Sun and Plans

Forest Pool
Formed by ancient volcanic activity and composed of mostly of a single solid rock, the uneven surface of this island contains little dirt. Tree roots delve into cracks and grip tenaciously while the thin layer of humus provides nourishment for the moss, ferns and sparse plant life of this park-like woodland and cushions the forest floor underfoot. Shafts of golden sunshine slant between the trunks, creating emerald puddles of light upon the moss, encouraging flowers to bloom where insects flitter.
That crack where the bowls falls had drained here opens to a deep, still pool cradled in cliffs of stone, the depths of jade waters therein probed by fingers of light filtering through the leaves overhead. Large enough for a dozen people to swim comfortably in, the rise of rock shelf above provides a thrill for those daring to cliff-dive or a perfect spot to sunbathe upon.

By late afternoon, most of the food may be gone and the jumping may have mostly died down to a very occasional occurrence, but that doesn't mean all the Candidates have been willing to give up the very much needed rest and relaxation of the cliff jumping excursion. With a rock shelf so perfectly designed for sunbathing, it would be a shame if nobody used it and Rhodelia couldn't have that. As she stretches out face down on her towel, it'd probably be easy to mistake her as being asleep until the woman streeetches out until her back gives a little pop. "Mmmmmm… I wonder if I can train my firelizards to get that one spot…" That little spot she just can't reach that could totally use a little scratch. It would mean she'd have to train her firelizards to do anything first though and possibly risk claw marks.

"I suspect you could, with operant conditioning," suggests Ajral from a towel over; she actually sounds half asleep for those who don't know her, but it's really more of a languid murmur than a sleepy sounding voice. Those who have resided in candidate barracks with her multiple times can absolutely discern between the two. "Since if you can train a human that way you can a firelizard, but I'm not sure you would want to, aren't they … sharp?" One of her blues and the green have a little bit of training, but they're blues and a green, so it's anyone's guess how well they handle it or what exactly they do.

It's pretty hard to give a shrug when one's face is now resting on one's hands as a pillow, but Rhodelia is nothing if not an expert shrugger and manages to work out a slight shoulder lift anyways. "Their claws are, but they have faces…" headbutting 'lizard massages? "But then I'd need meat to reward them and that sound messy…" That sigh is the sound of her dismissing that dream just as quickly as it had arrived. "Speaking of training, did Leirith gift you a pet again? I'm glad the spiderclaw didn't find it's way to me again." Mr. Stabby senior is hopefully still living his best life in the sea. She doesn't need to meet the Son of Stabby.

It's a magic, highly skilled shrug, and at least Ajral was actually looking. She might be a little out of place without her sun hat, but at least she's finally trained that High Reachian skin to learn what tans are. "Yes, it's harder if they insist on meaty treats, Viendris does that, but Zehun and Devanay take dried fish, especially Devanay." Because of course Rhodelia can tell which blue is which. Probably not. "Yes, this time I got an unhatched avian egg of some kind? I think it's a wherry. I put it in a box with a blanket and last season's scarves as a liner." So it's fashionable, but if it hatches and gets goo everywhere, it's old fashionable. "I need to find if anyone got a puppy and show them how well mine turned out," is added lazily. Rhezny really did turn out well. He's trained.

Rhodelia is certainly also the type of blonde that tends to turn sun-slapt red instead of sunkissed bronze, but that doesn't mean she isn't pushing her luck as well. If the sun ends up being a little too much sand sun that for the healer, at least she'll have a buddy to help slather on the numbweed. Even if Rhody can't keep the firelizards straight she'll nod her head along anyways until the mention of the wherry egg gets a snicker. "Don't be surprised if you look in the box and find my green. She can barely keep track of her own eggs, but apparently avian eggs are perfect." It's also a lot harder to lose an egg that is nearly as big as she is, but Cosmo's body heat can probably only help the incubation. "Its hard to tell who might have a Leirith-bequeathed puppy and an actual puppy. You've seen mine around, right?" Its hard to miss the little teddy bear of a puppy that Pina is, especially as she sleeps anywhere but Rhody's bed and tries to chew on most of the things she can fit in her tiny mouth.

"Avian eggs put off their own heat, I think," Ajral can't actually be entirely certain here, especially because she's wrong, "or maybe she just wants to brood over a strange offspring that's as big as she is. I don't expect she's going to tell me if I ask," is accompanied by a sigh, because Ajral would so love it if other people's firelizards did tell her things. Aspects of her job would be so much simpler! "Your precious floof ball? I'm surprised Rhezny hasn't decided to see if he can carry her around in his mouth and help her get to new and exciting places."

The mysterious ways of firelizards are yet another thing Rhodelia has just come to accept as normal, but that doesn't mean she doesn't also ponder, tilting her head up ever so slightly as she thinks. "She might think it's a dragon egg. Or a watch weyr. I just know she gets very excited whenever she finds a big, non-firelizard egg." Or maybe that's Egg-cited. There's a nod of confirmation that her pup might as well be a foofball. "Maybe she'll learn to ride on his back. Her little legs can only go so far after all."

"I don't know," Ajral takes a little while to finish that sentence, allowing words to sort of gel in her mind and fall into place, still being lulled by the sun into a strange slow-motion mental state, "If his back could hold her long but I think he would like it anyway." Since Rhezny is also just a giant floof, it would be a bunch of dog hair in different colors frolicking around more than anything else.

"If you ask nicely, Leirith and Ilyscaeth might even let you have some warm sand… from a corner of the sands the eggs aren't using…" even relaxing in the sun as far away from candidate concerns as she might be able to get for the moment, Rhodelia's thoughts still seem to drift to the Sands once eggs of any sort of eggs are brought up. That word association is probably unavoidable after all. "Even if she didn't stay on, they'd probably just make it a game." Canines gonna do what canines want to do. "So, do you have any plans for after." That tone can only really imply the one looming event in their near future. And by now, both women have more than enough experience with after.

Ajral's answer is different, this time; previously, she'd been very same-old, same-old. Once or twice she left Xanadu briefly to go see or learn a thing, but always while planning to come back — something about liking the greenery. And now that there's that new greenhouse, it's not like she's going to leave, is it? But: "Not standing again," she says finally, in a determined enough fashion. "I think it's time to focus on promotion instead of dragon eggs. There is only one senior journeyman mindhealer who actually does anything to merit the knot, and they have not succeeded at all in working on anxiolytics to the extent that's needed." All that was boring, but she knows how to bring Rhody's interest back in! "Essentially I want to be able to get people therapeutically drunk without negative physical effects, I think that is a great plan."

Rhodelia wouldn't have asked if she didn't actually care about the answer, but even with all the best of intentions, there's those clear signs of things going in one ear and out the other as soon as medical jargon is broken out. Thankfully, Ajral is fully correct in how to hone back in on. Rhody's world, the former bartender even sitting up in excitement from her former relaxed lounge. "Ohhhh… I didn't know people could do that. Half the time figured the hangover would be part of the cure, reminding folks not to do that again!" The smile does fade as thought turn to more sober (pun fully intended) matters, her chin resting on her knees. "I'm not sure what I'll do. Maybe take a trip up North. It's been a long time." It's been pretty much since she arrived at Xanadu, in fact.

"Go say hi to relatives who will be shocked you aren't dead?" It's playful from Ajral the family-less, at least. "Or just tour things, I'd say go ice skating but I think you're not a winter sports person." A flash of teasing smile. "I admit I miss some things about High Reaches, but not enough to spend a lot of time there. I would come back acting in ways Risali would ask me not to again." Like calling her Weyrwoman all the time. "As for the whole therapeutic drunkenness thing, they can't do that … yet. But alcohol makes some people able to relax in ways that can temporarily halt actual pathologies, I want to figure out what I can use to do that medicinally, and that's not … repeated candidacies would just interrupt progress." Someone who was already a rider, maybe. If she were to Impress there are people she can give her notes to, friends she would trust to carry the project on, but being stuck in limbo — useless. "If you want a travel buddy, though, I can probably take some time."

"Maaaaaybe not so close to home," Rhodelia just barely conceals a wince at the thought. "I was thinking tour more than sports. There's so many places I haven't seen… Bitra seems to keep coming up. If one gamble doesn't work out, might as well try another?" She'll give a halfhearted shrug. Her nose wrinkles a bit as the healer continues to talk about interruptions. "I can see how'd that make it hard. Especially if you have plans and projects. I haven't and it's still been… rough." As much as she might say she doesn't get attached, it's still a bit of an emotional ringer each time. "A buddy would help. At least somebody would care if I accidentally end up running off with a renegade or something." If this girl's trip is to happen, it certainly would be adventurous if nothing else.

"I would hate to miss out on running off with a renegade, we'd absolutely have to do that together." It's impossible to tell if Ajral is being serious or not, with that cool deadpan that still manages friendliness, but — that's likely because she isn't sure either. "I was at Bitra once for a few hours, so I can't say I remember much. It isn't nice like this," a hand wave to encompass the sun-ness, "But it's always adventuresome, as I've been led to believe."

"Then that settles it." Now that serious matters have been declared settled, Rhodelia lays back down on her nice, sunny rock. "After the Hatching this time, we'll go to Bitra. See if we can find a suitable renegade and run off somewhere else. And maybe eventually come back so you can figure out how to cure people by getting them drunk." That sounds like a good enough plan to her although she isn't going to even bring up the possibility that it could be delayed by one or both of the women actually finding a lifemate on the Sands this time.

With the serious part resolved by a firm nod of agreement on Ajral's part — "I am absolutely all in for this plan" — it is time for a return to placid sunbathing in companionable silence until the time in which they have to do so comes to a conclusion; a conclusion brought on by the combination of setting suns and approaching duties. At least when those duties need to be faced, though, there is a plan: it may even involve running off with renegades and getting them drunk somewhere along the line.

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