kind of deflates, like a wet cat. Mostly quiet and plotting as they go on this 'adventure' through awfully familiar hallways. Eventually she is finally set down in the blanket-fort heaven and without any hesitation, she picks up the nearest blanket to use as a makeshift towel. With all that hair, she certainly needs one or risks a puddle. Blanket and hair get fashioned into a make-shift turban. "So uhhh… are we filing?" Does she need to hide the booze?

So not fun. At least she's not being manhandled though. There's a positive. But oh yes, lodge a complaint. "I just might," Kataelia shoots back to Ila'den. Lets face it though, she's hardly intimidating, especially drenched as they all are, and still mostly confused about what exactly is happening. Lead onward though back to the leadership office, this room is quickly making its way to be her least favorite. "Don't ask me…" she comments back to Keruthien, he might not be looking at her but she doesn't have an answer either.

What happens when you introduce a cat to water? It begins to flail and mrowl-shriek like a banshee out of hell. Percival is not as graceful as said feline so he's just weakly flailing around like he's trying to go 'walking to the store'. Except there's no bouncy music playing. "WHAT, NO. WHY, WHY, NO, NO RAIN. STOP, STAHP. GIBLETS." This grumpy Candidate looks over to Rhodelia and he's pouting, POUTING. "You didn't kick him in the box." BETRAYED. What is the tiny green firelizard doing? SHE BE SQUAWKING THANK YOU. Cause now the pre-heated blankets are officially HERS. Once feet are on the floor, he's adjusting his clothes to make sure no one gets a free show of this Butcher's goods. Amber eyes glance around the room, and he side steps as he takes in the sight before him. "What kind of things have you all been doing while I've been in the Kitchens?" Tsk, tsk, tsk. "I'm disappointed at the set up. I expected something a little more horrifying. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. I think I'm going to hold myself tonight." Because that's totally a thing to do, right? The butcher runs his fingers through his brown hair, shoving it out of his eyes while it's still damp enough to cooperate.

What animal, indeed! Stefyr would dearly love to claim to be that animal, but his bare feet would make the lie obvious. He looks down at his muddied feet, water already soaked through his short locks and pouring down his face and he just sighs. He doesn't move when his bro needs support, obviously, although there's a moment where he shifts juuust a little, possibly suspiciously, and maybe, just maybe there's a little chance that Keruthien could lose his balance in that moment and end up in the mud. "At least Ila'den's not rubbing mud in our faces like Risali did to me that one time." YET. He'll look around a minute and then just sigh again. Off comes the tank top and he's holding it up over his head in both hands to create a fairly ineffective canopy. Ila'den didn't have any ideas about dress code for this party, did he? He's partially protected from the rain, if colder, but then he's quite broad and big himself, so maybe he runs hot most of the time. (SHUT IT. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.) He may be bucking expectations with his wardrobe here, but he does obediently follow Ila'den with his new treasures and walks the familiar path… to work. (There's another sigh.) He probably wrings his shirt out just as they're stepping into the caverns and he actually pauses at the door of the Weyrleaders' Office and gropes (SHH) the wall near the door where there are some hooks and on one hook ("his"), he pulls down a washcloth sitting there. He is not going to be the one responsible for tracking mud near the blanket nest, so he pauses to try to rid his feet of the worst of the mud before stepping in (avoiding other, less thoughtful prints). The cloth is dropped to the floor by the door before he's padding toward the blanket nest, leaving Keruthien with nothing but questions, and half-dives into the pile, to burrow underneath. Ila made him stop sleeping in the barracks and Stefyr has legit no idea what's going on, so WHY NOT SLEEP - if he can, in wet sleep shorts that, uh, flatter the figure when they're this soaked.

"Please do." DO IT, KATE. GET HIM FIRED. But on that note, YOU PROBABLY THOUGHT THAT YOU WERE GOING TO DO SOMETHING IMPORTANT, DIDN'T YOU? You probably thought that there might be some GRAND MYSTERY at the end of all this, some plausible reason behind Ila'den flipping tradition on its head and hauling five candidates through-the-mud-and-rain to the Weyrleadership's office. BUT YOU'RE WRONG. For what it's worth, those steaming mugs of what might be hot cocoa, might be klah accompanying assorted snackrifices seems to be for them. AND THEN HE IS MOVING BEHIND RISA'S DESK TO REVEAL BOX AFTER BOX AFTER BOX, full to the brim with bannerpaper, and glitter, and all manner of positively ridiculous decor. "It occurs to me," comes on a rasping growl, "that your Weyrwoman and your Weyrleader could use a little… cheer." A beat, and that wolfish smile baring too many canines gutters out as he gestures around the room. "R'hyn recently had a turnday, and it's well past now, but that doesn't mean we can't give them something to decorate." Which is definitely why he's grabbing a handful of glitter, and definitely why he's DUMPING IT ON STEFYR AND RHODY. Or mostly the blanket pile. LIKE, THAT'S EVER GOING TO COME OUT AND HE'S NOT GOING TO BE IN THE DOG HOUSE FOR THE REST OF FOREVER. He's even applying a party hat to his head, and grabbing one of those little rolled-paper-whazzoos to blow with the least enthusiastic face to grace this side of Pern. Then he continues. "And while you help, you can help yourselves to some of this." A gesture towards those aforementioned drinks and snacks. But that's it. Ila'den doesn't try to make anybody stay, or hedge them further into work. He doesn't even shrug out of his wet jacket or toe off his muddy boots. No, Ila simply retrieves a random decoration from a random box and PINS IT ON RISA'S DESK. LET THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN! And then maybe some snacking. And then maybe actually bed. But for now, FLEE, CANDIDOOTS! Or get all your cute, PRECIOUS FACES to work.

There won't be any embarrassing toppling face first into the mud this time! Keruthien doesn't create any more chaos and havoc than is already well underway, though he may be getting a little too much amusement out of it! From Stefyr trying to use his shirt as a cover, to Rhodelia's and Katailea's commentary. Even Precival's cat-like wailing! Ahh, memories! He'll look back on this fondly, if he doesn't catch a damned cold from being soaked to the bone! Which is why he takes a page from Stefyr's book and strips his soaked nightshirt off and, like Rhodelia, pinches one of the excess blankets (just a small one, honest!) to use as a towel and something warmer around his shoulders. AT LAST, the "mystery" will be revealed and he can openly gape at Ila'den in incredulousness that grows by the second. "WHAT? THAT's your master plan?" he exclaims, maybe a little too loudly. He doesn't know Risali or R'hyn well (and maybe he should but that's another story), so he's not grasping the full THIS MAY BE A BAD IDEA picture. Only it doesn't register as BAD, not entirely! He's going to warm up to this, bit by bit, and while others could be reluctant, he's going to get into it! No one better complain about his tastes in decor, either (it'll be garish, trust me). Snacks will be nom'ed, more hilarity may ensue and at some point, Ruthien WILL flee back to the barracks, either alone or with another poor soul who doesn't wish to be caught here come morning!

Does Rhodelia know that this plan is practically guaranteed to backfire horrible? Yes. Is that going to stop her from going along with it? ABSOLUTELY NOT. She positively grins as Ila'den reveals his MASTER PLAN, bouncing a little bit on her feet as she makes some grabby hands in the air. Where those decorations at? LET HER AT 'EM LIKE SCRAPPY DOO AT A MONSTER! While she gets busy trying to afix Pin the Tail on the Dragon to one of the walls and blows her party horn all the while, eventually she will have a few more comments here and there like: "Ohhhh… and we should get the bakers to make some of those cupcakes… the lemon ones with a berry filling. And the berry and cream…. and a klah cake…" Yes, there may be a list of about fifty possible sweet suggestions. And maybe, just maybe, some of them will miraculously appear by morning. There might be a few strings in the mess that she can pull after all.

Does Stefyr care if this plan is guaranteed to backfire? NOPE. He is probably one of the bronzerider's more enthusiastic participants. Really, anything to help break up the mood pervading the office. And maybe, just maybe, R'hyn deserves whatever's coming to him with this. Diverted temporarily from the be-glittered blanket pile, the big blond will dig into decorations and be more than willing to assist putting a variety of things up high where smol goldriders can't reach. And since it's a festive occasion designed to HELP EVERYONE FEEL BETTER, he digs into Risali's desk and comes up with a glittery cat card that reads (should anyone flip it open), "Sorry I bit you." He drops it casually on R'hyn's desk, but stops himself from signing Risa's name to it. He can just let it be assumed. Only once the decorating is done, the snacks are had, and things seem to be settling for the night will Stefyr slide into the blanket pile (because surely he can't get in trouble for staying the night here and being the first to work in the morning?). To sleep, be-glittered. To give his bosses the widest, innocent sleepy eyes in the morning as to just how all this happened? IT'S MAGIC, R-SQUAD. MAGIC.

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