What Difference Does It Make?
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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.


Rumors travel fast in the barracks; it's probably the proximity of so many beds, many but not nearly all of which are claimed by those most impacted by the rumor of the day: the dragonhealers say the eggs will hatch within the month. It means that although dinnertime has come and only just gone, some never made it out to get a bite to eat for lack of appetite, and others might be off pursuing some kind of private processing. Stefyr is laying on his bunk, still in his work clothes from the day of khaki pants with so many pockets and a blue shirt. His head is propped up and he's thumbing through a moderately sized book with tabs stuck out of pages here and there. It's probably been seen before in recent weeks as his favorite go-to bunk-time-passing object, and really, honestly, he sleeps with it under his pillow, so it's really not hard to miss. If he's bothered by the rumors, he's doing an exceptional job of hiding it as he engages in this ritual that passes the time and teaches him something, too.

The hatching status of the eggs seems to be affecting everyone differently, while some skip meals or engage in activities. Evangeline has taken all of her energy and channeled it into creating. Despite grumbling from her bunkmates about the size and space taken up by the dress form, she has unceremoniously set up between two cots she persists. Today is unique, before dawn this morning, both the candidate robe and the young weaver were gone. Returning, there's a skip in her step, the white article in one hand; she is all business. Settling behind the torso dress form she pulls the robe over it and begins using scissors to cut loose threads, soon there's snow in the form of white threads littering the floor. The robe is unique in only one way, the bottom is pleated, and there's a subtle fit to it that is lacking in pre-made one size fits all candidate wear. After reviewing her work a few times, she settles herself on the floor and stares over at Stefyr, "Are you ready?" Is asked in a sing-song, almost teasing if you did not know Evi, type voice. Lightbulb, the black hairless cat, is pulled into her lap, a jar of oil taken from under the bed. Without a second thought, she is oiling him, small strokes of her hands spreading grease over the nekkid skin, leaving a shine behind. This would seem odd if it were not a ritual, cat oiling appears to be as typical as firelizard oiling these days.

Well it would be even weirder if the cat had hair, and messier for that matter. Katailea just sighs to herself at the sight of that dress form still setup in the middle of things as she makes her way back from wherever it is she was. If its bothering her that it's that much closer to the time the eggs will crack she hasn't mentioned it, at least yet anyway. "How's the cat?" is casually tossed towards Evangeline as she crosses from the door. A slight backstep as she passes Stefyr's cot and a hand reaches out to try and sneak the book away from from the man. "So what is it you're always reading anyway?"

The influx of female voices makes Stefyr start to close his book only to have it tugged from his grasp. That makes the big man move faster than he might otherwise have done, sitting up to watch the woman now holding his prize possession. "Dictionary," he offers before reaching a hand out flat toward her in silent request for its return. His expression isn't overly serious even if there might be some tension in his shoulders. If she should happen to flip to the inside cover, there's an inscription, even. He doesn't rise from his bed, but he does shift so his legs are off the side in case he does need to get up, even as his other hand gestures invitation to Katailea to take up a spot on the free end of the neatly made (only very slightly rumpled) cot. His eyes stray toward Evangeline and his brows dip. "Ready for what?" Is there a barracks inspection he's forgotten? Cardboard Carnival REDUX? Something else of importance that he should be remembering on this rumor-thick after-dinner time in the barracks?

The feline in Evangeline's hands is tucked under her arm, she slowly rises using her other hand to steady herself on the bed and avoiding stepping on her own overly long pink skirt. Katailea gets an impish smile, the book being snatched triggers a tumult of giggles and squeaks. "He is good." She calls out to Kat, holding up her black hairless hostage like a prized cut of meat. Scooting around the bunk, knees slowly bending in a careful and rare show of ladylike composure. Evi opens her press and pulls out a vivid yellow cat pajama set. Hands deftly manipulate paws, tail, and head until the animal looks absurd. Teen eyes roll into the back of her head, chin-wagging and hair flopping on her shoulders to indicate to Stefyr she is not buying it. "You know." Tilting her head towards him, she looks up at Katailea and says, "Look up the definition of dense for Stefyr for meeee, puh-lease Katailea." The girl is in an uncharacteristic good mood, all mirth, and play. It's nice to see her in such good humor, really.

Enter one more soul, returning to the "safe" harbor that is the barracks! Keruthien's been out for the majority of the day, only returning now and looking freshly scrubbed. Only it's not from a bath for himself, as some might assume! Regardless, his hair is still rather damp, but his clothes are at least dry and he's not trailing in water with him. He is, however, finishing the last few bites of what looks to be some sort of stuffed bread-like concoction. It's while he's licking the remnant crumbs from a few of his fingers that he spots Stefyr and Katailea, pausing long enough to give both of them a grin and a wriggle of his fingers. Sorry, mouths full! Likewise, Evangeline and anyone in the vicinity are going to be greeted similarly, until he reaches his cot and just flops down into it with much enthusiasm. "What's going on this time?" he asks, without so much as moving and, for all intent, addressing the ceiling — in reality, he likely overheard the last of Katailea's comments!

Stefyr's expression is blank. It's blank for the cat in its pajamas. It's blank for Evangeline's jibes. It's blank for Katailea's cat comment. He takes his (precious) book, and leans the stretch to tuck the dictionary back under his pillow where it lives. "My first book, of my own," he explains quietly to the blonde on his bed, some measure of apology for his tension regarding it in the tone of his voice. He turns his look now on Evangeline, curiosity in his features, eyes drawn to Keruthien as he approaches. There's a brief grin of greeting for the curly-haired candidate, "Evi was just about to enlighten us all," given that the blonds on the bed are (playing?) dumb on the topic at hand. He turns his eyes attentively to Evangeline, with genuine interest for what she's about to explain.

Oh noes, we are asking Evangeline to explain things to a crowd of more than one? Queue blushing, head tucking, and generalized stop looking at me behaviors. Rolling her eyes so hard that it probably HURT she sighs and stares at the three of them, the most disappointed person on Pern at this moment for sure. "Well, Um, as you all MIGHT know, we are here because.. like eventually baby dragons are going to come out of those eggs." She sounds kind, though slightly annoyed with her compatriots in egg-waiting. "Soon. Baby dragons." With that, she turns around and goes to her bed, pressing the yellow pajamed victim under the covers and pulling out his calico sister. The oil is picked up off the floor, and the ritual starts anew, making one wonder how much of her time is spent oiling cats. Who will oil the cats if she impresses? WHO KNOWS OK. Keruthien gets a small wave of her oiling hand; the other hand has to work hard to keep the slippery feline from sliding out of her grasp. Momming is hard. "Did none of you really know?" Face looking surprised, now considering they might not be joking.

"Sorry," the actual apology follows the blonde man's explanation, sincerity in the quiet word, a hand touching her pocket. Most of Katailea's attention is on Evangeline at this point however, waiting for the girl's answer. Green eyes turning away for a moment as she flashes Kerutien a return grin and a hang lifts briefly to return his silent greeting. "Oh," that's the trader's deadpan response to the weaver's explanation. Was that all? Baby dragons are coming soon to a hatching arena near you! "We know Evangeline. It's not like it's happening tomorrow." Okay, so it could be maybe. "Are you ready?"

"That right?" Keruthien quips first in response to Stefyr, brightly, though he's still flat on his back on his cot. It's safe to assume (and true) that he's grinning like an idiot, as always. While he waits on this 'enlightenment', he'll lift one of his legs up from being dropped over the side of the cot. Somehow, with some fumbling, he'll work one boot free, then the other. His socks follow and only then does he settle more into the cot itself. "OH!" That's the topic of the day! "So it's not rumors, then?" This is flung to Evangeline, but likely can sweep to everyone for their input. To Katailea, he'll point a finger vaguely (since he's not looking) in her direction. "Don't ruin the luck!" No jinxing them! "I won't lie? I'd prefer sooner, than later." Of course he would.

There's a subtle nod of confirmation from Keruthien, followed by the slightest lift and resettling of Stefyr's broad shoulders in a shrug. This blond, for one, looks vaguely but genuinely confused at Evangeline's response. He is a candidate, after all, and presumably that means he knows what, generally, he signed up for, and while the rumors going about that the timeline has shortened to a month or less, he probably feels he's missing some kind of point here (AND HE IS, GUYS, HE IS). He flicks blue gaze to Katailea to see if she perhaps understands more of what's going on here, and then on to Keruthien before the hand on the far side of where Kate sits next to him rises and scratches through the back of his hair a couple times. "I'm as ready for it today as I was yesterday," he offers, though something about his words comes out sounding a little like a question, like he's not sure if that's the kind of response Evangeline was looking for from him to begin with. Then he has to ask as he turns a not quite squint on his bro - that one with the pointy finger, "Do you believe in luck that way? And its ruin? Should I wear the same socks until we want the eggs to hatch?" PLEASE NO, FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYONE IN THE BARRACKS, TELL HIM NO.

Exasperation thy name is Evangeline, flopping back dramatically on her cot so that her head hangs off the left side and her feet dangle off the right. The feline in her arms braced to her because if you jump, I jump. The biggest most dramatic sigh, for the whole darn group of them. Shaking her hair along the ground, the picture of silliness, she says, "It could, though, it could be anytime now." As she admits this, her lips flatten, she gets still and quiet as her own words penetrate her happy bravado. Turning her head in a Katailea direction, there's a slight whine before her next phrase, "Um- I guess. Maybe." Yep, for all her excitement, she sounds unsure, questioning her own commitment. Picking her head up, though it is no use as there's no way she can see Keruthien hanging upside down like this, "Not a rumor, the dragonhealers were out all day yesterday, and it'll probably happen before my turn day." As if somehow this is a reliable date marker for anyone and everyone, for all they know, that's a turn away. Extending her neck so that her head is nearly on the floor, Stefyr is given a giant, "EW, really? No. I will take them off of you in your sleep. NO." Yep, probably with pencils because Evi doesn't touch underclothing.

"How am I?" Katailea's nearly offended tone colors the not quite fully formed question, but it should be clear enough. How is she ruining it? The look she sends to Stefyr, given he's the one right there beside her, is one that almost dares him to agree with Keruthien. As for the one he's giving her, she can only shrug, that is until it comes to socks. "But no," JUST NO. She lets out a breath as she shakes her head at the lot of them. "It'll happen when it happens. Ready or not." the trader's comment is directed more towards Evangeline, but certainly includes the other two. It's also with those words that she pushes to her feet, intent on heading back the way she came it would seem.

There's not going to be a lot of help coming from Keruthien's cot! "It's not like we can stop or change it? It's gonna happen when it'll happen." Keruthien points out, in eerie echo of Katailea (cue a slight chortle), all cheerfully and now his mischievous grin can be heard in his tone even if he's not sitting up for anyone to see his expression. He could be holding back a few chuckles too! "I believe luck to be just, well… luck? You either got it or you don't!" NOT HELPFUL! Sorry Stefyr (and everyone). He's as good of a 'guide' of advice as a cheshire cat, right now! Evangeline and everyone should know better than to state 'no' openly about anything! Without skipping a beat, Keruthien adds for Stefyr's benefit: "You do you? If you think keeping your socks the same is gonna give you an edge, then go for it!"

"Go to sleep," Stefyr advises Keruthien with a slight purse of his lips. "You stopped making sense," to this mighty intellect in any case. He reaches for his pillow as if he might just throw it at the other young man, but thinks better of it, hugging it to his chest a moment instead. "Nah. My brother thought that about rain one turn when we needed it and weren't getting. I wouldn't put you through that." The grin he flashes at Evangeline is pure mischief as if he knew which button to press there, all along. His eyes follow Katailea as she gets up to head off, but he doesn't try to stop her. He does offer, "Sleep well?" uncertainly before he puts his pillow back down where it can cover his beloved dictionary again and flop back down to resume his previous lounging.

There's no doubt it might be a few turns before Evangeline has even rudimentary understanding of the opposite sex, her head shaking hard enough to cause slight dizziness, face bright red from blood rushing to it. This position having lost its fun, she rolls herself up into a criss-cross position in time to shoot Keruthien a disappointed look. For all that she is one of the youngest, she sure acts like an old Auntie. Katailea gets a knowing nod, head tucking into her shoulder, "You're right." Walking her buttocks off the cot, she stands and bends down back over her press, pulling out a pink set of cat pajamas and wrestling the less willing form of coat rack into them with quiet shushing and reprimands. The bubblegum pink dressed catte is shoved under the red and yellow fan quilt with her sibling, the last member of the family coming out for her spa treatment. Settling back down, she slips off her shoes, pushing them under her bunk. Sliding her body into the bed, she turns over, and in only a handful of minutes, she is snoring, going from jumping around and giggling to out cold like a puppy.

Go to sleep? Does he LOOK tired to you, Stefyr? Never mind that no one has been getting a clear look of Keruthien's expressions for awhile now. It's safe to say he's FINE, since he's snickering over being told he's not making sense. "Because there's no fun in that!" he throws back, bemused. At last, he's sitting up, moving almost punch-drunk because truth be told? HE IS tired! Stifling a yawn, he'll change into some clothes better suited for sleeping and then promptly flop face first this time into his cot and pillow. "…mmphmph…" It's half a groan, half a sigh but when he turns his head to keep from smothering to death, he mutters. "See most of you tomorrow." And then he's out~ Washing dragons is hard, folks! And maybe he's a little sunbaked. Just a teensy bit!


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