A Garden Conversation

Xanadu Weyr - Garden
An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place.

On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.

Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also alluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic.

The early morning sky is pale, promising another hot summer day. A few light, fluffy clouds drift overhead, faint shadows flitting slowly across the ground. Having risen before dawn, the struggle to come to terms with communing with some of the eggs making sleap near impossible, Kasle is laying on a bench, staring up at the sky. Oh look. That cloud looks like a feline. She winces and shuffles to roll onto her side without falling off the narrow surface. With the doubious safety of the clouds above, her eyes focus instead on the garden, falling on a nearby rosebush. She sighs softly, pillowing her head on one crooked arm with her other hand absently toying with one belled braid. Otherwise, the gardener-candidate is still enough that someone might, from a distance, assume that she's actually asleep.

Shiloh is no stranger to early mornings. It tends to come with the territory of working with runners. It's far more unusual for him to be up late at night, than it is for him to be up early in the morning. But this morning, it's not the stables he's headed toward but the garden. Maybe he has the day off? Maybe Averil does, too, since the little artist is coming along with him. Hand in hand, they stroll through the quiet garden, in no particular rush. Just taking it in. Enjoying the morning. And definitely not sleeping, as Kasle appears to be doing. A frown comes for the sight and, while Shiloh waffles a moment, he eventually heads their steps in that direction if just to ask, "Are you alright?" of the gardener on the bench.

Averil is more then happy for an early morning stroll, his face turned up to the sky, eyes half closed as he drifts along at Shiloh's side. And, while it is normally bad policy to walk without looking where you are going? He's confident that Shiloh won't let him inadvertantly trip over anything that could be in thier path. So it is that he only notices Kasle when Shiloh addresses her, his brows furrowing mildly as he brushes strands of golden hair out of his eyes and looks curiously at her reclining form. "You're not still sad about the plants Nyvex uprooted, I hope?" Not that he couldn't understand it. He can. Completely. But it would most assuredly make him sad to think that she might be that impacted by their untimely demise. "Nyvex," he asides to Shiloh in a whisper. "Accidentally pulled what he thought were weeds."

"Hmm?" Kasle lifts her head at the unexpected voice, "Oh. Uh… yeah. I'm fine." She sits up, making sure that her braids aren't in too big a mess, "I was just thinking." She chuckles softly, shaking her head and looking down at her hands for a moment, "No, I'm not sad about the plants." She waves a hand dismissively, "They're just plants. They can be replaced, and probably would be in a few months." It's her way of admitting that she overreacted, "I just didn't expect to find someone pulling them up right then, is all." So an apology, too? The black haired woman pulls her knees up to her chest, ankles crossed, and rests her arms around her legs, hiding a yawn behind her knees, "I just haven't been sleeping that great, you know?" She's bone tired.

"Okay," is Shiloh's easy return. If Kasle says she's fine, then he's happy to accept that as fact. But he'll keep walking forward with Avi, at least coming to a conversational distance since the pair are talking. A glance at Avi has an eyebrow lofted, but Shiloh won't comment on the state of flowers that were definitely not weeds. Hm. "Sorry to hear that," is offered in kind return for Kasle's condition. Does he know? There's a pause and he considers his words carefully before asking, "Is it about the eggs?" Because maybe he's had some similar experiences.

"I can imagine," Avi assures in gentle tones. "I'd have been a little distressed, myself. But he definitely didn't mean to upset you." He doesn't see that as being something Nyvex would do. It's Shiloh's question that clues him in to what the actual matter might be, his expression immediately turning sympathetic. "Some of them were.. A lot." A lot, a whole world's worth of a lot. Shifting his wait, he extends the basket on his arm (there is almost always a basket of goodies on his arm) and offers. "Muffin?"

Kasle grimaces, her nose wrinkling, "Partly. I guess I'm just kind of… fragile right now?" She shudders a little, "A lot of them are just… mean." To say the least. She shakes her head, bells chiming softly, "I guess I'm kind of protective of the plants here." She chuckles softly, "I mean, I've put in a lot of work with some of them, you know?" She offers a small smile at the offer, "I ate earlier, but thank you." It's appreciated! She drops her feet back to the ground and scoots to one end of the bench, making room for the other two candidates to join her, if they want, "Have a seat." If they want, "Some… things… are just still fresh, you know?" She pauses for a moment, "I'm Kasle, by the way. I don't know that I've introduced myself, yet." If she's spoken to Shiloh before, she doesn't remember, and she may have not introduced herself to Averil the last time they crossed paths. She was too absorbed in the destruction she'd stumbled across. Oops.

They may have seen each other in passing, but it's unlikely that Kasle and Shiloh have had a chance to talk unless she frequents the stables. At least, there's no offense at the introduction, a calm, "Shiloh," given in return for her introduction. He motions to the bench, letting Avi pick his spot before sliding into a seat beside him. It might be a tight fight with three and, if necessary, Shy can totally just stand. Or sit on the ground. He's definitely not picky. The discussion of the eggs has him pensive, and he spends a moment squinting around the garden and collecting his thoughts before speaking. "Don't think they mean to be," he decides, his tone gentle. "Don't know that they know what they're doing, really." But that doesn't mean it didn't hurt, or poke at things that hurt, or trigger memories that hurt. "Some of 'em were nice." So maybe there's hope, if she hasn't touched those ones yet, for a better experience next time.

Averil slants a glance up to Shiloh at the mention of some of the eggs being mean, the tip of his tongue brushing over his lips as he lightly clears his throat. "Some of them are aggressive," he murmurs in quiet tones. "Averil," he offers belatedly as he settles on the bench next to Shiloh. Leaning forward, he sets the basket on the ground, tucking it carefully beneath the bench before straightening. He's listening, though, his head tilting mildly in response to the beastcrafter's words. "They might not understand how they are effecting us," he allows. "I can't imagine what it must be like from their side. At least we know what we're doing, they have no idea what is going on until we're suddenly there." Or so he assumes. Leaning forward, he rests his arms atop his knees, pale grey eyes slanting toward Kasle. "One of them really scared me, as well," he admits. "So it's not just you. But Shiloh is right, there are really nice ones."

A small smile pulls at the corners of Kasle's mouth, her shoulders relaxing in a soft sigh, "Yeah. The black and yellow egg is really nice. So is the one that looks like it's got stars all over it." Obviously describing HONEY BADGER DON'T GIVE A EGG and Egg of Dreams. She nods, her smile fading a little, "Yeah, they're still just babies, but… What kind of baby wants to know about stuff that hurts?" She shudders a little, "The one that looks like a blob of blood…" She shudders a little harder, closing her eyes, "It's not a mean one, but… it's still pretty intense." She flashes a light smile at the two young men, "Well met, though." She chuckles softly, "My baby brother is a candidate, too, you know. Logain. He's the blond kid with the scars on his face." Very fresh scars, at that.

Shiloh doesn't have a great answer for that, but after a moment of thought he allows, "maybe they don't understand pain the same way we do. If they never felt it before, they might not know what it is." He can only guess, really. Eggs are eggs and even once they're dragons, it's doubtful they'll remember the hows and whys of what they did in the shell. "Yeah," he agrees. "I like that blue one." Egg of Dreams. "It was… nice." Putting it mildly. "Didn't touch the yellow yet." Yet. Assuming he goes back. There's a shrug, a roll of his shoulders that seems to dismiss the idea. "Oh," comes for mention of Logain. "Haven't met him." Not unusual. Shiloh (and Averil) are still living in their rooms rather than the barracks, so there are probably a lot of candidates they haven't met yet.

"I haven't met him, either," Averil admits. "I'm sure we will, though." Eventually they will all be in the barracks together. "I like the one that looks like an upended jewelry box," he admits with a wry smile. "Although the blue one was very soothing, as well." Falling silent, he brushes a hand over the back of his neck, his eyes cutting to the side as he lightly clears his throat. "I like white one, too." Although, that is very quietly uttered since he knows that most people probably won't. "The black and yellow one, though, that one was adorable. So loving." Which was a refreshing change from some of them.

Kasle nods, "I like those two, though." Everyone probably likes those two. She nods, "You're probably right, though. They don't know what they're doing to us and probably won't remember anything once they're grown." She shrugs, "My father says that his bronze rarely remembers things from just three days ago, so…" She nods at them not having met her brother, "Well, you'd know him if you saw him." She rolls her eyes, her expression just screaming fond older sister, "He's…" She laughs, "He's a brat, but he's a good kid." She nods, "I don't think I've touched that one, yet." The jewelery box one, "The white one, though… That one was loud."

It's not something Shiloh is going to worry too much about. Those eggs. Whatever impression the left with him, he's content to keep it to himself beyond what he's already offered. He drops to the ground, fishing in the basket for a muffin, and goes about the process of breaking of little bites to eat. "IS this the first time you've stood?" is asked after a few bites, a curious squint given to Kasle before he's moving to hand half his muffin to Averil.

"Thank you," Avi offers as he accepts the muffin half from Shiloh. Tearing it in half again, he takes a bite and 'Mms' quietly before licking crumbs off his lips. "Your father is a bronze rider? Here?" He can't help but be curious, his head tilting to slant a glance at Kasle. Course, he's dipping his chin in a nod to Shiloh's question, curious about that, as well.

Kasle nods, "Yeah. I guess I've just been too busy with my duties here to really get the attention of any of the dragons." She smiles crookedly, "Yeah. My dad is Sh'un. He's a baker." She looks from one to the other for a moment, "What about the two of you? Is this your first time, or..?" Or are they old, experienced hands at this whole candidacy thing?

Shiloh eats his muffin slowly, breaking off small pieces one at a time. There's a squint up at Kasle on the bench, a little incline of his head in acceptance of this information. Sh'un. Baker. But he can't stop the frown for the idea of being too busy for dragons to notice. "Is that a thing?" he wonders, pinching another bite from the demolished muffin. "Being too busy to be Searched?" He doesn't know. And a heartbeat later he'll explain why with a simple, "First time. Only been in Xanadu 'bout two turns. Before that, the Hall." No dragons there to Search him.

Averil finishes the last of his muffin, sucking crumbs off his fingers, his chin dipping in a mild nod at the information regarding her father. "That had to be exciting growing up," he admits. It's the last that has him smiling wryly, a faint toss of his head sending his hair back over his shoulders. "This is my first time, as well." And really, he still isn't sure what he thinks of it all. "I'm very glad that Xanadu is more relaxed with the candidacy rules," he admits. "I don't think I'd be very happy being pulled away from my work for the entire time." Glancing down at Shiloh, his smile softens, his head ducking as he pulls a thermos of klah out of the basket and passes it to the beastcrafter.

There's a small shrug, "Well, I spend most of my time either here in the garden or in my room tending to the plants I've got there." Kasle gets a thoughtful look on her face, "I need to check on them, actually…" The plants in her room, that is. She nods, sounding vaguely amused, "No dragons would make it hard to be Searched." She nods, again, "Yeah, we're pretty relaxed around here. I couldn't imagine ever being anywhere else." Not for any real length of time, anyway, "I make sure to do my chores, too, though. And it's nice having other people around." Which is why she moved into the barracks instead of just staying in her room, like she was told she could.

"You're not staying in your room?" This is apparently more surprising to Shiloh than the idea that Kasle has never been Searched before (because what does he know of dragon kind and candidates? Nothing. He knows nothing of them). But this? "They're letting us stay in our room," he remarks, motioning to him and Averil. "At least for a little while." They'll have to move into the barracks eventually, but right now Shiloh is very much thankful the peace and quiet and privacy that comes with his own quarters… and not about to give it up. A stark contrast, it seems, to Kasle's desire to have company. He accepts the thermos with a curt nod of his head, polishing off the muffin before uncapping it to take a drink.

"For now, at least," Avi chimes in. "Eventually we'll have to move in to the barracks." But he is in no rush to even think about doing so. Very much in accord with Shiloh's desire for privacy, he slants a curious glance at Kasle before offering. "Some people like having others around. I'm just not very comfortable with strangers." And the thought of sleeping in a room full of them is a little bit cringe-worthy in his mind. It is the mention of her having to check on her plants that has him nodding mildly, his head tilting back to crack his neck. "If you need to go, that's fine." They'll certainly understand.

One hand waves dismissively before automatically reaching for one of the braids that frame Kasle's face, "No, they'll keep until later. I just need to make sure to get it done before going to sleep tonight." She shrugs again, flushing faintly under her tan, "Well, I'm usually happy just me and my plants. It's nice to talk to someone and have them actually respond, though." She chuckles softly, "I mean, I have Nimare, but she's just not the same as actually talking to someone, you know?" The dangerous looking little green is usually found somewhere around her friend, especially in the last couple of months, but is nowhere to be seen, now. The gardener frowns a little, "I wonder where she is, anyway…" Probably off hunting spiderclaws.

Shiloh has no idea who Nimare is. He's also not going to ask. He's just going to offer a little shrug that seems to say 'okay then' and fish around in the basket for another muffin. Apparently, he's hungry. But still, the second half is offered up to Averil. Assuming, of course, that he's finished the first.

"I think Nyvex and Lyubomir are both staying in the barracks," Averil admits as he settles his arms atop his knees, again. "I just have to much work I have finish up and send out." While he is not taking commissions at the moment, he has a sizable backlog that he is using the time to work through. It's the offer of another muffin that has him grinning at Shiloh, a bite taken the moment it is in his hands. "Thank you," he murmurs as he covers his mouth with his hand.

Suddenly realizing that she's being a little too cryptic, Kasle's blush makes spots of color appear on her cheeks, "Um… Nimare is my firelizard. She usually helps me while I'm planting." But the gardener isn't planting right now, so no firelizard. She nods, "I know that Ny is in the barracks." She looks away for a moment, suddenly shy, "He seems like a good guy." She shrugs one shoulder, "I don't see Lyubomir very much. I think he's even busier than I am."

Averil nods ameniably at the information, his lips twitching in a faint smile as he works on eating the half of a muffin. "Lyubomir is really very nice," he admits. "He helped me when I was trapped in a tree trying to save a kitten. Cat," he adds with a dip of his chin toward Shiloh. "We named him cat. The kitten." In case that was unclear. Course, he notes the sudden shyness and just smiles quietly, his brows twitching as he sucks crumbs off his thumb. "He spends a lot of time without a shirt I've noticed."

The mention of a kitten has Kasle shuddering faintly, black eyes closing for a moment before she looks back at the shorter candidate, "That's… nice of you." Though, her tone says the exact oposite, "I guess…" No, she does not like felines, even the small domesticated ones kind of freak her out, right now. Hopefully, she'll get over it, eventually, but they're just too close to- Well, there's a reason that her brother has scars and only one firelizard. She laughs humorlessly, just a soft exhale, "Yeah, I've noticed that, myself." Oh boy has she noticed Nyvex's tendancy to not wear a shirt!

A longer look comes for Kasle at the reaction to mention of the kitten, a dark eyebrow raised in speculation though Shiloh won't actually voice whatever question he might have. Some people just aren't cat people, and that's fine. Another two bites and he takes another swallow of Klah before shifting so that he's leaning against the bench and wrapping an arm around Averil's waist. The mention of shirtless men (or one shirtless man) gets another eyebrow arched. He slants a look toward Averil before he's grunting something in the back of his throat and going back to his muffin. Great. Shirtless guy walking around. Shiloh's clearly thrilled at this idea. Sigh.

Averil doesn't have any firelizards, so Kasle's brother is ahead of him in that regard. "He's the sweetest," Avi assures in tones that make it clear that he is very, very fond of Cat. He does not, however, miss her reaction and drops the subject, perfectly content to drape his arm around Shiloh's shoulders and smiles at the grunt. "He's definitely a shirt off kind of guy." Being an artist, and prefering portraiture, Avi's painted more then his fair share of naked men (and women).

With the pair looking so… affectionate… and starting to feel a panic attack much like what sent her running off the sands that first time starting to clench her chest, Kasle stands, licking her lips nerviously, "I'm sure he is… I, uh… I've got to go. I'm supposed to be doing laundry today." She turns and moves swiftly toward the meadow, obviously running away.

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