Sandwiches and Scrutiny

Xanadu Weyr - Kitchens
The kitchen is large and well-stocked with technology as well as those with culinary skill. State of the art equipment has been brought in from the various crafts to be used - stoves and large ovens replacing the hearths that used to be in here. Three baking ovens are usually going full bore half the day, from early morning through to mid-afternoon. Large windows take up the entire of the western wall, generally open wide to the mountainous landscape beyond allowing the cool breezes in to keep the kitchen's temperature to a desirable level.

Tables, cabinets, and counters take up the remaining spaces and walls. Various spices, herbs, and other foodstuffs are found here, and what's not ready at hand is tucked away back in the storage caverns or the massive cold-room large enough to walk inside.

The night hearth beside the door to the main caverns has been kept out of a sense of nostalgia, but the smaller stove set beside it is what's actually used to prepare late-night food. This is where you find late night meals of stew and soup simmering in pots, and pitchers of klah and tea in their electric units to be kept warm.

What time is it anyway? Early evening? Late afternoon? That nebulous time that falls a few hours after lunch, but a few hours before dinner. Maybe it doesn't have a name, but it definitely exists. And right now, it sees Shiloh in the kitchens, doing his best to sweet talk the cooks into a few snacks. He's moderately successful, in that he's been handed the fixings for a sandwich, but it looks like he's required to put it together himself. This is fine. He can definitely do this. It is well within his capabilities to put meat and cheese on bread, and maybe a little bit of a tasty spread to boot. Even if he's side-eyeing the sticky buns something fierce. Sigh. Maybe later.

There's always work to be done in the kitchens - and not all of it involves cooking! Shocking, but true. Lyubomir's equipped with a very specific set of skills that makes him a bit more useful than a prep cook or anything of the sort: at the moment, he's replacing some hinges on a few cabinets and lubricating a few others that have been squeaking of late. It's a slow process, but someone's got to do it. Shiloh, meanwhile, will find himself a pair of admirers: a pair of firelizards - blue and green - who oh-so-surreptitiously make their way to this potential source of meat and/or cheese.

It's not frequently that Ajral remembers to actually eat, but maybe the routines of candidacy lined with work are making it something she does more often. Or at least thinks about doing more often, and a lull in other tasks meant it was time — and no food was set out in the caverns that she found satisfactory. People must have eaten it all, how dare they. When she walks in, she actually spots Lyubomir's firelizards first, recognizing them and giving them a thoughtful glance before identifying people. Or at least Shiloh. "Hi," she says tiredly. "Seems like sandwiches were on the collective brain." And Lyubomir must be here somewhere, but Ajral hasn't spotted him yet. He is an open cabinet door.

Two little admirers, especially with wings, are hard to miss. There's a squint toward the pair of firelizards as Shiloh goes through the motions of spreading something delicious on a slice of bread. "Probably not supposed to feed you," he drawls, an eyebrow arched in faint amusement. But even if he's not supposed too, because it might be bad manners or something, if a few little bits of roast chicken find their way toward the pair… who could really blame him? He's a sucker for a cute face. A glance for Ajral, a moment spent in recognition, and he's back to work. "Plenty here if you want one," he points out, using that sauce-spreading knife in his hand to gesture toward the meat and cheese available. "Mustard, too. If you like that sort of thing." Maybe he does? And surely he's aware of Lyubomir, in the way that he's kinda-sorta aware of everyone else in the kitchen, in that 'there are definitely other people around but they're not demanding my attention so I won't demand theirs' kind of way.

Much like gremlins, it probably is best not to feed them - but, hey, it's not after midnight, so it's probably safe? Patch and Kludge aren't about to question their good fortune, though; the green chirps a soft note of gratitude at Shiloh, while the blue absconds with the treats to find a less occupied area to nom away. "You two are the worst," comes out from behind a conveniently open cabinet door that Lyu's hunkered behind. His head lifts, not at the sound of firelizards chowing down on some chicken bits but, rather, at the sound of Ajral's voice. "Oh, hey." He lifts a hand in a casual wave to the woman and to Shiloh once he spots him. "Sorry. They're usually better than begging."

But it also is after midnight, because midnight occurred at 00:00 on this day — that advice technically results in telling people to feed gremlins never, because how do you determine what's before and what's after midnight, and which midnight, and … wait, that's not important right now. "I think I may have been unintentionally snobby to you before," Ajral tells Shiloh, looking a little guilty — but also a little focused on considering sandwich material, so she's looking guiltily toward meat options, "And if that's how I came off, I'm sorry. I'm just a little candidacy-jaded." She's still got the white knot on, so she isn't so jaded as to quit again! "Thanks for the sandwich spread tour, by the way — oh!" Surprise Lyubomir indeed. "Recognized your fair, wasn't sure where you were lurking. Sandwich?" Is she offering to make him one, as she makes hers, or just pointing out that they're making sandwiches so he may as well join in?

For the best that Shiloh's little brown is nowhere to be seen. He'd've swallowed that chicken whole without a second thought (and really, who needs to deal with potential firelizard choking today? Not Shiloh). "S'not too bad," he says, in answer to Lyubomir's apology. "Kinda used to it." Runners do some hardcore begging as well. Probably with equal success. Back to the intricate art of sandwich making, which seems to take a lot of Shiloh's attention with the way he's peering at the bread. "S'fine," comes for Ajral, which might seem dismissive except that Shiloh actually means it. A little bit of a shrug and he glances up post-cheese-placement. "Help yourself." To the fixings. Which is probably for both Lyu and Ajral, really. "Plenty more than I could eat." And he can eat a lot. "Just how many times have you stood?" Is that an inappropriate question? Maybe, cause he follows it with, "If you don't mind saying."

"I'm good," Lyubomir reassures, "I had some meatrolls earlier." Cold, greasy meatrolls, admittedly, but he's not a man of high standards when it comes to comestibles. His sole criteria is: will it shut up a growling stomach? If yes, it is acceptable. Patch and Kludge finish their snack and are quickly sent off to do something to keep them out of trouble in the kitchen. He pushes to his feet and unfolds to his full height, angling a look to Shiloh and Ajral again. He sucks his teeth briefly in thought before answering: "Pretty much- well, every time I could, honestly. Though I mostly kept to myself. You?"

Ajral doesn't want to deal with anyone choking. One might think her a lazy healer, but it's just that choking is remarkably unpleasant to have to sort out (and she's not too terribly strong in the upper body, meaning it can be painful for her, too — when it's humans. Firelizards it's more of a teeth issue). "Seven," says she as she makes a selection of things to put on her obtained bread: something leafy, something meaty, mustard. "I think this is the eighth. I lose count. I took a long break, though. Every clutch for a while, but it's been four turns. It gets boring." Clearly she's had a long enough break, though. Or Ki'lian was just that persuasive when offering her a bunch of different directions — candidacy was really the middle ground of her options. "I said I would try one more time and meant it."

Shiloh will generously allow Ajral all the leafy bits she wants. In fact, she can have all the leafy bits. He's content with meat and cheese (and a little mustard). "Never." Beat. "This is the first." Does it count as 'Standing' if he hasn't actually seen it through yet? Lyubomir gets a little squint for his confession, curious at the very least. "All here?" At Xanadu. That question might hold for Ajral, too, even if Shiloh spends a moment on her answer, a flicker of clear surprise there. Seven? "Interesting," is all he has to say about it for the moment. Maybe because he needs to sort through how to process that before proceeding. "Why keep trying?" is definitely a question for both, an innocent question that is at least devoid of any accusation. He's genuinely curious about the answer. And genuinely interested in his sandwich, which gets a final slice of chicken before the top piece of bread is smooshed down on top of it.

There's a brief moment where Lyu's brow furrows, but then he angles a look to Ajral. "I thought I might have recognized you, but- with the four turn gap, that explains why I couldn't place your face." Also: candidacy is a time of chaos and a lot of life happens in between. And, even with recognition, there aren't always names for the faces. To Shiloh, then: "Ah. I've always Stood here. It's home." He shrugs. "It's always a different experience, even when the steps are the same. Different people, different eggs." Obvious, yes, but also cryptic. He opens his mouth as if to add something, shakes his head, and eventually continues, "There's always a hope there. My brother Impressed right off and seeing how happy he is- it's a special thing."

Ajral nods at Lyubomir's revelation; she's hiding the teeniest little conspiratory smile. They probably stood together at least once, with him new to it and her on the way out - or something like that. Math. So it's likely she knew this. "Not because you suffered a head injury, so that's a better reason to recognize me. Though the joke is that most of my patients don't," you know, because they have head injuries? She doesn't elaborate. "Yes, all at Xanadu, they're the only ones to have asked," she adds while claiming all the leafy things for herself. "At first it was just rote; it was part of what I was doing. Then I got — well, jaded really is the best word for it. I can handle some rejection, but when it happens twice a turn, it's not the best thing for the mind. However, I have some clinical ideas that would require a dragonrider clinician to administer, and they require someone with detailed training in mindhealing, and even if they didn't I don't think Weyrwoman Citayla has time to run someone else's study." The teeny smile turns into a broader one, a little self-abashing. "And I don't know any other healer riders that have neuro training like I do, so," one shouldered shrug, top piece of bread added to sandwich, "I figured I may as well give that one more shot, when I felt like I was … at a personal life crossroads anyway. It can't hurt to give the dragons their options. Even if I am not likely to be a desired one, as statistics would indicate."

Shiloh doesn't really have a runner in this race, seeing as he's the newbie-candidate of the group. Nor does he have much insight into dragonkind, and certainly not what might make them choose who they choose, or whether the statistical probability shifts with each subsequent attempt. So, he has very little to contribute by way of information, though he'll offer a question or two, as it pleases him. To Ajral, he asks, "You want a dragon for… work?" There's no real judgement there, but maybe a bit of an eyebrow twitch. Though, truly, who is Shiloh to say that's not a perfectly valid reason to want to Impress. Certainly, as valid as any other. And to Lyubmir, he wonders, "How old was your brother?" after which a bite of his sandwich is taken. At least he can occupy himself with chewing real food while he mentally chews over all this information.

There's a little bit of nodding to Ajral when she speaks, though that nodding slows down as the Healer-candidate ventures down roads that he can't quite grok. Lyubomir reaches over to pilfer a small bit of meat and cheese to roll up together; given how quickly he eats it, though, it's debatable that he even tastes it. "It's an inherently selfish act," he muses after he picks a scrap of meat out of his teeth with a nail. "The dragons need people. But we have a choice - up to the point where the dragon is forced to choose, anyway. At least you have a good reason to keep trying," is directed to Ajral. "Happiness? That's- it's just selfish. Why are you standing?" That is tilted to Shiloh before he answers the question with, "He was seventeen. He's thirty four. I'm coming up on twenty four this turn."

"… yes, don't you?" Ajral puzzles out the concept that people might want dragons not for work: "Being a dragonrider is a job; Impression inherently comes with work hand-in-hand. Since I've advanced further than most people do in my craft," senior journeymen are rare, masters rarer, and most healers stop with the first journeyman's knot and are perfectly comfortable at that level because journeymen get to practice while seniors do paperwork and masters are more in the oversight and direction business, "it would make no sense for me to want a dragon for a reason that didn't have to do with work. I mean, certainly happiness is a good reason, though by nature it is also selfish," Ajral looks very impressed with Lyubomir here! "Selfishness is not always a bad thing, and if one cannot be happy without a dragon, one cannot be happy with one, so — it's an increase in happiness, likely." And a bite of her sandwich, though she also keeps talking a moment later. This is stuff she can talk about; this is brain stuff and feelings stuff and motivation stuff, so meta-apologies, because she's going to … keep talking. "But the stereotypical 'filling in a hole' thing is — it's an after effect of Impression, not a reason to pursue it. While no doubt a dragon will fill in holes one didn't know they had, someone who actually feels incomplete likely has other issues to address before they could Impress anyway." Her tone is light and educational, not judgmental or probative; this is information only! Also, the sandwich is good.

"I work with runners." So… how exactly would a dragon help him with that? The question comes in the arch of an eyebrow as Shiloh stares across the island at Ajral. He's not even going to touch on the whole 'dragonriding is a job' bit, but instead resorts to chewing on his sandwich and offering somewhat unimpressed look at Ajral for her lecture. Fun times. A swallow and a pause before he answers Lyubomir with, "because I was asked." It's probably more complicated than that, but that's the answer he's giving. A pause and he tacks on, "And I had no good reason to say no." So, there is that.

"A'right." The word is angled to Shiloh and paired with a shrug. Lyubomir reaches down to give the cabinet door a final check to make sure it's working as intended. Silent, moves easily, perfect. "I think I'm done in here, anyway. Ajral," a sidelong look is angled her way in short order, "I managed to get a few of those lamps and other things all fixed up. Given givens," namely, the white knot at his shoulder and the state of a Mysterious Room in the Stores, "I could help you out with that other project." Does she remember? One hopes so! "And we can talk more on dragons and Impression later, too. Right now, I have a bad feeling Patch and Kludge are up to no good again." Which, fortunately, just means begging scraps off of children, but still!

"Mm, so you're giving up that job for a different one, I think, since runners are usually scared of dragons. Which still has to do with work in a way. But there's no wrong reason, everyone's an individual." Ajral offers another little shrug; just because at her age and in her mindset, work is the most logical reason to accept, doesn't means he can't wrap her head around other reasons! "A lot of people I think stand because of being asked or because it sounds interesting, which was my reason the first couple of times too? Never hurts just to be available. Did you," this is to Shiloh, "pick out the meat selection? Because you did a good job." And now, conversation whiplash, back to Lyu: "Yes, I might get a few others together and we can go see what can be done about all that dust and cobweb! I appreciate the interest. Good luck with your miscreants."

So many assumptions! And Shiloh will just chew his food and let them be made, his only real contribution to the discourse being the loft of his eyebrows in skeptical return. Lyubomir gets a nod, a cordial thing that is both acknowledgement and greeting (Fare well?) for his firelizard responsibilities. "Luck," is offered, because Shiloh definitely has one of those flying stomachs and… well. Maybe his is a bit unruly at times. "Nah," comes after he's swallowed (because manners!) with a tip of his head toward one of the kitchen staff bustling about in preparation for dinner. "They did. Didn't wanna lose my fingers." So he asked, instead of just taking. "S'good though," he agrees. "Can't really beat the food at a Weyr."

Ajral has four of those stomachs, though none of them are nearby — they must be enjoying some dead thing elsewhere, to not be hounding for her food. "This Weyr in particular has better food than some others," she adds, cheerfully, between bites. "The food at High Reaches can be a disappointment. Access issues, I suppose." Mountains, coldness. Maybe on another day she'd keep pressing about the whole 'job' thing — how does one work with runners with a dragon? — but she's cautious enough with people to know when the topic has already gone far enough. "Appreciate you sharing your politely-gotten gains. I probably would have been given a weird look and told to wait if I'm not going to help with something."

How does one work with runners if they have a dragon? It's probably a question Shiloh would like answers to, as well. But as he does not have a dragon, is also not one he's qualified to answer. Maybe it's one of those big unknowns he's not quite ready to poke at, leaning instead into those statistical probabilities that it won't be a question he'll have to answer, at all. "Only Weyr I've lived at," comes with a shrug. Maybe it's an explanation. Maybe it explains nothing. Either way, Shiloh still appreciates the food. "Hall had decent food. Best was a home, though." Nothing beats that home cooking! "Different though. More variety here." Another few bites polishes off that (first) sandwich before Shiloh eyes the remaining edibles in contemplation of a second. "Of course," comes in easy reply for her thanks. "Had more than I could eat. Might as well share. They," another head-nod toward people who can probably hear him, "might ask me to move heavy things later, but it's worth it." He might be teasing, just a little, about the heavy-lifting.

If only one of those runner breeding riders of old were still around to be asked! There were at least a couple at one point. But it is a big unknown that Shiloh shouldn't have to worry about, and because Ajral has a sense of decorum, she won't poke it like an open wound — that's reserved for people who deserve it. "I would recommend not living at High Reaches unless you have to," is her wisdom for the scope and depth of Weyrs. "Healer Hall's food is not impressive. Fort Hold's food is okay. Xanadu's is winning. You at least can lift heavy things." She holds up a noodle-arm, giving her own thin bone structure a look. "Er, I suppose this is another reason to Stand again. PT can be good for you."

"Don't plan on it." Living at High Reaches. "Sounds cold." And he's pretty sure the runners would be just as lacking, for all that they must have a few up there, regardless. No thanks. Shiloh will take his Xanadu Weyr stables and be grateful for it. Even if it comes with some rather LOUD DRAGONS. A bit of scrutiny has him deciding against a second sandwich, though he'll pick at the meat and remaining cheese for something to do, if nothing else. "True," for hauling heavy things. "Running'll be my downfall, though." At least he knows this in advance. "Hopefully wont' have to do much of it." HA. HAHAHAHA. Poor Shiloh. A final pop of chicken and he sighs, resigned. "Best get on it before I'm needed back, though." The hauling of heavy things. "Can always come toss haybales if you feel the urge for upper body work." He's definitely teasing.

"I probably should," Ajral confesses, or leads into one, "Since my gelding is in there and you've all been doing most of his care for me since I got combined-busy with crafting and trying to do one or two of those convenient candidate tasks I get sucked into by walking by with a white knot." Like rescuing loud dragons from HORRIBLE MUD PITS! Or other dangerous situations! Whether or not they are actually dangerous! Or just carrying things for people. "Especially if I end up having to borrow some of the class to clean up the healer's rooms in the stores. I would then twice owe it. But … maybe an easier stable chore than tossing something that big. Hay's so deceptive in its heaviness. Learned that the hard way." She's smiling, though. Perhaps you will have a hay hauling assistant soon, Shiloh, but Ajral is using a wheelbarrow. "Good luck with your hauling!" She'll linger to finish her sandwich, but then she's probably got actual people to heal, too.

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